The origins of gambling can be traced back centuries and have contributed to the structure of countless civilizations over time.

And that age-old pastime continues to play a pre-eminent cultural and social role that millions of people around the world enjoy both live and online.

The vast majority of us can place some bets without encountering too many problems. Whether that means playing as far as you can, setting a cap on gambling spend, or simply knowing when to quit the game, most of us can walk away without it getting out of hand.

## The role of geneticsIf you

But a small fraction encounter addictions related to gambling that can take over their lives. Just like anyone who is passionate about alcohol, drugs, or other obvious “vices”, gambling addiction is a very real problem that can have devastating effects on a person’s social, family, and professional life.

The question arises: Are people more inclined to develop gambling addiction because of genetics, even if they have not shown addictive tendencies in the past?

Some studies, such as the one conducted jointly by the University of Missouri and the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, have tried to answer. A 2010 follow-up article by the UK’s NHS (National Health Service) provided strong evidence that gambling problems are indeed hereditary by comparing the habits of monozygous (identical) and dizygotic (not identical) twins.

The results of the study showed that both sexes of monozygous twins had a higher rate of pathological gambling problems than their dizygous counterparts. Out of 1.0, the former category gave a 0.49 probability that both male twins would be gamblers, compared to 0.21 for a random monozygous couple.

Despite the promising results, the UK Health Service urged caution regarding the results due to certain limitations. For one, the study was limited to Australian citizens and did not examine the full extent of environmental factors.

To get a more complete picture, the service concluded that “further research is needed to understand the factors that trigger gambling addiction”.

A separate study from the University of Iowa confirmed that people affected by pathological gambling are eight times more likely to inherit the disorder from a family member. The results were even enough to suggest associations between gambling addiction and disorders such as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), depression, and anxiety – which underscores the severity of the problem.

To gain a better understanding of genetic transmission, the report aims to pave the way for neuroscientists to conduct their own genetic studies in this area.

## Casino games at your fingertipsIf you

Since the first online casinos emerged in the 1990s, rapid advances in technology have resulted in an increase in the number of online sites. Nowadays, players everywhere can enjoy online casino games at their fingertips – no longer being forced to travel to the next venue or dress for the occasion.

Since games are available day and night on all stakes, such developments also harbor potential problem gamblers. In a matter of seconds, players can top up their bankroll and bet a game much faster than a land-based company – and incur bigger losses.

And with numerous live venues being closed due to COVID-19, players had to use their gaming experience online. The virtual area represents an environment in which many feel overwhelmed and may bet more than usual.

## Responsible gaming activitiesIf you

Fortunately, today’s online casinos are closely tied to protocols set by various gambling regulators such as the MGA (Maltese Gaming Authority) and the UKGC (UK Gambling Commission).

Not only do these bodies issue licenses and monitor the fairness of operations, they also ensure that online casinos provide their players with adequate measures to manage their gambling. As part of their duty, online casinos also remain vigilant of any abnormalities in behavior that may indicate problem gambling before it becomes a major problem.

If this option is not enabled, abnormal gaming patterns can affect a person’s health, finances, and relationships, among other things.

Online casinos like Wildz are based in Malta and have optional controls that players can use to manage their own games. Limits that control things like deposit amounts, total losses and time spent on gambling can be exercised at any time. Together they make playing real money casino games as safe as possible without unduly compromising the level of entertainment.

As a further measure of their commitment, online casino operators also list details of broader resources to promote responsible gambling. Organizations such as * GamCare * and * Gamblers Anonymous * provide gamers the help and support they need to keep gambling addiction confidential.

NOTE: This article is a contribution from our advertiser and does not necessarily reflect the views of Medical Daily

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