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Online Casino Gambling

5 signs you may have a gambling problem

Playing online casino games is fun and can be extremely rewarding in Canada. Whether you like online pokies, roulette, blackjack or other table or card games, your chances of winning are usually the number one reason for playing.

As we all know though, gambling can be addictive. It has a positive effect on our brain temporarily, since a quick release of dopamine usually follows each spin of the reels or each hand dealt. Each time you place a bet, the thrill of the winning chance produces a chemical process in your brain, which makes you love every second of your gambling session.

These often and satisfying releases of dopamine (the pleasure hormone), when extended over long periods of time, can push our brain to keep chasing that feeling, which ultimately results in addiction. And once the addiction sets in, we need to act quickly in order to not make matters worse. That is why it is essential to learn to identify the signs early. Here are the first 5 signs you may have a problem with gambling.

1.  You are constantly thinking about betting

Whether you’re betting on sports, playing online pokies in Canada or simply trying to guess winning lottery numbers, you should pay attention to how often you think about it. If you find yourself constantly thinking about your next gambling session and you often day-dream imagining that winning spin or winning bet that changes your life, you may be on the wrong path.

Gambling should be an occasional occurrence in your thoughts, not a constant one. Planning your life around your betting sessions or your visits to the casino could also be a sign that something is wrong.

2.  Increasing your bets in your chase of the thrill

Just like in other cases of addiction, our brain keeps asking for more. Whether it’s drugs, alcohol or gambling, once the brain develops a tolerance for the substance we crave, we suddenly start needing more of it to match the level of excitement we are used to.

When playing online pokies or other casino games, if you suddenly find it boring to play at your current bet level and feel the urge to increase the bet to make things more interesting, chances are you may be hooked and on your way to more serious gambling problems.

3.  Chasing your losses

Chasing your losses is actually the most dangerous habit for any gambler. Keeping tabs on how much you lost and spinning the reels or betting bigger and bigger amounts hoping that the eventual win would cover everything you lost until that point is a downward spiral and a dangerous trap.

Chasing your losses is a process determined by a complex brain mechanism and it’s a pretty tough habit to shake once you’ve entered the spiral. It’s good to start each gaming session fresh, with a mindset focused on the present.

4.  Hiding your gambling from your family and friends

Once you feel the need to hide from your loved ones how much time and money you spend playing online pokies or other casino games, it means you already know subconsciously that something is wrong.

Whether you’re ashamed of your habit getting out of hand, or simply scared that you will be judged, the second you start lying or hiding your involvement in gambling, you should take a step back, a deep breath and realize that you’re on a bad path.

5.  Being unable to stop

Being a gambler comes with ups and downs and sometimes with quite long losing streaks, which oftentimes determine us to take a break. All casino players go through this. What makes the difference between a healthy gambler and a compulsive or pathological one is their ability to respect these self-imposed breaks.

If you decide to stop gambling for a week for example and start feeling anxious, irritable after a couple of days and find ways of convincing yourself to end the break sooner, you may have a gambling problem. This inability to stop is a big red flag for all casino players and one that should determine them to seek help immediately.


Identifying the red flags quickly is extremely important. The longer we wait until we admit that we may have a problem and seek help, the worse it will become. And that means more money lost, more relationships damaged and a worse self-image.