The act of gambling dates back to the Paleolithic period, before written history! So it is no secret that there is something fun and alluring about this money-making pastime. The social aspect of playing at a land-based casino is a great way to meet exciting people, make some money, and have a whole lot of fun in the process.
With advancements in technology in recent years, this same experience can now be enjoyed all from the comforts of home. All you have to do is log in to your Silver Oak account, deposit some money at the Cashier, and you will be on your way to hitting some awesome slot game Bonus Features or beating the dealer at your favorite blackjack variant. With this great fun also comes some responsibility. It is important to remember the risks that are involved when playing online for real money. Here at Silver Oak, the safety and well-being of our players is a top priority for us; we take pride in being able to provide players with services and advice for those who might need a little extra support. This is why we are giving you an in-depth overview of the risks involved with gambling, what can happen with this hobby is taken too far, how you can prevent a downward spiral, and what to do if you or someone you love is suffering from a gambling disorder.
HOW TO GAMBLE RESPONSIBLY
As we mentioned, the health and well-being of our players is a top priority at Silver Oak. We want you to have a good time gambling without risking your safety. Here are some tips on how you can maintain healthy gambling habits when playing at our online casino:
- Keep in mind that gambling is a form of entertainment and relaxation. You should never view gambling as a way to “get rich fast” or a method to pay your rent.
- Gamble at your own pace. You should never let someone convince you how and when to bet. If your gut is telling you to call it quits and cashout, do it! Don’t allow the persistence of others to determine your financial decisions.
- Set limits! Analyze your bankroll and figure out how much you can realistically afford to lose — because that is always a possibility. Our games are completely random and sometimes people just have unlucky nights. Think of this loss as the price of a good time; what is it worth to you? Set your limit and stick to it.
- Keep children away from gambling. If you gamble online and have children who have access to your computer, be sure to lock your device or let them know that this is not simply a game in which they can play for free. This can prevent your bankroll from taking a huge hit from a child innocently wandering onto the wrong website.
- Consider using the “self-exclusion” option that online casinos offer. If you sense that your gambling has become a problem, you always have the option to self-ban yourself from the casino for a determined period of time. Follow the steps on the website if you would like to use this option.
- Contact the casino’s support team if you would like your account to be permanently deactivated. Sometimes it is not simply enough to sign out and try to resist. We can help you end your problem by terminating your account and preventing you from opening a new one if this is your desire.
KNOW WHEN TO CALL IT QUITS
Medical professionals define a gambling disorder (also called pathological gambling or compulsive gambling) as an impulse-control disorder. Around 2.6% of Americans are afflicted with a gambling disorder, and this type of disorder is comparable to mental health conditions like pyromania and kleptomania.
Gambling problems do not just affect those who go to traditional brick-and-mortar casinos. It can happen right at home while you are playing your favorite slot game. It can affect players of all ages and backgrounds, and the type of game being played does not matter. Fans of video poker, slots, roulette, blackjack, scratch cards, online sports betting, and anything that involves a monetary transaction can all be affected by problem gambling.
Gambling disorders come with varying levels of severity. Someone can have a quite mild habit, others exhibit a complete and detrimental lack of control. All signs and symptoms of problem gambling are cause for concern, but others are more severe and should be paid close attention to if you notice yourself or a loved one displaying these characteristics.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE A GAMBLING PROBLEM
Many online casinos use complex software to monitor player activity in order to spot unusual or concerning behavior; however, sometimes this is not enough. According to the American Psychiatric Association, those at risk of having a gambling disorder will show signs of:
- Irritability and restlessness when trying to stop gambling
- Resorting to gambling as a way to combat or relieve stress
- Hiding their compulsive gambling or lying about the frequency/amount
- Stealing or borrowing money in order to support their habit
- Willingly and knowingly putting their careers, relationships, and monetary investments at risk to pursue gambling
- Being unable to stick with their limit and control urges while playing — even when they cannot afford it.
- Chasing losses
All of these are signs of mild to severe compulsive gambling and can have a severe impact on relationships and health. If you or someone you know displays symptoms such as these, it could be helpful to seek out a psychological evaluation in order to determine if there is an underlying issue, and what can be done to help. An evaluation can be helpful to rule out any other mental health conditions that may be the root cause of compulsive gambling.
The causes of a gambling disorder are different for everyone, and while they are not very well-defined, gambling disorders can affect everyone regardless of age or gender. However, it is thought that a combination of genetic, biological, and environmental factors can all play a part in who is at risk. Doctors believe these are some of the key factors that can determine who is affected:
Scientists believe that people under 35 years old are more susceptible to gambling disorders than the generations before them. This is due largely in part to the increase in smartphone capabilities and easy access to gambling sites and online games. It has also been studied that people who start gambling at 17 years of age or younger are also more at risk of developing a problem. Interestingly enough, studies also show that elderly men are also a high-risk group.
While we know that pathological gambling can affect people of all ages, studies show that men are more likely to develop this problem than women. Conversely, women who play slots, in particular, are more likely to be affected by pathological gambling than their male counterparts. It is thought that women can potentially develop a gambling problem sooner than men (usually within a year of beginning to gambling), while it typically takes men around four years.
Pre-Existing Health Conditions
People who suffer from a gambling disorder are also more likely to suffer from other mental health conditions or are more at risk of developing them. These disorders can include bipolar disorder, ADHD, anxiety, and depression. Of course, this isn’t the case for every gambler, but people who also suffer from these mental health conditions are more susceptible to developing a gambling problem.
Family and Environment
It is widely known that mental health conditions can be directly linked back to a person’s genetics. This is true for many health disorders, and gambling is one. Studies have even shown that twins can both be vulnerable to developing a gambling disorder if one of them already suffers. Additionally, the environment in which a person grew up can also play a part in their development throughout the years. Children who were gifted scratch cards show higher possibilities of struggling with gambling later in life.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM
Like most problems, it is not hopeless; there are ways to treat a gambling disorder. You can find many resources available to you online that can help you recognize the problem, and put you on the right path for healing. There are many support groups, types of therapy, and significant life changes that can be used to help you or someone you love who is suffering from this. In some instances, medication can also help relieve some of the urges associated with this problem.
Additionally, you can also find independent organizations that offer support to people who suffer from compulsive gambling. Examples of these organizations are www.gamblersanonymous.org and www.ncpgambling.org. Both of these offer 24/7 assistance, completely free of charge.
HOW YOU CAN HELP OTHERS
Sometimes we can recognize problems in others easier than problems in ourselves. If you notice someone you love might be struggling with gambling addiction, do not feel helpless. There certainly are things you can do in order to help them on their journey to health. Confront them with compassion and understanding that it is a legitimate health condition, and assure them that the support they need is always available to them. The earlier the signs are spotted, the better the chance of healing.
PLAY IT SAFE
While most of the players who play at Silver Oak and other online gambling sites play games for entertainment and relaxation purposes, there is a small number of plays that lose control and cross the line into harmful territory.
If you feel you might be coming close to this reality, take a step back and seek help if necessary.
Remember, never gamble more than you can afford to lose. Set a limit and stick to it. We always want the best for our players, and your health is important to us. If needed, please contact our customer support or the other resources that are available to you.
RESOURCES FOR RESPONSIBLE GAMBLING:
www.helpguide.com – Gambling disorders and problem gambling
www.scientificamerican.com – How the Brain Gets Addicted to Gambling
www.gamblersanonymous.org – a 12-step program for people who have a gambling problem
www.ncpgambling.org – National Council on Problem Gambling
www.gamblingtherapy.org – Global service offering free practical advice and emotional support for gambling problems