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Gambling is a fun pastime, but there are risks. Make sure to educate yourself about the signs of problem gambling, and don’t let the games play you!
Online gambling is entertainment, plain and simple, and like any other good thing, it's possible to have too much of it. Whether or not your gambling is too much is a subjective decision, based on your own personal situation, but there are common warning signs that you can watch out for.
A majority of online gamblers are able to play the games and budget their casino time and deposits according to their means. For some players, however, the fun of gambling becomes an obsession.
If you find that you are taking time out from your personal life, missing work deadlines, or skipping family affairs so that you'll have more time to play the casino, you may want to rethink the importance of the games. More importantly, if you start re-arranging your personal budget to allow more and more casino deposits, or if you start thinking that you can ‘win' the money you need for big ticket items, then you may be turning into a compulsive gambler.
It's important to remember, when gambling online, that these are just games. They are not the end all. Whether you win or lose is not a major life issue. As long as you don't bet more than you can afford, or play more than your time allows, this will hold true. If your gambling starts to turn into a problem, however, it's also important to remember that you are not alone.
There are, in Canada, a number of organisations dedicated to helping people resolve compulsive gambling problems. The Responsible Gaming Council, based in Toronto, is dedicated to helping people recover their balance if they develop a problem. They also provide educational programs to teach people the warning signs of problem gambling.
Provincial governments also offer responsible gambling programs and information. The British Columbia Partnership for Responsible Gambling website has information and resources for player to turn to, if needed. Other public organisations, like the Alberta Gaming Research Institute, can also help if you develop a problem.
Finally, remember that gambling in any form is meant as entertainment for adults. While the casinos try to keep minors out, it's possible for clever kids to break the rules. If you know a youth with a gambling problem, Youth Gambling International, based at McGill University, can offer resources to help.
The bottom line: gambling is good entertainment, offering players excitement, chances for real winnings, and a wide array of fun games. Like any good thing, it's best in moderation. Don't let your gambling run away from you. Don't be afraid to ask for help, if you think you need it.