Addiction / Care

1. What exactly are the dangers of gambling?

For a small group of people, gambling can be a dangerous game. The danger of gambling is that you lose control of playing. You want to win so badly that you don’t want to stop anymore. Maybe, the most addictive part of gambling is the feeling you get when you win. So much adrenaline going through your body can be an amazing feeling for some people.

The “advantage” of gambling is that it can give you a great rush which makes you forget all things bad in life. Unfortunately, misery often only gets worse. Gambling becomes a very big part of your life: you think about gambling all day, you gamble, you are trying to get money to gamble, you lie because your family can’t find out you are gambling and you neglect your study, work, partner, family and friends. A good video about addiction is Nugget.

Signals that can point to addiction are:

  • You play longer than you actually intended
  • Gambling is costing you more and more money
  • Your friends and family tell you you gamble too much
  • You feel guilty about gambling
  • Your intention is not to gamble anymore, but you keep going back
  • You get into financial problems
  • You think about gambling more and more
  • You lie about gambling more
  • You neglect your family, friends, study and/or work
  • You think everything will be alright when you make one last collar

2. Which games of chance are potentially addictive and which aren’t?

It is impossible to say one game of chance is more addictive than another. Sooner, we will see a certain type of player which is more or less sensitive to becoming addicted. We do distinguish between short-odds and long-odds games of chance. When it comes to short-odds games of chance you get a quick result after placing the bet. Examples of these are: slot machines, roulette, black jack ect. With the long-odds games of chance it takes longer to find out whether you have won or lost. Lotteries are a good example here. We think short-odds games of chance are more prone to become addicted to.

3. What are the criteria of gambling addiction?

The criteria of gambling addiction are described in the DSM V. This is a worldwide used book in which all psychiatric disorders are classified. The DSM V does not speak of gambling addiction, but of Gambling Disorder. When you live up to four symptoms in a year there can be a problem with your gambling.

  • You have to gamble with bigger amounts to reach the wanted level of excitement.
  • You are annoyed or restless when you cut down or stop gambling.
  • Failed attempts to cut down or stop or take control back on gambling.
  • Being obsessed with gambling (thinking a lot about previous gamble experiences, thinking about ways of making money or thinking or preventing a next possibility to gamble etc.)
  • Gambling a lot when feeling discomfort. (fear, scared or depressed feelings)
  • Starting to gamble again to win lost money back.
  • Lying about the amount of hours you gamble or the amount of money you have lost by doing it.
  • Putting relationships, work or career at stake because of gambling.
  • Trusting on others for money or easing debts created by gambling.

The AGOG, Anonieme Gokkers Omgeving Gokkers, uses the following definition: According to AGOG, someone is addicted when he plays a lot, loses a lot of money and negatively influences their own life and the lives of people in their surroundings, and because of this gets into serious financial, social and mental problems. At AGOG we say that someone is addicted when he or she spends too much time and too much money on gambling. We do not make a difference between the terms “excessive gambling”, “problematic gambling”, “pathological gambling” or being a gambling addict.

4. Friends or family often think I have a gambling problem, because I spend many hours playing and winning online and live – poker for example. How can I reassure them?

Often, the people around you are not wrong about worrying. You could ask them what the reason is for them to believe you have a problem. Maybe they don’t see you around at parties anymore, your behaviour has changed, or they see you are mainly preoccupied with playing. Also important, is to show them what you are doing. Maybe you can show them how it works to play, for example, poker on the internet? You can tell them what you like about playing and answer their questions. Probably, it is also nice to spend a bit more time with them again if you have not been doing so lately?

And if you are indeed a winning player (and with poker this may indeed be the case, provided you are very good – and disciplined) then you could show your friends and family statistics and graphs of your results of the last months/years. Or, let them watch during an online session.

5. Where can I go if I want to test non-committically whether my gambling behaviour is ok?

On the internet you can do several self tests. With these you answer a certain amount of questions in a short period of time and you will get the results and advice immediately. Good tests to see whether your gambling behaviour is ok are:

  • Self test Centrum voor Verantwoord Spelen
  • Self test Jellinek
  • Self test Gokken de Baas
  • Self test Gokkeninfo

6. What role does my General Practitioner play when it comes to a (possible) gambling addiction?

It is very wise to go and speak to your family doctor if gambling has become a problem for you. He or she can, if treatment is necessary, refer you to an institution for addiction treatment. Here you can see where you can find an institution near you.

7. What are my options when I think I have an addiction problem?

The first option is to see if you can get control back over playing by using the tips for playing responsibly. Maybe it is also wise to take a break in playing for a while. Important is also that you talk to someone who is very close to you. It helps not to make a secret out of it, and if you can get support from maybe your partner or a friend. You can also non-commitically and for free get in touch with Centrum voor Verantwoord Spelen for advice or someone listening to your story.

Tips for playing responsibly.

  • Set a time-limit and stick to it
  • Accept your winnings
  • Never borrow money to play
  • Never play with money you can not risk losing
  • Take your loss. Do not try to win your loss back
  • Leave your debit and credit card at home.
  • Do not play when you are angry, upset or emotional
  • Do not play on multiple slot machines at once
  • Find another purpose for the money you would otherwise have played with
  • Reward yourself for every step in the right direction
  • Do not play under the influence of alcohol and drugs
  • Make sure you can always think straight!

8. Will the treatment of a gambling addiction be covered, or do I need to pay for the costs myself?

A treatment within an institution for addiction treatment will usually be covered by your health insurance. You will have to pay your own risk part. You do need a referral from your family doctor. It is wise to check whether your health insurance also covers treatment.

9. What are the differences and similarities between a gambling addiction and being addicted to alcohol or drugs?

There are many similarities between a gambling addiction and for example being addicted to alcohol or drugs. In both cases you have lost control and are dependent on the goods or the gambling. With gambling we speak of a behavioral addiction and with alcohol and drugs of an addiction to goods. With gambling we see far less physical dependency, although when quitting there can definitely be withdrawal symptoms.

Often, besides the addiction, we also see other psychiatric problems. A video with a good example about addiction: “How does an addiction work?”

10. Which options for voluntary exclusion do I have with land based providers?

The entertainment centre offers you the possibility to agree upon a temporary access refusal order. You will put yourself on the “white list”, also known as voluntary access refusal order. Here, both parties agree upon the mutual agreement that you won’t be allowed to play in the entertainment centre anymore for a period of 3 to 6 months. Should you still enter the entertainment centre in this period, employees will remind you of the made agreement. You can arrange this yourself in the entertainment centre. Always bring some passport photos with you. Sometimes you can unregister for multiple entertainment centres at once. Very wise to check and do!

At Holland Casino, you can also apply for a restriction to visit or a ban to enter. This is possible at location or via this link.

11. Which options for voluntary exclusion do I have with online providers?

Online providers also offer the possibility to exclude yourself. You can exclude yourself for certain time frames, several games of chance or completely.

Most providers have a responsible gaming page on their website:

  • Unibet
  • Pokerstars
  • Betfair
  • Bettson

12. What is the difference between short odd and long odd games of chance?

When it comes to short-odds games of chance you get a quick result after placing the bet. Examples of these are: slot machines, roulette, black jack ect. With the long-odds games of chance it takes longer to find out whether you have won or lost. Lotteries are a good example here. We think short-odds games of chance are more prone to become addicted to compared to long-odds games.

13. What can I do if I have gotten into financial problems because of gambling?

It is very important that you make sure you don’t get into further trouble. So, don’t go gambling in the hope you win money to pay off your debts. Then you will take a great risk. Make sure you have an overview of your income, expenses and overdue bills. Seek help with finding a solution. The website “Zelf je schulden regelen” by the NIBUD provides a lot of information and tools.

14. Is it true that other people (friends, family members) can nominate me for exclusion via CRUKS when they think I have an addiction problem?

It is true that there are extensive plans to set up the Centraal Register Uitsluitingen Kansspelen. This is a central database managed by the kansspelautoriteit where everybody who does not want to gamble anymore can register. Then, you no longer can play games of chance legally, neither online nor landbased. It also offers the possibility to involuntarily get excluded for example by a provider of games of chance or by a partner/family member or a friend. This proposal still has to be approved by the first and second chamber of the government and be spoken about in a debate. This debate will probably take place mid 2016.

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