Gambling’s origins can be traced back centuries, contributing to the very fabric of countless civilisations over time.
And this age-old pastime continues to play a prominent cultural and social part today, enjoyed by millions of people the world over in both a live and online setting.
The vast majority of us are able to wager a few bets without running into too many problems. Whether that means gambling within your means, placing a ceiling on any gambling expenditure, or simply knowing when to call it quits, most of us are able to walk away without letting it spiral out of control.
## The Role of Genetics
But a small proportion encounter addiction related to gambling that can take over their lives. Just like anyone who becomes hooked on alcohol, drugs, or any other apparent ‘vice’, gambling addiction is a very real issue that can have devastating impacts on a person’s social, family and professional life.
It begs the question: are people more predisposed to developing a gambling addiction as a result of genetics, even if they have not displayed any addictive tendencies in the past?
Some studies, like the one carried out jointly by the University of Missouri and the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, have attempted to answer. A follow-up 2010 article from the UK NHS (National Health Service) reported strong evidence to suggest gambling problems are indeed hereditary, by comparing the habits of monozygotic (identical) and dizygotic (non-identical) twins.
The results of the study revealed that both sexes of monozygotic twins exhibited higher rates of pathological gambling problems than their dizygotic counterparts. Out of 1.0, it gave the former category a 0.49 likelihood that both male twins would be gamblers, compared to 0.21 for a random monozygotic pair.
Despite the promising findings, the UK’s health service urged caution over the results due to certain limitations. For one, the study was limited to Australian citizens, and in addition, it did not examine the full extent of environmental factors.
To gain a more complete picture, the service concluded that “further research is needed to understand the factors that trigger gambling addiction.”
Backing up the findings, a separate study from the University of Iowa declared that people affected by pathological gambling are eight times as likely to inherit the disorder from a family member. The results were even enough to propose links between gambling addiction and disorders like PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), depression and anxiety – underscoring the seriousness of the issue.
To achieve a greater understanding of genetic transmission, it is hoped the report paves the way for neuroscientists to begin conducting their own genetic studies in the area.
## Casino Games at Your Fingertips
Since the earliest online casinos sprouted up in the 1990s, rapid advances in technology have given rise to a proliferation of online sites. Nowadays, players everywhere can enjoy playing online casino games at their fingertips – no longer compelled to travel to the nearest brick and mortar venue, or even dress for the occasion.
With games available at all stakes, day or night, such developments also pose inherent risks to potential problem gamblers. Within seconds, players can top up their bankroll and begin wagering on a game at a far faster rate than they would at a land-based establishment – and thus begin to rack up greater losses.
And as scores of live venues become shuttered due to COVID-19, players have been forced to take their gambling experience online. The virtual realm represents an environment where many could feel out of depth, potentially wagering more than usual.
## Responsible Gaming Measures
Fortunately, online casinos of today are tightly bound by protocols laid down by various gaming regulators, like the MGA (Maltese Gaming Authority) and UKGC (UK Gambling Commission).
As well as issuing licenses and overseeing the fairness of operations, these bodies ensure online casinos provide their players with adequate measures to manage their gambling. As part of their duty, online casinos also remain alert to aberrations in behaviour that may point at problem gambling before it becomes a major issue.
Left unchecked, abnormal playing patterns can adversely affect a person’s health, finances and relationships, among other aspects of their life.
Based out of Malta, online casinos like Wildz have optional controls in place allowing players to manage their own gaming. Limits that control things like deposit amounts, total losses and time spent gambling, can be exercised at any time, and together they make the experience of playing real money casino games as safe as possible without overly impacting on entertainment levels.
As another measure of their commitment, online casino operators also list details of wider resources to help encourage responsible gambling. Organisations such as *GamCare* and *Gamblers Anonymous* provide players with the help and support they need to address gambling addictions in full confidentiality.