In an ideal world everyone would be able to enjoy gambling without compromising their health, family, friends and finances. For some however gambling can become a struggle and negatively affect their lives.
The online Casinos that our site recommends all offer tools and advice on following the best practices to gamble safely and responsibly but such is our committment to this initiative we have compiled the following information on identifying gambling habits and the resources available to you if you feel you need help.
The Term ‘Responsible Gambling’
Not just a catchphrase, but an actual initiative founded by the gambling industry to ensure not only fairness of gambling activities but to raise awareness of the negative aspects of gambling and to ensure that those seeking help can find it easily.
On an individual level the phrase can mean:
- Making informed choices while gambling
- Understanding the associated risks
- Setting limits on time and money spent
- Being aware of the signs of problem gambling
- Seeking help when needed
So how do you gamble responsibly?
It can help to get a general understanding of what responsible gambling entails with some general pointers before going into further detail:
- Gambling is not a job: Do not rely on gambling as a source of income rather a form of entertainment where actually the odds usually slightly favour the house.
- Set a Budget: Determine how much money you can comfortably afford to lose before you start gambling and stick to this whether you are winning or losing.
- Time Management: Set limits on the amount of time you spend gambling and take regular breaks to maintain a clear perspective.
- Avoid Chasing Losses: Losses are part of gambling so avoid the temptation to chase losses by increasing your bets.
- Self-Exclusion: Most reputable casinos offer self-exclusion options to temporarily or permanently restrict access to your account.
- Keep it Fun: Gambling should be an enjoyable form of entertainment so if it starts feeling like a chore or a way to relieve stress it’s time to reassess.
- Stay Sober: Avoid gambling while under the influence of alcohol or substances as impaired judgment can lead to reckless betting.
- Responsible Gambling Tools: Take advantage of responsible gambling tools offered by the casino, such as deposit limits, time reminders and self-assessment tests to help you stay in control.
- Monitor Your Emotions: Avoid gambling as a way to cope with stress, anxiety, or other emotions.
- Keep Track of Your Gambling Activity: This can provide clarity on your gambling habits and help you make informed decisions about when to continue or take a break.
- Seek Support: Don’t hesitate to seek help from professionals or support groups. Many organizations specialize in assisting individuals with gambling-related issues.
All reputable casinos are regulated and will all verify the applicant age before setting up an account. This will not be as simple as typing in a date of birth as you will need to provide identification documents such as driving licenses or passports and possibly undergo further verification checks. This is purely to prevent underage players from entering the site.
It is of the utmost importance that you are of a legal playing age (which can vary according to country) and that you submit authentic documents. Not only is it illegal and irresponsible to gamble underage but the casino will have every right to cancel your account and withhold any winnings.
Your duty to minors
If you are of a legal playing age then you have a responsibility to ensure that no minors are in a position to use your account to gamble. From simple steps to logging out after every session to password-protecting your computer account and installing apps like Net Nanny to prevent access.
It is also your duty to help keep children safe and to teach them good habits should they try to gamble at a legal age:
- Talk about gambling: Emphasize that gambling can offer entertainment and excitement but also carries potential risks.
- Lead by example: Always prioritize your child’s well-being above any gambling-related pursuits.
- Supervise internet usage: Stay informed about the websites they frequent and the games they engage in.
- Loot box dangers: Engage in open conversations with your children regarding the potential risks associated with loot boxes in video games.
- Financial responsibility: Teach the importance of money’s worth and the art of making prudent financial choices.
- Offer support: If you have concerns that your child might be susceptible to or has already encountered gambling-related issues demonstrate empathy and extend a helping hand.
Responsible Gambling Facilities
Online Casinos provide facilities to encourage responsible play through various means. Though they are not compulsory it is widely recommended that they are used.
When you are deeply engrossed in your casino games it’s easy to lose track on how much time you have spent. One of the features offered allows you to establish a session time limit. Once this pre-set time elapses, a notification will appear, informing you of your total playtime and presenting the choice to either log out or continue playing. A visible timer indicates the duration of your gambling session.
Note: It’s essential to form the habit of adhering to this reminder by logging out and concluding your session promptly.
Deposit and/or spending limits
The majority of online casinos provide maximum deposit limits however it is widely thought that these are set too high. For that reason being able to set you deposit amount is of the highest importance when it comes to money management.
The Responsible Gambling framework gives you the option to establish daily, weekly, or monthly deposit limits according to your preferences and once set any deposits exceeding this limit will be rejected. Though it is possible to raise the limits set, the priocess is time-consuming and gives you the opportunity to question whether it is the right thing to do.
Note: You may have the option to set limits on your wagering amount rather than your deposit amount.
Designed to help individuals who believe they may have a gambling problem or want to take a break from gambling it allows individuals to voluntarily exclude themselves from participating in gambling activities. Self-exclusion measures are often available at both land-based and online casinos.
In the context of online casinos there are generally two types of self-exclusion:
This type of self-exclusion allows individuals to block access to their online casino accounts for a specified period which can range from a few days to several months. During this time the individual will not be able to log in, deposit money or place bets.
Permanent self-exclusion is a more enduring form of self-exclusion. Individuals who choose this option voluntarily exclude themselves from the online casino for an indefinite period or sometimes even for life. Once this choice is made it is challenging to reverse and the online casino will not allow the person to reopen their account or access their services.
Online casinos typically provide clear instructions on how to initiate the self-exclusion process and they are legally obligated to adhere to the self-exclusion terms and restrictions.
Note: It’s important for individuals who opt for self-exclusion to be committed to their decision and seek additional support if needed to address any gambling-related issues.
Recognising a Gambling Addiction
Identifying the signs of addiction is crucial for seeking help and making positive changes. Here are some common indicators of gambling addiction:
- Loss of Control: You find it challenging to limit or stop your gambling activities even when you want to.
- Preoccupation with Gambling: You constantly think about gambling, plan your next session or reminisce about past wins.
- Increasing Bets: You need to wager more money over time to experience the same level of excitement.
- Chasing Losses: You try to recover losses by gambling more which often leads to further financial problems.
- Neglecting Responsibilities: You disregard work, family or other important obligations in favour of gambling.
- Lying and Secrecy: You hide your gambling habits from loved ones and may lie about your activities.
- Borrowing Money: You borrow money from friends, family or financial institutions to fund your gambling.
- Irritability and Restlessness: You become agitated or restless when you can’t gamble.
- Escape from Problems: You use gambling as a way to escape stress, anxiety or other emotional issues.
- Chasing the “High”: You gamble to experience the rush rather than for enjoyment.
Note: You do not need all of the above points to apply for it to be a concern. If you can relate to just a few of these indicators you should seek help promptly.
Many online casinos offer a gambling addiction self-assessment test which will anonymously take you through a series of questions to gain an insight into your gambling. If you suspect you may have a gambling problem then consider taking a self-assessment test. Remember the data isn’t stored so be sure to answer the questions honestly.
If the results of the assessment suggests that you may have a gambling problem know that recognizing the issue is the first step toward recovery, and that you should seek help.
If the test indicates that you do not have a problem then you should continue to take tests regularly and monitor any changes in score.
Treating a Gambling Problem
Firstly it is important to remember that there is no shame in admitting you may have a gambling problem and that taking action is a hugely positive step forward.
You should also be aware that you are absolutely not alone on this journey, and that a gambling addiction is a recognised medical disorder and not a result of any outside influence.
Once you’ve taken a self-assessment test and have taken the positive step to getting help there are a number of services available:
- Consultation (online, telephone or face to face)
- Therapy (individual or group)
- Rehab (for more extreme cases)
Gambling Treatment Organisations
|GamCare||www.gamcare.org.uk||GamCare provides support and resources for individuals affected by gambling-related issues, offering confidential help and advice.|
|Gordon Moody Association||www.gordonmoody.org.uk||The Gordon Moody Association specializes in the treatment of gambling addiction, offering residential and online support programs.|
|National Problem Gambling Clinic||www.cnwl.nhs.uk/services/mental-health-services/addictions-and-substance-misuse/national-problem-gambling-clinic/||The National Problem Gambling Clinic provides expert help for those struggling with gambling addiction through the NHS.|
|Gamblers Anonymous||www.gamblersanonymous.org.uk||Gamblers Anonymous offers a supportive community for individuals recovering from gambling addiction through meetings and a 12-step recovery program.|
|Gambling Therapy||www.gamblingtherapy.org||Gambling Therapy provides free online support and resources for those affected by problem gambling including counselling and self-help tools.|
|GambleAware||www.begambleaware.org||GambleAware is a leading charity that funds research, education and treatment services to help reduce gambling-related harm in the UK.|
|Gambling Help Online||www.gamblinghelponline.org.au||Gambling Help Online offers 24/7 support, information, and counselling for individuals affected by gambling-related issues in Australia.|
|Lifeline||www.lifeline.org.au||While not exclusively for gambling, Lifeline provides 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services, including help for those affected by gambling.|
|Gamblers Anonymous Australia||gaaustralia.org.au||Gamblers Anonymous Australia offers support groups based on a 12-step program for those wanting to quit gambling.|
|Relationships Australia||www.relationships.org.au||Relationships Australia offers various services, including counselling for those affected by problem gambling.|
|Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation||responsiblegambling.vic.gov.au||The foundation aims to reduce gambling-related harm by providing information, research, and support services in Victoria.|
If you know of a family member or friend that is showing signs of gambling addiction but is refusing to acknowledge the issue or receive treatment then it might be time to step in.
You could take a self-assessment test on their behalf (remember no personal details are requested or stored) to see if there are any warning signs then approach them with the results. Remember to approach the subject carefully and sympathetically as it will likely be an issue they are well aware of and may cause embarrassment.