News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. Mar. 10, 2021: Due to the quarantine restrictions, online gambling has become increasingly popular in Latin America as the continent braces itself to become one of the biggest gambling markets in 2021.
Now that you don’t even have to leave your home to place a bet, gambling has never been easier. Plus, most online casinos work 24/7.
Economists are predicting the expansion of the gambling markets in Latin America to hit full-swing, especially once gambling regulations are finally implemented in Brazil later this year, a market of more than 200 million people. This will inevitably lead to more people developing a gambling addiction in LATAM, as the gambling market continues to expand.
However, not everyone who gambles necessarily becomes addicted to it. Some people’s psychological, social, and even biological factors can make them more prone to problem gambling. In fact, research suggests that the Latino demographic is particularly prone to problem gambling when compared to other ethnic groups.
Problem gambling comes in many forms, but the most serious of all is a full-fledged gambling disorder. While in everyday speech we tend to call all kinds of compulsive behavior—shopping, eating, sex—addictions, these are not formally recognized as such. Gambling, however, is a notable exception, classified as an addiction by the American Psychiatric Association.
Gambling disorders are complex. Addictions have a common trigger—a hormone called dopamine. Dopamine is responsible for that feeling of elation we experience after doing something pleasurable. Problems arise when the brain gets used to a certain level of dopamine, and the amount needed to feel that exquisite sensation starts increasing.
This becomes a vicious cycle in which people get trapped unless we learn to develop better habits to help snap out of it.
Healthy Gambling Habits
Our intention with this article is not to demonize online gambling or gambling in general. Gambling can be fun, as long as you don’t fall into the vicious cycle of addiction. All you need to do is develop healthy gambling habits to keep you safe from problem gambling and its consequences.
First of all, always gamble with the money you can afford to lose. Set a budget and refrain from borrowing money from family and friends to finance your gambling.
Don’t gamble if you are already under stress, if you are experiencing financial, emotional, or other difficulties. Gambling should never be seen as a way of earning money and solving financial troubles. It can only aggravate the issue.
Sometimes, addictions develop simply because we have too much free time and we are bored: Try to find other activities that please you. It could be sports, something artistic, reading, learning a new language, gardening, cooking, anything that doesn’t involve betting. Some people enjoy the adrenaline rush of a risky bet. You can find that in group activities like sports. Gambling shouldn’t be your only hobby.
Mental health specialists are warning us that we’re in the middle of a gambling epidemic. The College of Psychiatrists of Ireland has stated that they’ve observed a worrying increase in gambling addiction, most probably linked to the COVID-19 pandemic and transition to online gambling.
Finally, if you feel like you’re entering addiction territory, ask for help. Help from your loved ones, friends, and mental health specialists. Just like any other addiction, a gambling disorder can be overcome. Remember, you are not a bad person just because you are struggling to control your gambling.