Gambling Health is a term applied to the general psychological condition of a gambler. In many cases people can be infrequent players who often gamble for recreational purposes or simple social interaction. Something as simple as an individual buying a national lottery ticket once a week is still regarded as gambling but it is likely they can afford the risk and the action is not compulsive. In such an example the individual can be considered to have a healthy state of mind regarding gambling.
A notable concern however in society is when this state of mental health crosses the fine line becoming psychologically obsessive in behaviour. This individual will then become known as a compulsive gambler. While most governments, social and health authorities tend to focus on drug and alcohol addiction, compulsive gambling is a serious threat to a person’s wellbeing that is often not taken seriously enough. While the immediate physical risks of excessive gambling can’t compare to the use of addictive substances it is just as damaging to the life, family and friends of the individual. In this regard, compulsive gambling could be compared to physical abuse.
The nature of compulsive gambling is one where the individual loses more money than he or she can afford to. In addition, the time spent playing in casinos or making bets at a bookmaker is time that could be neglecting work, family and other important social responsibilities. The combinational loss of money and time can result in strained relationships with loved ones, friends and colleagues. The long term effects can be devastating such as losing one’s home or job by failing to financially provide maintenance.
Excessive gambling is like any other addictive and compulsive behavioural trait and can increase the chance of divorce and strain on the individual and those around him or her. This can lead to subsequent physical health problems due to the increased stress.
The development of the internet has increased the problem of compulsive gambling as once a casino management could monitor the behaviour of a player but now individuals can spend countless hours online playing. A further difficulty in dealing with poor gambling health is the reluctance of an individual to admit he or she has an addiction to gambling as well as a gambling addiction being less obvious than a chemical addiction. Some studies have shown, however, that compulsive gambling is triggered by chemical changes in the brain as an individual is addicted to the thrill or rush of the experience that gambling brings. If a person in any way gambles excessively in a continuous manner this would meet the criteria of a compulsive gambler. This can be in the form of too many bets placed or bets of too great a value for the individual. Likewise if he or she is neglecting other responsibilities and duties to gamble and gambling daily, these should also be substantial warning signs.
Fortunately gambling problems are becoming well-known and there are now social awareness groups, and government initiatives that encourage addictive gamblers to seek help.
Online Gambling in South Africa
Online gambling will soon become a regulated and taxable industry in South Africa, this will happen as soon as the National Gambling Act is promulgated. Online gambling licences will be issued to reputable operators, which will go a long way in ensuring that the online gambling industry is fair and honest as well as transparent and legitimate.
It is still a bit unclear whether the new licensing system will limit the number of online casino operators and online gambling operations or if a system will be instituted per province or region. Another important legislative point that still needs to be addressed before any licensing system can be initiated is for the Minister of Trade and Industry to issue a tax bill.
One of the main problems regarding the online gambling industry as it pertains to South Africa is the fact that many online gambling operations are actually operating illegally as it is currently defined by South African law. Adding to the confusion is the fact that South African gamblers can access online gambling anyway via international online operations.in either case the act of running an online gambling operation or engaging in the act of gambling online is unlawful according to South African law.
Furthermore it has been announced that in addition to stricter regulations regarding online gambling, the advertising of international gambling sites will become more strictly regulated and restrictive through the new proposed amendment act. One of the main reasons that have been given in defence of these new amendments, which are far more regulatory, is in order to protect citizens who may be tempted to try making quick and easy money.
Gambling and gambling addiction are both very serious problems in South Africa and it particularly affects poorer and working-class communities throughout the land. Gambling often creates many more problems than it solves, with many gambling addicts spending every cent on gambling, leading to other serious problems as well including alcohol addiction and broken homes caused by divorce and domestic violence. Many of these problems can be traced back to gambling addictions as well as unscrupulous gambling operators.