How To Stop Gambling Addiction

In November 2023, the National Lottery Trust Fund released the latest stats on gambling activity in Nigeria. Nigerians place close to 14 million bets on a daily basis which makes their total daily spending around $975M. It also indicates that the average spending per person is close to $15, and this isn’t great considering Nigeria is a lower-middle-income country.

There are approximately 60 million gamblers in the country, and it is estimated that nearly 8% are problem gamblers whereas between 10%-15% are at risk of developing gambling addiction. Here we will share some helpful insights on how to stop gambling addiction, and hopefully prevent some of the financial problems that gamblers can experience down the line.

Best Way to Stop Gambling Addiction

Since casinos and sportsbooks have become incredibly accessible, it’s more difficult to manage your bad spending habits. In the UK they have a register called Gamstop and if you register there casino operators are legally obliged to deny you service. Of course, this only goes for brands licensed by UKGC, people can still play on non Gamstop sites that accept players from the UK. That being said, Gamstop is still a good mechanism as problem gamblers will no longer receive notifications or messages from UK brands prompting them to bet.

The broad self-exclusion mechanism isn’t available in Nigeria, but licensed operators need to have their own responsible gambling tools. In other words, each operator has their own internal self-exclusion register that you can use.

Identify the Triggers

There are many guides on how to stop a gambling addiction, and they all suggest that you should identify triggers that push you toward this activity. The goal is to then avoid those triggers, but that’s not that easy. The most obvious trigger in this case is being in the physical presence of a casino or a sportsbook, which is nowadays all the time, considering you have access to it online. It is why self-exclusion is such an important tool for dealing with this issue.

Desire for Escapism and Success

Some of the triggers according to Mayo Clinic are anxiety, depression, stress, and mood swings. To be specific our desire to escape these problems or to get a sense of achievement is what causes an increase in gambling activity. A good short-term solution is to find another hobby that doesn’t require daily expenses. You can watch new shows, read books, or play video games that don’t have features that remind you of gambling. A better long-term solution is to talk to a professional and adequately deal with the root of the problem.

Marketing and Ads

You should also avoid sites with ads for gambling, and make sure you disable notifications from gambling apps. If you receive updates through an email on new promos categorize them as spam.

Gambling as a Social Activity

Finally, many players view gambling as a social activity and they visit retail shops with their friends. The best way to address this issue is to be open with your friend’s group. Say that you are concerned about your mental health and ask them to spend time elsewhere when you are all together.

It’s worth pointing out that these are just some of the common examples, and that there are many triggers or motivators for gambling. You can look at the data from the Gambling Comission that lists all of the most common reasons why people start to gamble in the first place.

Understand What Causes Addiction

If you frequently ask yourself – how can I stop gambling addiction, then you should consider the possibility that your addiction is a byproduct of another problem, like substance abuse.

Genetic Factors

Scientists in the field of psychology, neuroscience, and genetics, have studied addiction and addicts to get a better understanding of why they develop these habits. People who are prone to developing addictions have lower activity in brain circuits that register reward. Addicts usually take more drugs or stronger drugs to get a better high, while gamblers tend to bet more money to increase the potential reward.

Alcohol and Substance Abuse

There is a link between substance abuse disorder and addiction to gambling. Studies that were conducted on problem gamblers found that more than 70% of participants also had alcohol addiction. This is significant because retail gambling shops usually serve alcohol as well, and therefore limiting your access to these establishments can be helpful.

Another interesting observation was made throughout these studies. Participants with gambling addiction and substance abuse also had a tendency towards:

  • Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Anti-social disorder
  • Risky sexual behaviors
  • This indicates that people who are impulsive, withdrawn, and don’t weigh risk-reward accurately are at risk of becoming problem gamblers.

Strategies for Managing Addiction

Knowing is half the battle so if you understand what drives you towards problematic behavior you’ll be better equipped to manage bad habits. In other words, figuring out how to stop addiction of gambling means undergoing a lot of self-evaluation and reflection. It also means embracing a more disciplined lifestyle and minimizing your exposure to factors that trigger this behavior. Here are a few practical tips that sum up everything that we talked about:

  • Limit your gambling budget and stop thinking about gambling as a method that brings reward or fulfillment.
  • Avoid places and sites that trigger your desire to gamble e.g sites with ads, places that serve alcohol, things that make you stressed out.
  • If you gamble with your friends talk to them about your problem, and ask them to support your decision. This means changing the nature of your gatherings and doing something else when you are together.
  • Use responsible gambling tools that are available on the sites where you play.
  • Seek professional help if your betting habits stem from other problems.
  • Look for other hobbies and activities to keep your mind occupied.


How to Stop Addiction to Gambling?

The best way is to seek professional help and support groups. You can also register for self-exclusion and find other things to do that will keep you preoccupied.

What Causes Gambling Addiction?

In short, it is a mix of genetical factors, predispositions that result from personal traits, environmental factors or social groups, and other personal problems or mental health issues.

What are Responsible Gambling Tools?

These are options or features on casino and sportsbook sites that players can use to limit their spending, their time spent on the site, or to self-exclude themselves.


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