We enjoy online gambling as much as the next person, but this popular pastime should always be seen as a fun and exciting activity. Playing at online casinos means sometimes winning and sometimes losing, but some people get caught up in chasing wins and using funds they don’t have to gamble online. We want to ensure that our readers stay safe when playing online slots and table games and have prepared a guide to offer the help and support needed to keep in control.
Responsible gambling is a set of rules regulated by gambling authorities to protect players from gambling addiction. Tools include limiting how much a person spends on gambling, support groups, deposit limits, self-assessment questionnaires, and other ways to ensure safe online gambling. Responsible Gambling is also important for the gambling industry to ensure it operates responsibly.
This page will outline places that offer support and guidance, when to get help, and how to ensure players gamble responsibly. Let’s promote safer online gambling together because even if you don’t have a compulsive gambling problem, it’s possible that someone you love might.
Gambling Addiction Help Centres
Many players can stick within their budget, but some people continue gambling in the hope that the next round will be the one that pays big. They will use funds they don’t have, or worst, borrow or steal from friends and loved ones. Online casino players need to recognize the warning signs to curb problem gambling, and we will outline some below. There are support centres globally that offer assistance for gambling addiction, and here are some well-known help centres.
- Gamblers Anonymous – Designed after Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Gamblers Anonymous uses a 12-step program to help problem gamblers overcome their addiction.
- National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) – A non-profit organization established in 1972 based in the US that provides resources and support to people affected by problem gambling.
- GamCare – Based in the UK, GamCare operates a confidential hotline for people affected by problem gambling. GamCare also offers online chat support, counselling services, and self-help resources.
- Gambling Therapy – an international organization that provides online counselling, support groups, and self-help tools to individuals struggling with gambling-related issues.
- The Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) – Based in Canada, RGC is a non-profit company that provides information and resources for people struggling with gambling addiction.
- BeGambleAware – A leading charity in the UK that offers support to anyone at risk of developing a gambling problem. BeGambleAware also funds research into problem gambling.
When to get help
Some warning signs of gambling addictions include spending more money than intended on casino games, needing to bet more, with more money, or lying about gambling activity to hide the extent of gambling activity. Other tell-tale signs include chasing losses, trying to win back money lost through gambling, and getting into financial difficulties because of gambling.
Online casinos offer an assortment of help in their Responsible Gaming section, including self-assessment questionnaires. Players can answer questions to find out if they could potentially have a problem. The questionnaire asks questions to help identify problematic patterns in a player’s gambling behaviour. Here are some of the questions found on self-assessment questionnaires:
- Did you ever neglect your everyday duties because of gambling?
- After losing, do you feel you must play again to win back losses?
- Do you often gamble until you run out of money?
- Did you ever borrow or sell anything to finance your gambling?
How to make sure you Gamble Responsibly
A multi-faceted approach is required to ensure players gamble responsibly at online gambling venues. These are some of the most important steps to ensure players gamble responsibly:
Educating Players: Online casinos must provide tools and information to their players about responsible gambling practices. This includes setting limits, limiting gambling spending, informing on the odds of winning, and recognizing the warning signs of problem gambling.
Offering Self-Exclusion Options: Players must be able to limit their access to gambling activities, such as setting limits on how much is spent, reality checks to keep track of how long a person plays online, and self-exclusion tools that allow players to block themselves from accessing the site for a short or long period. Self-assessment questionnaires and timeouts must also be included.
Online casinos must implement strict age verification checks and provide resources for help, such as links to support groups for players struggling with problem gambling. Links to support groups are included for access to counselling services and helplines. Online casinos should also actively monitor players’ gambling behaviour for signs of problem gambling. Lastly, online gambling venues should ensure that their advertising is done responsibly and does not target vulnerable players.
Set Limits on Your Gaming
An essential aspect of Responsible Gambling is setting limits on how much a player spends so that players can fund their accounts without experiencing financial difficulties. For the player, deciding on a budget is the first step. Based on their disposable income, a budget is necessary as it determines the amount players are comfortable spending and can afford to lose without affecting their financial well-being. A reputable online casino offers its clients a way to set limits to help them stay in control. This includes limiting deposit amounts so players don’t spend more than they can afford. Players can then set daily limits that refresh every 24 hours and weekly or monthly limits, which can be decreased, increased or removed. Responsible gambling is about players staying in control and enjoying the gambling experience without risking their financial well-being.
Set Aside an Entertainment/ Gambling Budget
Players should set aside a budget for gambling every month to ensure they can fund their casino account with the money they can afford. Gambling budgets should be based on the player’s income and other financial obligations such as bills, savings, and other expenses. Once the budget is determined, players should stick to it. This can be achieved by keeping a record of all gambling activities to avoid going over their budgeted amount. Online casinos offer responsible gambling tools, such as deposit limits, to help players stay within their budgets.
Don’t Chase wins or Losses
The fastest way to turn a fun-filled gaming session into a nightmare is by chasing losses and borrowing money to fund your online gambling. For some players, when they are on a “hot streak” they don’t want it to end and continue gambling, while others that have lost a few times in a row, will borrow money to fund their gambling. Chasing wins or losses can quickly spiral out of control and lead to financial difficulties. Responsible Gaming Tools at online casinos, including setting limits, taking breaks, and excluding yourself when necessary, goes a long way toward maintaining control.
Set a time limit
One of the first steps to responsible gambling is knowing how much you can spend and how much you are willing to lose. Setting time limits help stay in control. Losing track of time is easy, especially if you are enjoying yourself, but setting a time limit enables you to stay focused and stick to your limits. Time limits prevent players getting carried away by the excitement of casino games. Setting time limits promotes responsible gambling and reduces the stigma surrounding online gambling.
Problem Gambling Myths
- Players with a gambling problem use gambling to escape from other issues in their life.
Online gamblers lead normal lives and get up every morning to go to work, much like everyone else. It’s partly true that people play for fun and entertainment to leave the cares of the world behind, but gambling addiction is not dependent on this and can happen to anyone.
- If you don’t stop playing, you will eventually win back all your money.
This is one of the biggest myths. Walking away is easy for people that don’t have a gambling problem, but compulsive gamblers are driven by an irrational belief that they will soon land that big win.
- If you can afford to pay for gambling, there’s no problem.
Money isn’t the only driving force of compulsive gambling. There are underlying conditions that drive a person, such as stress or low mood. Gambling becomes a way of coping, eventually leading to life-changing financial loss unless the person gets help in time.
If You need help, don’t be afraid to get it
If you are battling a gambling problem, the first step is to recognize that there is a problem and get help. Complete the self-assessment questionnaire at your online casino, and contact the gambling support centres where you will get all the help you need. Players concerned about others finding out need not worry; anonymity is key at support centres, helplines and online casinos. No one ever needs to know. There’s no shame in seeking help for a gambling problem; in fact, it’s very courageous. Support centres are staffed by trained professionals who help those struggling with addiction. If you need help, it’s out there, so don’t be afraid to use all the resources available to you. By taking that first step, players can start their recovery journey and regain control of their lives.