Could you have a gambling problem

2017-11-22 06:02

AS the December holidays approach South Africans will be flocking to entertainment hot spots to relax and have fun. For most the perfect way to spend some time on holiday may be a visit to a casino or racetrack for a couple of hours’ entertainment.

This is no problem if your gambling is controlled and managed, but if it spirals out of control the situation can become really serious.

The South African Responsible Gambling Foundation (SARGF) promotes and creates awareness about responsible gambling, how to manage and minimise the potential harmful effects of problem gambling and defines problem gambling as when a person has the continuous urge to gamble despite the negative consequences that may occur as a result. It is estimated that three percent of South Africans can be classified as problem gamblers with 0,5 % being classified as pathological gamblers, who actually have an impulse control disorder that leads them to gamble uncontrollably that leads to significant damage to themselves and others. The foundation manages a 24-hour helpline that provides free counselling and psychological support for gamblers and their families should a gambling problem develop.


The foundation, through the National Responsible Gambling Programme, has issued several warning signs that may indicate a person is developing a gambling problem:

• Having constant thoughts about, and a preoccupation with, gambling.

• Lying or concealing gambling activities.

• Attempting to cover losses by further gambling.

• Taking extreme measures to get money with which to gamble.

• Preferring to gamble rather than attend important events like a family get-together.

• Feeling anxious or moody when not gambling.

• Racking up large debts due to gambling activities.

• Experiencing a deterioration in close relationships as a result of gambling.

• Neglecting personal needs like sleeping, hygiene and eating in favour of gambling.

• Manipulating people into lending or giving money to be used for gambling.

Like any addiction, the first step to receiving help and support is admitting to the problem. A gambling addiction is difficult to fight alone and support is readily available via the SARGF 24-hour confidential and free helpline on 0800 006 008 or via email helpline@sargf.org.za - Kaelo Engage, on behalf of the South African Responsible Gambling Foundation.

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