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The Traps of Online Gambling

Online gambling has many traps. There are a large number of gambling sites, many of which are based in foreign countries where legislation is different. Although online gambling has exploded amid the health crisis, here are a few pitfalls you can avoid.

Did you know?  Loto-Québec’s Espace-Jeux website is the only legal online gambling site in Québec.

Trap #1: Numerous and higher payout rates during the demo period

 Certain online gambling sites take advantage of the fact that there is no global legislation by luring people through questionable practices. For example, during the demo phase, which does not involve betting real money, some sites offer higher payout rates. That is to say that the probabilities of winning during the demo period are increased in order to entice you to sign up. Once you are signed up, and start betting real money, your chances of winning return to normal, meaning that your losses will most likely start piling up.

Trap #2: Free credits on the condition of gambling more

 You have set up an account to gamble with real money and the site has offered you free credits? Be very careful because there are specific rules to using the credits. One of these rules stipulates that the website owner will not pay your winnings if you don’t play a minimum number of games or with a minimum amount of money with these credits. This way, you are always tempted to gamble more.

Trap #3: Messages that feed into erroneous beliefs related to games of money and chance

 « Challenge your skill with real money », « Practice really does make perfect », « You are one of our smartest fun players », « Based on your playing skills… »: do you recognize inciters such as these? They may seem harmless, but they, in fact, reinforce one of gambling’s erroneous beliefs that a person’s skill can positively affect the outcome. This belief regarding games of money and chance, is false, since chance, by definition, generates unpredictable results, not influenced by the person gambling.

In fact, certain sites focus on the positive results achieved during the demo period and encourage people to use their «skills» during real games.

Furthermore, internet ads can lead you to believe that you have more control over the game than you really do. Certain marketing strategies may even make you feel important by implying that you are in a class of gamblers more intelligent and powerful than the norm.

Beware of « pop-up » windows and multiple e-mails that encourage the emergence of erroneous beliefs or that lead you to believe you can control chance. The majority of games do not require any skill. Many online gambling sites contribute to the development of erroneous beliefs and/or uphold them, thus increasing the risk of developing a problem, by giving the impression that we can develop the knowledge we need to control the outcome of the game, and thus, win.

Trap #4: The isolation of online gamblers

 Being online fosters solitary gambling and eliminates a protection factor: the watchful eye of others. In fact, gambling hidden away from the critical eyes of your loved ones can open the door to excess or even encourage it. And that is without taking into account that some gambling websites are based around the world and do not necessarily uphold responsible gambling measures.

Trap #5: Gambling that is accessible 24/7

 Gambling over the internet is particularly easy. The opportunity to gamble any time from any place can fuel a compulsion and make you addicted to the internet. You not only run the risk of gambling longer and more often, but also to bet more money and suffer from increasing financial loss.

Trap #6: Losing touch with reality

Because of the interactive aspect of the virtual world, you can develop a completely false sense of control that leads you further away from its entertaining nature. Be careful: time seems to stop when gambling online and therefore loses its meaning.

Gains, as well as, losses occur very quickly on the internet. By gambling online, you are exposing yourself to substantial risk by betting, winning, and then quickly betting your wins again. This scenario which repeats itself multiple times can get you entangled in the game. In some ways, you can easily forget that you are betting real money and risk waking up to a substantial financial loss that you cannot afford.

A few suggestions

 If you do choose to gamble online, you can minimize financial loss by following these rules:

  • set a time limit,
  • plan on an amount of money that you can afford to lose,
  • limit your gambling frequency.

Remember that on top of contributing to the development of gambling addiction, online gambling can also lead to the development of internet addiction:  overusing the internet, experiencing cravings when you are not online, having negative consequences on your private and professional life or that of your loved ones…. There is help: call us at 1-800-461-0140 or chat with us, bottom right. Our services are available for free, 24/7.

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