Gambling is often known as the 'Unlike other Hidden Addiction' addictions, as problem gamblers do not display physical signs. Pic: Supplied/Alexey Tulenkov

It is that time of the year again, filled with glamour, high rollers and opulent settings. The South African gambling industry provides endless gambling and entertainment to those willing to pay for it. 

Gambling remains a vibrant and exciting sector, but it has its challenges such as, disordered and irresponsible gambling especially over the festive season. 
The festive season may be full of fun and family gatherings. But for those experiencing or recovering from a gambling problem, it's also a season full of temptations. 
For most people who engage in it, gambling is a harmless leisure activity that may yield public benefits its such as contribution to government taxes/levies, employment opportunities and tourism. For some people who gamble responsibly it is relaxing and has no impact on their lives. 

However, a study conducted by the South African Responsible Gambling (SARGF) in 2011 shows that about 3% of the population are considered to be problem gamblers and 0.5% are living with addiction problems.


Here are some responsible gambling tips to keep the games fun: 

♠ Budget very carefully: By ensuring that you know exactly how much you have to spend, it becomes much easier to simply draw that amount of money in cash, and to leave your credit card at home and out of reach of temptation. 
♠ Stay social! Gambling alone is usually one of the signs of addiction. 
♠ If you want to know how to gamble responsibly, allocate a certain amount of time in the casino to avoid overspending. 
♠ Don't 'chase' losses by gambling more. 
♠ Have realistic expectations of what gambling will accomplish – it will not help you pay your debts and bills, but it will provide a few hours of fun. 
♠ Avoid drinking alcohol when gambling, as it impairs decision-making and can lead to overspending. 
♠ Keep a separate account for gambling money, so that it cannot be drawn from your main account and so that it is easier to keep track of your spending. 
♠ Always play only one machine at a time – playing multiple machines at once is bound to cause overspending. 
♠ Don't borrow money to gamble – as the saying goes, “Don't play with money you don't have.” 
♠ Gamble during the good times – when you feel positive and happy, rather than during difficult times. When depressed, angry, or under pressure, gambling 
becomes a high-risk situation. 

The Choices we make are Ultimately our responsibility, Choose to gamble responsibly.” Join the Holiday campaign! Send a responsible gaming message, reminding those who intend to gamble over the holidays to do so responsibly. 

South African Responsible Gambling Foundation @SARGFoundation www.responsiblegambling.org.za 

Contact details for SARGF:

Call our offices: +27 11 026 7323 

Call Our Toll Free Counselling Line 0800 006 008 

Email: [email protected]

SMS 076 675 0710 

Gambling is often known as the 'Unlike other Hidden Addiction' addictions, problem gamblers do not display physical signs. There are no “card marks” on their arms, no “roulette breath,” no “dice eyes,” and no saturation point. 

While visible symptoms are minimal, problem gamblers often experience feelings of depression, anxiety, guilt and may have suicidal thoughts. They often neglect family and friends, run up large amounts of debt, and may be involved in illegal activity in order to fund their addiction. 

We urge the public to gamble wisely and responsibly during this festive season. The message is to raise awareness, of the dangers of excessive and 
irresponsible gambling and highlight A Gambling Problem Hurts - do not let it affect your festive season.
The holidays are a time for celebrating. So, play it safe and separate yourself from the temptations that could trigger problem gambling.