Will the World Cup Make or Break You?
The 2018 FIFA World Cup inspires excitement in millions around the globe, but the tournament can also trigger compulsive and destructive gambling.
While football fans gear up for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, law enforcement agencies around the globe are preparing for the corresponding surge in online gambling. With billions of dollars being wagered in illegal bets during major tournaments, countries like Thailand have organised sophisticated tracking methods to identify, shut down and penalise bookies, punters and sites promoting online gambling. For those considering placing bets, the risks are far greater than simply taking a loss.
In May 2018, the Royal Thai Police (RTP) launched a special operation centre specifically charged with cracking down on illegal online gambling. Chalermkiat Sriworakhan, deputy chief of the national police, told the Bangkok Post that the new centre will focus on those websites offering online football gambling services from any server, both Thailand-based and abroad.
The centre connects the RTP head office with regional offices, and brings together staff from the Central Investigation Bureau, the Immigration Office and the Anti-Money Laundering Office. The special operation centre also encourages tips from the public to identify and stop online gambling, and could become a permanent institution in combatting illegal gambling.
An array of legislation will be used to punish those involved in gambling, including the Anti-Money Laundering Act and the Child Protection Act, which would see parents of gamblers under 18 facing jail time. Deputy Chief Sriworakhan also warned that the owners of Facebook accounts that promote betting activity could face charges of violating both the Gambling Act and the Computer-related Crime Act.
Global Gambling and the World Cup
The World Cup remains a major draw for gamblers across the globe, given the level of the sport’s popularity as well as the sheer number of games. It is estimated that the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia will be the most bet-on event in human history.
The risks of gambling are well known, and can result in significant negative impacts on the following areas of a gambler’s life:
- Financial stability
- Personal relationships
- Physical and mental health
To mitigate these risks, many countries have focused on protection mechanisms in the lead-up to the World Cup games. In Asia, where countries generally have more stringent gambling laws, crackdowns on illegal gambling dens have started not only in Thailand but in Vietnam and Hong Kong as well. In other countries where there are fewer restrictions on gambling, such as the UK and Australia, groups have urged a ban to be placed on the advertising of betting forums during sporting events.
However, the temptation for many to gamble remains high, particularly with the exploding availability of online betting sites and the success of pop-up ads attracting new users.
When Gambling is More Than Just a Game
With the World Cup just around the corner, it is critically important for would-be gamblers to not only understand the risks of placing bets, but also to assess whether what may have started as a casual pastime has turned into problematic and compulsive behaviour.
A recent study cited in The Telegraph showed that gambling physically alters the structure of the brain and makes people more disposed to depression and anxiety, which can indicate an addiction. Additionally, signs of compulsive gambling can include:
- Chasing losses (trying to win back lost money)
- Criticism of family and friends regarding gambling habits
- Taking larger risks for the purpose of excitement or an emotional high
- Borrowing money or selling items in order to continue gambling
- Personal concern over gambling habits
- Negative financial or professional impacts related to gambling
If any of these behaviours resonate with you or with someone you know, it is time to seek professional advice on how to take the next step in addressing and controlling this habit.
Seeking Treatment: A Safer Bet
Placing bets on major tournaments like the World Cup is a rousing temptation for those who like to gamble and underscore the need for professional support. At The Cabin Bangkok, we offer effective gambling addiction counselling to help you regain control of your impulses, thought processes and patterns of behaviour.
Our flexible, evidence-based outpatient treatment for gambling addiction combines cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) with mindfulness training, a modern version of the 12 Steps, and our unique Recovery Zones model. Incorporating both individual and group sessions with our highly professional staff, we can help you identify your gambling triggers, manage your impulses and prevent relapses.
Our partner, The Cabin Chiang Mai, offers a more intensive gambling treatment centre with luxury inpatient facilities in the lush mountains of northern Thailand. The remote setting and limited Internet connectivity allows you to fully focus on recovery. Unlike outpatient facilities where work and family obligations must still be met, inpatient treatment allows addicts a period of time where the only thing they need to focus on is getting better. This is incredibly important for many addicts, especially those who turn to their addiction in times of stress.
Daily schedules filled with one-on-one counselling, group therapy sessions and other types of therapies including fitness and mindfulness therapy are designed to help keep clients busy with activities that will increase their chances of successful recovery. It is a great way to build a solid foundation on which long-term recovery can blossom.
If you are unsure if your gambling habits are a problem, do contact us for a no obligation, free assessment to see how we can help you get your life back on track.