When we are stuck at home without many means of relief for our stresses, one possible pitfall is to fall into committing online gambling. Firstly, the term ‘online gambling’ does not specifically exist within the letter of the law. However, online gambling could fall under the legal term ‘remote gambling’, which is defined as gambling through remote communication, including communication through the internet. Next, online gambling would be considered an offence unless it is done through an “exempt operator” or a person who has been granted an exemption under section 40 from the prohibition under section 10 or 11 of the Remote Gambling Act 2014.
Even if someone were to engage in legal online gambling, the dangers of problem gambling would still exist. It is estimated that for every Problem Gambler, about eight to ten other people (e.g. their spouse, children, parents, other family members, friends, employers, etc) are harmed by gambling. The harms of excessive gambling are financial problems, which include severe debts or the loss of savings or property. The gambler may even resort to borrowing money or stealing to fund gambling activities. Problem Gambling could also lead to relationship problems, such as lying or deceit on the part of the problem gambler due to the desire to hide gambling activities may strain relationships. Lastly, Problem Gambling could also harm the physical and mental health of the gambler him or herself their family. This can include stress, anxiety, depression and even suicide.
So, what can you do in relation to problem gambling? In order to help someone with a gambling problem, it is first important to spot the signs early. Tell-tale signs include marked changes in financial status, as well as behaviour and attitude. Problem gamblers are often unable to recognise that they have a problem and it is important for family and friends to recognise the problem and take action. Should you suspect that you or a family member may have a gambling problem, seek help immediately from a trained counsellor. If you have a loved one that may be a problem gambler, you may want to consider the following: (a) Close all joint checking and savings accounts, and create new accounts in your name only; (b) Guard savings accounts and make them inaccessible to the gambler; (c) Encourage him/her to go for Counselling services. You could also call the National Problem Gambling Helpline 1800-6-668-668 for help and advice.
Returning to the issue of online gambling. Should you witness illegal online gambling, you can report illegal online gambling on the police website known as I-Witness The Website allows you to provide information about criminal activity to the Police. The information may be used to aid ongoing investigations or uncover unreported crimes. If you are providing information about criminal activity via I-Witness, please note that you may choose to remain anonymous or provide your contact information. Your identity will be kept strictly confidential. Police may not update you on the outcome of the information provided.