Does Someone You Love Play Casino Games Online? Look Out For These Hidden Dangers
Online casino games like poker, blackjack and slot machines can be more addictive and damaging than you think
November 2, 2016
You’ve probably seen enough episodes of Crime Watch to know the severe and lasting consequences of problem gambling. One’s physical, mental, emotional and financial health all suffer as a result of a gambling addiction. But while spending hours in a casino can cause this, playing casino games online could be worse, as the Internet makes everything more convenient.
If you know someone addicted to online gambling, it’s best to intervene before things get worse. Here are the 7 hidden dangers:
1. It’s Easier To Part With Money You Don’t See
One of the reasons casinos use chips instead of cash (apart from security concerns) is that it reduces the sting of loss. When we have to physically take money and give it to someone else, there is more psychological pain. Having to do that often could deter us from further gambling.
Going online creates a further level of abstraction: the gambler doesn’t have to physically handle any kind of currency, not even chips. With the pain of loss diminished, gamblers are more willing to keep gambling, even when they’ve lost huge sums.
With physical gambling, one needs to set a time and place to meet. The other gamblers need to be available, and there must be a banker. With online gambling, none of this is necessary – a gambler just pulls out a smartphone, and can start placing bets right away. Needless to say, this results in even more gambling.
3. It Extends Gambling Time
Because online gambling is 24/7, there is never a need to stop. Much like in a professional casino, there is always a game going on somewhere; at the very least, they can go to a different gambling website.
Coupled with the fact that it can be done from the comfort of home, this means longer gambling hours. This creates greater opportunities to lose money, because in most forms of gambling, the longer you play the more likely you are to lose. This also has a negative lifestyle impact, in the form of fatigue from sleepless nights, and bad health from being too sedentary.
Online gambling can take place anywhere. Gamblers can place bets while they are on the bus or train, or in the comfort of their own home. There isn’t even a queue at the 4D stand to deter them anymore. This convenience encourages them to gamble even more.
For games such as live Poker (it is illegal to do this online in Singapore, but it still happens), the lack of distance means there is a constant pool of players. The gambler never runs out people to gamble with.
5. It Makes Multiple Games Possible
If it’s buying the lottery, an online gambler is more inclined to play a wide range of lotteries, rather than just one. This can happen at a physical stand as well of course, but it is much easier to do when just tapping around on your phone.
For card games, gamblers may be able to join more than one room, and take part in multiple games. That means more chances to lose even more cash.
6. It Has More Gamification Elements
Some gambling sites add perks on top of just the games. For example, there may be a cash prize for the biggest winner of the day, or free chips for anyone who logs a certain number of hours. This is an added dimension of temptation.
7. It’s Harder To Stop Online Gambling
Some gambling sites send newsletters or push notifications about the next game, current first prize amount, etc. If these notifications are always popping up on a gambler’s phone or computer, it can make quitting much harder. At least with physical gambling, just staying away from a certain place or group of people is enough.
Despite the Singapore government’s attempts to regulate it, people still find ways to gamble online. The internet is meant to be porous after all, so there’s only so much that can be done to censor and ban such sites. The best thing to do, if you know a gambling addict, is to go cold turkey (i.e. take them offline for a time).
Text: Ryan Ong / Additional Reporting: Elizabeth Liew
This article first appeared on Singsaver, Singapore’s go-to personal finance comparison platform that guides consumers on the best money habits with its credit card comparison tool and allows real-time personal loans product comparison.