The gaming entertainment industry has recorded tremendous growth over the last few years. This growth has been aided by the evolution of technology. Gambling has been the mainstay of the gaming industry. Gambling includes casino gambling, non casino gambling, and betting.
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In the United States, gambling has been legalized and thus most adults find it as their most preferred pastime activity. Gambling can be an addictive behaviour which may result in such instances as escalated personal debts. The paper explores gambling addiction and initiatives by various stakeholders.
Compulsive gambling refers to the inability to control an individual’s urge to engage in gambling activities. It is also referred to as pathological gambling. Prevalence of pathological gambling is estimated at between 2-5% in the United States.
There are various causes of pathological gambling but it is mainly caused by other psychological conditions like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Other causes include addiction to drugs such as cocaine and an antisocial personality. Contrary to popular belief, regular stressors are less likely to result in pathological gambling.
Signs and symptoms associated with pathological gambling include the use of gambling as an anxiety reliever. In this particular case, an individual uses gambling to relieve him/herself from a depressive state.
Other signs include an excessive urge to engage in gambling which results in the individual running into debts. Also, such individuals are highly irritable especially in cases where they are not in a position to engage in gambling.
Treatment of compulsive gambling involves both use of psychotherapy and drug therapy. One of the most effective psychotherapeutic interventions is the use of group sessions. Such support groups as Gambling Anonymous (GA) are very effective. Also, personal counselling is used to counter compulsive gambling.
Individuals are encouraged to explore other alternatives that can replace the urge to engage in gambling. Counsellors can also recommend remedies for situations where the individual has accumulated huge personal debts including financial counselling. Use of anti-depressants is combined with psychotherapy in conditions such as depression.
Compulsive gambling control Initiatives
Various players in the gaming industry have introduced initiatives aimed at controlling the prevalence of compulsive gambling. One of the initiatives introduced is the National Problem Awareness Week.
More gaming companies participate in this initiative by providing their customers with materials on pathological gambling. Materials include brochures and web postings of used to create increased awareness on the problem of pathological gambling and thus customers are in a position to easily identify it.
Also, legislation has been used to regulate gambling in various states. For example, the Kansas state constitution outlines the tax liability of various gambling activities. Article 15 of the constitution stipulates that between 3%-6% tax rate is applicable on earnings from wagering activities.
In 2007, Kansas amended gambling law to include several state owned casinos. Other gambling activities in the state are classified as a misdemeanour. The United States government has implemented laws to complement state laws in regulation of gambling activities.
For instance, the Gambling Ship Act outlaws gambling establishments and activities in American owned vessels. American citizens are also banned from engaging in gambling activities in such vessels.
From the above analysis, it is clear that compulsive gambling is heavily associated with other psychological conditions. Therefore, gambling remains a popular pastime activity among people in different cultures.
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The risk associated with the development of pathological gambling is further reduced by increased awareness initiatives and stringent laws that ensure all gambling activities are monitored closely.