If you have friends or relatives in Singapore who are addicted to online gambling, keep them offline before they lose everything they have.
Gambling is gambling, whether it’s on the internet or not, right? In reality, there’s a big difference between the two.
Remember that the internet provides a dimension of convenience, which can actually make things worse for problem gamblers. If you have friends or relatives in Singapore with such an addiction, here’s why you might want to keep them offline:
How Does the Internet Make Online Gambling More Dangerous?
There are seven main ways the internet affects gambling:
- It reduces the sting of loss
- It makes it possible to gamble at any time
- It extends gambling time
- It removes distance barriers
- It makes it possible to play multiple games at once
- It adds further gamification elements
- It makes gambling more addictive
1. It Reduces the Sting of Loss
One of the reasons casinos use chips instead of cash (apart from security concerns) is that it reduces the sting of loss. When we have to physically take money and give it to someone else, there is more psychological pain. Having to do that often could deter us from further gambling.
Going online creates a further level of abstraction: the gambler doesn’t have to physically handle any kind of currency, not even chips. With the pain of loss diminished, gamblers are more willing to keep gambling, even when they’ve lost huge sums.
2. It Makes It Possible to Gamble Anytime
With physical gambling, one needs to set a time and place to meet. The other gamblers need to be available, and there must be a banker. With online gambling, none of this is necessary – a gambler just pulls out a smartphone, and can start placing bets right away. Needless to say, this results in even more gambling.
3. It Extends Gambling Time
Because online gambling is 24/7, there is never a need to stop. Much like in a professional casino, there is always a game going on somewhere; at the very least, they can go to a different gambling website.
Coupled with the fact that it can be done from the comfort of home, this means longer gambling hours. This creates greater opportunities to lose money, because in most forms of gambling, the longer you play the more likely you are to lose. This also has a negative lifestyle impact, in the form of fatigue from sleepless nights, and bad health from being too sedentary.
4. It Removes Distance Barriers
Online gambling can take place anywhere. Gamblers can place bets while they are on the bus or train, or in the comfort of their own home. There isn’t even a queue at the 4D stand to deter them anymore. This convenience encourages them to gamble even more.
For games such as live Poker (it is illegal to do this online in Singapore, but it still happens), the lack of distance means there is a constant pool of players. The gambler never runs out people to gamble with.
5. It Makes Multiple Games Possible
If it’s buying the lottery, an online gambler is more inclined to play a wide range of lotteries, rather than just one. This can happen at a physical stand as well of course, but it is much easier to do when just tapping around on your phone.
For card games, gamblers may be able to join more than one room, and take part in multiple games. That does mean a chance to lose even more cash.
6. It Has More Gamification Elements
Some gambling sites add perks on top of just the games. For example, there may be a cash prize for the biggest winner of the day, or free chips for anyone who logs a certain number of hours. This is an added dimension of temptation.
7. It Makes Gambling More Addictive
Some gambling sites send newsletters or push notifications about the next game, current first prize amount, etc. If these notifications are always popping up on a gambler’s phone or computer, it can make quitting much harder. At least with physical gambling, just staying away from a certain place or group of people is enough.
It’s Harder to Stop Online Gambling
Despite the Singapore government’s attempts to regulate it, people still find ways to gamble online. The internet is meant to be porous after all, so there’s only so much that can be done to censor and ban such sites. The best thing to do, if you know a gambling addict, is to take them offline for a time.
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By Ryan Ong
Ryan has been writing about finance for the last 10 years. He also has his fingers in a lot of other pies, having written for publications such as Men’s Health, Her World, Esquire, and Yahoo! Finance.