It’s no secret that Singaporeans love to gamble, but at what cost? We take a look at what the clubs are doing to curb gambling addiction, and why it may not be enough.
Singapore is considered the second-biggest gambling nation in the world based on the amount of money lost per resident each year. The National Council on Problem Gambling has responded with the Centralised Self-exclusion Scheme, which allows problem gamblers to voluntarily exclude themselves from Singapore casinos. But is it really enough to curb the country’s gambling addiction?
What the Self-ban Scheme Doesn’t Take Into Account About Gambling Addiction
The Centralised Self-exclusion Scheme rolled out earlier this year is a step in the right direction. Problem gamblers can voluntarily apply to the programme, or people can apply on behalf of their immediate family members. Those who have claimed bankruptcy, are receiving financial aid from the government or have more than six months of rental arrears can be automatically banned from the casinos by law. All of this may appear to bode well for gambling addiction prevention on paper, but in practice, it has quite a few flaws.
Aside from the fact that this programme is optional for clubs to enforce, some key points of gambling addiction are not addressed. The majority of gambling addicts will are not likely to sign up for the programme, for one of two main reasons:
1. Loss of control is an inherent part of addiction.
By definition, gambling addiction is the loss of control over gambling habits despite negative consequences. The chances of a gambling addict signing up for this programme on their own are slim. And even if they have a moment of clarity and do sign up, because it’s not mandatory in all clubs, they can easily find another club to gamble in when the craving strikes again.
2. Compulsive gambling is often done in secret.
In many cases, those suffering from gambling addiction will do anything it takes to hide their problem from close friends and family. Family members often find out about the problem when it’s too late – when the addict has to file for bankruptcy, they’ve defaulted on their mortgage payments or collection agencies are chasing them down.
Signs of Gambling Addiction
Occasional gambling or bet-placing can be fun, and many people are able to partake in these activities every now and again without doing any serious damage to their bank accounts and other areas of their lives. But for others, the pursuit of the elusive jackpot is all too much.
If you’re concerned that your gambling is becoming problematic, ask yourself the following:
1. Do you lose control of your money?
Have you ever budgeted a certain amount of money to gamble with, but ended up spending much more? Once you start gambling, do you find it’s difficult to stop, even if you’re losing money? Do you lose track of how much money you’re spending altogether?
Losing control of your spending is a key sign that your gambling habits are becoming an addiction.
2. Do you use gambling as an escape from reality?
If you use gambling as a way to relax, de-stress or avoid problems in other areas of your life, there’s a good chance that it’s becoming a problem. Gambling plays the same role that drugs and alcohol do in substance addiction, and is often used as a way to self-medicate. You may not even be aware that you’re doing this, but next time you have the urge to pop into the casino, ask yourself why. Using gambling as a coping mechanism can quickly cause you to spiral out of control.
3. Gambling is affecting your relationships.
Aside from staying out late and spending too much money, the lying and secretiveness surrounding gambling addiction takes a toll on your relationships and mental well-being. If you find yourself lying to your family about where you are and what you’re doing, cancelling plans or spending less time with loved ones in favour of gambling, heed these as red flags. These are serious causes for concern that should give you reason to consider seeking professional advice.
4. You’re thinking about gambling all the time.
Another tell-tale sign of gambling addiction is a preoccupation with gambling. Do you often find it hard to focus on the present moment because you’re thinking about how you’ll get to the casino today? Are you losing productivity or attention to other areas of life due to compulsive online betting? It may be time to get help.
Gambling Addiction Treatment in Singapore
Gambling addiction is a serious problem. It can lead to ruined relationships, large amounts of debt, bankruptcy and physical health problems due to high stress levels and loss of sleep.
At The Cabin Singapore, we offer a unique treatment programme that’s especially effective for gambling addiction. We use a combination of our own Recovery Zones, cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), holistic wellness therapies and a modern version of the 12 Steps for a comprehensive and effective treatment course.
Overcoming gambling addiction is possible – and it’s easier with experts in your corner. Contact us today to see how we can help.