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The Impact of Online Gaming on Mental Health: A Closer Look

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Online gambling continues to spark debates across all sectors: is it really just a fun hobby or can it have a detrimental effect on your mental health? Some say that nothing bad can come from something so fun, while others are convinced there is no positive impact at all.

Well, the truth may just lie somewhere in the middle. This article will take a look at both sides of the coin to try to bridge the gap between them. As well as that, we’ll give you some practical tips on how you can foster good habits and work towards a positive outcome.

The Negative Impact

Increased Risk of Addiction

Though it may start out as just fun, gambling can quickly become addictive. The constant stimulation, adrenaline, and rewards make us release dopamine. And after a while, we start chasing this happy hormone without regard to consequences.

If we aren’t aware of the effect that gambling can have on us, our focus can easily shift from playing for fun to playing to avoid feeling bad. That’s why responsible gambling tools like loss and time limits are especially useful. They remind us to take a breath, cool down, and come back only when we’re already feeling good.


The other side of anticipation is almost always anxiety. If we’re more prone to risks, then we can get very anxious when they don’t pay off. For example, betting more than you can afford and losing can spike your anxiety levels like never before. In fact, the financial stress from gambling is one of the most common causes of constant anxiety.

The best way to combat this is to have a separate entertainment budget. That way, you can have more control over your budget and make it less likely that you’ll exceed it. As well as that, setting deposit and betting limits can help you stay on top of your finances and stop you from taking unnecessary risks in the heat of the moment.

An attitude adjustment can also help in this case. One reason that financial strain is so common is that people tend to chase their losses, thinking that they can win it all back, but end up losing even more. So, when you’re on a losing streak, instead of placing more bets, you should log out completely. Realise that it’s just a game and that this simply isn’t your lucky day. Come back when you’re feeling more level-headed and approach gaming because you want to have fun again— not because you need to chase a loss.

Social Isolation

If you spend all of your time in online casinos, you may find that you’re losing out on important relationships in your life. Social isolation is a reality for chronic gamblers, which in turn just pushes them more into the world of online casinos. This isn’t a healthy attitude to have towards gambling, as it is supposed to be a hobby, as we already mentioned.

So to keep it a light-hearted hobby, you should make a genuine effort to spend time with the people in your life. Set aside some “me time” and only gamble in those dedicated hours. You can also set time limits for yourself to make it easier to stop gaming when the time is up.

On top of helping you keep strong relationships with others, this can also help you not get overstimulated or bored with gambling. It’s a great step in fostering a positive attitude towards gaming.

The Positive Impact


While your entire social life shouldn’t rely on the online gambling community, making friends in these circles can still have a positive impact. By being an active member of a casino’s community, you can stay in touch with people who have something in common with you. That’s why a lot of operators have a chat function for members.

Simply put, gaming with others makes things more fun for both of you. And who knows, those gaming sessions can blossom into beautiful friendships. If the person you game with lives close to you, the friendship may even transcend into real life.

Cognitive Stimulation

Skill-based casino games can be great for cognitive stimulation. These types of games don’t rely on just luck but instead require you to develop a strategy and continually improve your skills in order to win. Poker is a great example, as it’s not enough just to draw the cards. You need to know when to bluff, fold, or raise, and you have to learn to read other people as well as make hands. The more you play, the better you get.

This can improve your overall focus, help you concentrate for longer, and improve mental clarity. All positives that can translate into other areas of your life.

Confidence Boost

Gaming can give you a nice confidence boost, especially if you participate in special events or casino tournaments. When you put in some effort and end up winning or ranking high on the leaderboard, you can feel a strong sense of achievement. 

This is especially true if you’re playing skill-based games that you spent a lot of time practising. It helps you realise that it’s not just the game, but that you’re skilled and competent. Again, these are feelings that will follow you into your personal life, allowing you to progress in other areas as well.

Good Gambling Etiquette

There are some things that you can do to keep gambling fun and foster more of the positives.

Only Play with Reputable Casinos

There are so many online casinos on the market today, but not all of them have your best interests at heart. To make sure that you’re playing in a safe environment, you should register at only reputable brands. Some of the things your next casino needs to have include:

  • A valid licence: A casino licence ensures the casino’s games are fair and that they can legally provide their services. In other words, it helps you avoid scams and fake casinos.
  • Site security: Since you are typically required to share your personal and banking information with the casino, you should make sure they have excellent site security. This helps prevent data theft and keeps you safe from third-party attacks.
  • Certifications: Alongside a licence, a reputable casino will usually have a third-party certification that ensures fairness. Look for logos of eCOGRA or iTech Labs. These testers validate that the games you play use certified RNG (Random Number Generator) and protect player interests.

To find such casinos, turn to sites like for expert reviews. They will tell you everything you need to know about the casino’s safety, fairness, and reputation so that you can be sure that you’re gambling in a safe environment.

Use Responsible Gambling Tools

As we already mentioned, responsible gambling tools are key to staying on top of your gambling habits. Casinos usually have these tools in place in your account, so you can set custom limits tailored to your playing style and needs. 

If you’re playing at a casino that doesn’t offer deposit, loss, or time limits, you can use apps and your bank’s transaction limits to keep yourself in check. Those who want to keep gambling for fun for a long time will greatly benefit from responsible gambling tools.

Educate Yourself

Education is key to keeping a healthy and objective attitude towards gambling. Most people start playing because they’re chasing good feelings without worrying about how gambling can impact their mental health. But, we can’t hope to foster the positives if we ignore the negatives completely.

Instead, we should educate ourselves to understand our feelings and mindset more. If you know how to recognise signs of problem gambling in yourself, you’re much more likely to intervene yourself before things get out of hand.

Ask for Help

Sometimes even knowing that we’re developing bad habits can’t shake us up enough to deal with the problem completely by ourselves. Asking for help is the most powerful tool someone who deals with problem gambling can have. Having a strong support network can help you get back on track, so don’t be afraid to tell the people in your life what you’re struggling with.

As well as that, most casinos have self-exclusion options that you can take advantage of. This will pause your account access for a specified amount of time, allowing you to completely cool off and focus on yourself. Additionally, organisations like BeGambleAware, Gamblers Anonymous, and GamStop can provide you with the professional guidance you may need.


It’s undeniable that gambling has an impact on our mental health. And this fact shouldn’t be ignored either, as acknowledging that helps us understand what steps we need to take to keep gambling fun. So, educate yourself, choose a safe environment, and use responsible gambling tools to foster a healthy attitude and a positive impact. And remember, if push comes to shove, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help!