RG September 28, 2020
Playing online slots, casino or card games like poker and blackjack can be a fun way to spend your free time or do with friends. But there’s no denying it can also be damaging to your financial and personal wellbeing if not done responsibly.
This guide walks you through what responsible gambling means. It goes into detail on the many things you can do to keep your gambling in check or what resources you can use to get help if you can’t do it alone. That said, responsible gambling is a set of behaviours that can help you avoid the harm which comes with excessive casino gambling.
In the UK, most people agree there’s an irrefutable need to encourage responsible gambling. And to ensure the mission is successful, there are organizations that offer responsible gambling services at request, often free of charge.
Self-assessment is the quickest way to evaluate whether you’re a responsible gambler or not. It involves comparing your habits with the common signs of problematic gambling. For example, have you ever gambled money meant to cover basic necessities like food and rent?
Do you lie about how much you spend on real money gambling? Do you often play casino games to recover past losses? Or do you spend way too much time on gambling websites? If you answered yes to a few of these questions, you might want to adopt responsible gambling tips.
Self-exclusion means voluntarily stepping back from gambling. It could be for a week, a month or six months. Many online casinos in the UK support this concept and help many of their customers self-exclude temporarily or permanently.
Self-exclusion is an excellent way to limit your gaming behaviours. It’s also the next course of action if it’s difficult to manage gaming after sell-assessing yourself.
The best part of it is that it gives you a break from gambling so that you can re-evaluate yourself and decide when it’s best to start gambling again.
GAMSTOP is a regional self-exclusion service from all casinos licensed in England, Scotland, Wales and North Ireland. It works in a straightforward way.
You create an account on its website.
Then you apply to be self-excluded from online casinos for six months, one year or five years. If your application is approved, GAMSTOP will notify all UKGC-licensed casinos to blacklist your name the amount of time you specified.
The advantage of GAMSTOP is that it helps you avoid all licensed online casinos. It’s not like self-excluding at one casino and creating an account at a competing platform.
SpelPaus is the GAMSTOP equivalent in Sweden. Established in 2019, it lets Swedish players self-exclude from all online casino services for a month, three months, one year or indefinitely.
Similar to GAMSTOP, SpelPaus also bans casinos in Sweden from emailing or targeting self-excluded gamblers for marketing reasons.
SpelPaus a free service and even offers guides such as how to assess yourself for problematic gambling.
But similar to its British counterpart, SpelPaus can’t prevent you from walking into a brick and mortar casino. It also won’t stop you from using offshore casinos that do not participate in the responsible gambling policy.
If you self-assess and decide you need to reduce gambling, there are several tools that can help you do it. For example, you can find a program that limits your time and money at gambling websites. They could be as specific as you want them to be: deposit, bet, loss and play limits.
Interestingly, many casinos and betting sites also tend to have responsible gambling software to protect their customers. They use these tools to evaluate players’ behaviours and detect problem gamblers at an early stage.
The primary benefit of software tools is that they keep you aware of how you gamble. They also give you control over your money and time.
As we mentioned, some casinos have tools they use to promote responsible gambling. For starters, they use software to help people place betting limits on their accounts. Again, these are limits related to how much you can deposit, wager per game or per week.
The specific limits you can set on your casino account varies from your website to the other. But generally, you’ll be allowed to set a restriction on three things: wagers, session time and your losses.
Restricting your bet amounts is meant to control your overall budget at casinos. Session limits help save your time while losses let you keep your finances in check. All of them are important but most players choose restrictions based on their daily losses.
Underage gambling is self-explanatory. It describes casino gaming by people under the legal age limit. In the UK, the limit is 18 years. Many casinos ask for national identification documents to verify their customers’ ages.
By law, all casinos might mention in their adverts that underage players aren’t allowed. They also follow strict rules that prevent them from targeting children with gambling materials.
This point can’t be emphasized enough. Online gambling is best done for fun, with money you can afford to lose. That way, you’ll never feel obliged to borrow money to gamble. You’ll never feel the need to diverge money meant for bills into gambling or sell assets to play casino games.
You know how much money you can avoid losing per month. Set it aside and budget to determine how much you’ll spend daily or weekly. Go further and set your budget per session and your minimum and maximum stakes. Then stick to this budget.
You can always re-evaluate your budget down the line. You can also be flexible to increase or reduce it. But ensure you can afford the bankroll and stick to your targets for each month.
Take gambling like any other hobby or job. There’s a time to play. Then there’s a time for breaks. The latter helps you cool down after a fun-full session. It helps you remember to stay within your budget or to know when to logout and spend your time doing something else.
There’s only too much GAMSTOP, SpelPaus and self-control tools can do. If you feel like you need help, find responsible gambling services. These companies give you a call, evaluate your situation and guide you on how to rise from the pits of problem gambling.
They also provide responsible gambling training. So, if you feel like you want more control over gaming without quitting entirely, these companies can help you. For clarity, we are talking about GamCare, National Problem Gambling Clinic, Gamblers Anonymous UK and the Gordon Moody Association.
We know—some sports betting and poker professionals can make a living off gambling. But these individuals make up a tiny percent of the overall number of people who gamble. Still, we are saying don’t do it. Don’t think gambling as a source of income. You might win sometimes. But because many casino games are based on pure luck, you can’t use them to earn consistent profits.
How much is too much time depends on your budget, your schedule and what games you like to play. With that in mind, gamble for short periods of time, usually when you are free. Don’t bet until you lose track of time.
If you feel like you’re losing control over your gambling hobby, don’t try to hide it by lying or borrowing money. Face the problem through self-exclusion, using tools to restrict your wagers or by asking for help.
Online gambling is fun for most people. But for some, it gets to a point where the fun stops and it becomes a problem. To avoid getting to that point, self-assess yourself frequently. If it doesn’t work, use alternatives like self-exclusion, GAMSTOP or software.
If things get worse, know that it’s okay to ask for help. Ask your casino to help you create limits. Most casinos are for the responsible service of gambling and will help you as much as they can. If they can’t, check in with a gambling therapy platform like GamCare.
Of course, the goal is to be a responsible gambler. So, use our dos and don’ts responsible gambling tips to keep your gambling hobby in control at all times.
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