Check your blindspot: problem gambling
June 21 to June 27 is Problem Gambling Prevention Week in Cornwall. According to the Responsible Gambling Council (RGC), an estimated 11, 200 people are experiencing a moderate to severe gambling problem in the Counties of Frontenac, Lanark, Leeds and Grenville and Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry.
New findings by the Responsible Gambling Council shows that Ontarians are very knowledgeable at recognizing risky gambling behaviour in others, but fall short when it comes to identifying their own potentially risky behaviour when gambling.
The survey (fielded by Ipsos-Reid) shows that 92% could recognize at least one risky gambling behaviour in someone else. But when reflecting on their own gambling experience, one in five report that they have engaged in at least one of these risky behaviours themselves in the past 12 months. These ‘blind spots’ could, if left unchecked and ignored, lead to a potential gambling problem.
The three most common blind spots reported were: spending a lot more money on gambling than intended (13%); losing track of time while gambling (12%); and trying to win back gambling losses (11%). Gamblers were less likely to identify these signals as risky gambling behaviour than the overall population.
“Experiencing any of these blind spots at one time doesn’t necessarily add up to a gambling problem,” says Jon Kelly, CEO, Responsible Gambling Council. “The important thing is, if you see a number of these blind spots in your life, or in the life of someone you care about, give yourself a reality check. In the Counties of Frontenac, Lanark, Leeds and Grenville and Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, an estimated 11,200 people are experiencing a moderate to severe gambling problem. RGC wants people in Cornwall to check their blind spot now, to avoid a problem in the future.”
“A gambling problem isn’t something that suddenly appears,” explains Paula Antoniazzi, Program Director, Responsible Gambling Council. “In our research, people with firsthand experience with a gambling problem have told us, ‘I didn’t see it coming.’ There are usually early warning signs that can tip you off to a potential problem.”
Cornwall residents can access local help at Addiction Services of Eastern Ontario (613-936-9236 ext 112) or by calling the Ontario Problem Gambling Helpline at 1- 888-230-3505. For more information about potential gambling blind spots, local Within Limits events and problem gambling resources, visit: www.checkyourblindspot.ca. Kelly says RGC blind spots, or unchecked and cases, lead to a
Early Warning Signs:
research identified six behaviours that, if left ignored, could, in some problem in the future:
1. Often spending more money than you intended.
Decide how much money you can afford to lose before you play. When you reach that limit, it’s time to call it a day.
2. Losing all track of time when you gamble.
RGC suggests deciding how much time you can afford to spend gambling. When you hit that limit, quit.
3. Gambling with money needed essentials like groceries or rent.
RGC experts recommend only using money you’ve set aside for entertainment. Never use money for necessities like rent, groceries or bills.
4. Having few interests outside of gambling.
Keep your life balanced with other activities, don’t look at gambling as your only source of entertainment.
5. Hiding your gambling from family or friends.
Ask yourself why you feel it’s necessary to hide this information. Are you spending too much time or money gambling? Are there other blind spots you’re not seeing?
6. Trying to win back money that you’ve lost.
Never chase losses. If you lose money, never try to get it back by going over your limit. This usually leads to even bigger losses.
Responsible Gambling Council:
The Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) is an independent, non-profit organization committed to problem gambling prevention. RGC designs and delivers highly effective awareness programs. Through the RGC Centre for the Advancement of Best Practices, the Council also promotes the identification and adoption of best practices in problem gambling prevention.