What is a FOBT?
Problem gambling is not just about losing money. It’s a compulsion which can destroy families. The main focus for most addicted gamblers is now not just the machines found in the high street bookmakers, but is more likely to be found through the convenience of an online betting site or a betting app on a smartphone.
Most gamblers lose money over many years and often manage to hide their activities from the ones they love most. This in itself promotes, stress born out of the shame of lying and deceiving, which in turn can lead to a number of general anxiety disorders.
So called fixed odd betting terminals or FOBTs are one of the most common outlets for betting. Online roulette, among other FOBTs can be found in every betting shop across Britain. FOBTs appeal, for want of a better word, offer the dangerous combination of high stakes and the chance to win quick returns. This powerful illusion of getting rich quick can often lead to the gambler losing sight of what’s important. There are an estimated three quarters of a million problem at risk gamblers across the UK.
So what makes FOBTs so addictive? What makes people play at the expense of friendships, family and relationships. Gamblers themselves are the first to admit how it is easy to get lost in this world they find themselves immersed in. One of my clients recently admitted to having been able to lose more than three thousand pounds in less than an hour. This is not unusual however, such is the pull of the FOBT addiction. Is it any wonder that the guilt, shame, embarrassment of losing vast amounts of money in such a short period of time makes most gamblers lie about their behaviour and try to deny to themselves and others that there is a real problem.
The fixed odds betting terminals offer mostly games of chance, but most people play roulette. The occasional wins unfortunately are responsible for a release of a hormone into our bodies known as dopamine, which stimulates that feeling associated with every kind of addiction, from eating chocolate to drinking alcohol to betting on 32 red on a roulette wheel. The problem is not that the feeling of winning is bad its the fact that it confuses the reality of that occasional win being far outweighed statistically by the dozens of losses which eventually lead to ruin. The ‘high’ experienced through the release of dopamine means that a gambler will go to any lengths to experience more and more of the same feeling even after having lost, even if that means chasing those losses and convincing themselves that there is some way to recover. A spiral of despair as the losses grow means the gambler will stop thinking with the neo cortex or logical brain, and instead think more with the completely emotionally driven part of the brain. This is when it becomes very dangerous because the losing gambler at this point is not thinking rationally but instead being led by a completely separate entity hell bent on recovering at any cost but often with FOBTs that means total and complete ruin in the long term and even often in the short term.
Gamblers are prone with FOBTs to seeing patterns where there really aren’t any. They convince themselves that the numbers the ball landed on in the past must somehow give them a statistical edge. Of course this isn’t true and the FOBT promoters deliberately count on this illogical rationale to deliver what always ends up being the ‘house edge’ at the expense of the unsuspecting punter.
The spinning of the wheel, the noises and the experience generated by the FOBT is all designed to ‘pull in’ the gambler even though they have no effect on the result. Of course the result is always completely random.
Most scientists would argue that once you are addicted it is very hard to stop. I would argue, however, that gambling and the feelings associated with gambling are emotional in source and therefore any area of the brain which has learned to associate emotionally can either replace those emotions with new more powerful counter balancing emotions or can simply unlearn the habit at an emotional subconscious level. Either way the effect is the same if the thought behind the behaviour is no longer stimulating excitement or enjoyment because the levels of dopamine have been reduced, then the addiction begins to break down at an emotional level and can in effect be eradicated. Through my ten years of contact with seriously addicted gamblers, and not just those addicted to FOBTs, I have developed hypnotic techniques which in effect neutralise the reward centre of the brain by shifting awareness and perception. This approach has had great success with a full range of gambling activities, not least FOBTs and continues to challenge any notion that once a gambler always a gambler.
The way hypnotherapy works with the gambling habit is well covered on this website, but the area of FOBTs is a growing problem and one which threatens to enrol a new more ‘smartphone’ vulnerable generation of young gamblers who are already being seduced by seemingly harmless online games which at their heart have only one objective and that is to stimulate betting, and spending behaviours. That is why I wanted to write down why I believe we must be more mindful of the dangers we might face, either as a parent, a friend, a concerned partner or of course a current practicing gambler who can relate to much of the material here
Watch previous testimonials here
If you are currently struggling and would like to know how hypnotherapy can help you challenge and defeat your gambling addiction then simply request a completely confidential free consultation by clicking here, and I will be happy to explain how I can help.
Wishing you the very best with your search
NLP Practitioner and Clinical Hypnotherapist
Recently one of my clients, Claire from Ulverston in Cumbria came to see me for her years of struggle with her attempts to lose weight. She had literally tried everything she could think of and like so many people had spent hundreds of pounds searching for her holy grail. She had attempted numerous diets, traditional and a few unconventional ones which she had found on Facebook and the internet but each and every attempt had resulted in the same outcome which was short term weight loss and a sense of optimism followed very quickly by an abject sense of feeling dismayed and disheartened: “I felt like a complete failure and just went straight back to eating again, putting all the weight back on again”. Claire is not alone, however. Her story, like 90% of people worldwide is one of failure to lose weight with diets long term. Why is it so hard? The answer is pretty simple really. The body was not designed to be starved. When you put your body into a famine all you end up doing is stressing the system and the body kicks in to recovery mode. What this means is that once you starve yourself the body makes you feel more hungry, more irritable and more focused on the foods you shouldn’t be thinking about rather than anything else, which then compels you to grab the first opportunity to eat as much as possible thereby undoing all of the work you may have already put in. The body will keep this up until the balance is restored and the ‘emergency’ of no food is over.
And yet the dieting industry which is worth billions of dollars happily pedals the false dream of the perfect body as long as you keep trying again and again. The perfect business model for the big name weight loss companies, which I don’t even have to mention, but not necessarily the perfect solution for those they sell to. Diets are artificial, they are boring and they are unsustainable long term. This is our starting point in this discussion. So is it a lost cause? Is the idea of controlling your weight the impossible dream? Well, yes and no. You see if you are always comparing yourself to the airbrushed models in Vogue or Cosmopolitan then you are setting yourself an unrealistic challenge to become something which doesn’t even really exist. If however you can condition yourself to be happy with a balanced and healthy body, where you are simply comfortable and happy in your own skin then very quickly your resistance around what you think you should and shouldn’t eat can become less important. If you can accept and understand that food is merely a function of your life and NOT the be all and end all then you can relax more and live with less stress about your body.
So if you don’t achieve weight loss through dieting then how do you do it?. The clients I work with learn to control three key areas of their lives, which once dealt with help reshape their entire philosophy around food so that they can not only control the weight but more importantly can learn to lose weight naturally without sacrificing anything in their lives. Claire told me “ This was like nothing I had ever done in the past, because at no point did I feel like I was having to give up anything or having to use will power”. What Claire had identified was the one main difference between experiences with diets and the gastric band hypnosis process which I teach. In diets you have to chose what you can and cannot eat. With gastric band hypnotherapy, using a variety of cutting edge mental strategies you do not need any effort or willpower becasue our starting point is that food will always be around you therefore why fight it? You can try denying youself but you will always want the thing you are trying to avoid so just stop resisting and realise your environment will not change BUT you can! Once food doesn’t tempt you in quite the same way, your behaviour based on your emotions will start changing. The autopilot of the body also known as the subconscious can readily train your ability to know when you are full and can be trained to feel full quicker. Claire’s experience illustrates this: “ I had always known that gastric band operations existed, but I didn’t want to put my body through dangerous surgery and I certainly wasn’t willing to spend £8000. Once I was shown how to achieve similar results using hypnosis, I was amazed at how quickly I was feeling full and how much more food was left on my plate” Once you can have more subconscious awareness of feeling full quicker with less food then through sustained automatic balanced eating, the body begins to more effciently process burning off existing fat and preserving less new fat. The metabolism can, in effect, return to normal and function more effeciently, doing its job properly after having maybe spent years speeding up and slowing down according to any yo-yo dieting attempts.
“I would recommend this service (Cumbria Hypnosis Habit Change Clinic) to anyone who is struggling with diets. It Takes all the effort out of losing weight, gives you confidence and enables you to live your life to fullest without sacrificing anything.” Louise (Barrow-in-Furness)
The mind and body working in balance can result in dramatic and long lasting weight loss, once you have been able to engage with the creative part of brain. The reason why this approach works, is simply because it does not rely on resisting your environment and yourself, instead it is about reframing your perceptions of food and how much you actually need to eat to have the energy you need to get from one mealtime to the next without running back to the fridge an hour later. If you want to find out more then visit our dedicated page HERE
Cumbria Hypnosis serves Cumbria, South Lakes including Ulverston, Kendal and Lancaster with flexible daytime and evening clinics to suit you. If you would like to have a no obligation 20 minute consultation where I will share exactly how this process can help you then you can contact me by clicking this link
Wishing you well