However much fun you have playing games in online casinos, it also carries a risk of addiction. The majority of people view gambling as a fun and enjoyable activity. On the other hand, some people struggle with their gambling behaviours, spending a little more than they can afford or using it as a form of distraction from daily life problems; this is referred to as problem gambling. In the UK, gambling operators must ensure players understand problem gambling and know how to use responsible gambling tools.
Here you'll find a complete guide to safe online gambling, including tips that can help you gamble safely and the platform-tools and support services available.
Signs of Problem Gambling
The following are the signs of problem gambling:
- Spending most of your time gambling rather than on any other activities
- Neglecting spending time with others and losing interest in other hobbies
- Hiding your gambling info or lying about it from the people surrounding you
- Seeking excitement from gambling by having to spend more and more Money
- Feelings of depression, anxiety, irritability, or guilt
- Focusing too much on gambling
- Spending too much money on gambling such that you have financial problems
- Ignoring spent gambling limits and chasing losses
- Selling your items, stealing, or borrowing money to pay for gambling
- Withdrawal feelings like restlessness or loss of appetite anytime you aren't gambling
Tips for Safer Gambling
1. Remember That Gambling Isn't a Sure Way Of Making More Money
One fact about gambling is that it is not a means of earning more money. Online casino games and slots are made with a motive to make more money than they give in the long run; thus, you should never view gambling as a money generating activity or a substitute for your regular income.
2. Never Gamble with Money That You Can't Afford to Lose
Keeping a strict budget is a mandatory requirement to ensure all your most essential costs are covered at all times. Basic and essential needs like food, rent, and utilities should always be covered first and never reallocated to gambling. All costs on casino games should be deducted from your leisure and entertainment budget - they are a means to having fun, not making money.
3. Set Spending Limits Before You Play
Decide the amount you want to spend before visiting a land-based venue or logging in to your online casino account. This ensures that once your gambling limit is exhausted, it's time to stop. It is recommended that you only carry a fixed amount of cash from your gambling budget in the event of playing in a land-based casino or set a deposit limit at online casinos.
4. Set Time Limits
In addition to having a spending limit, always ensure you have a time limit. This encourages keeping track of time such that you do not get caught up while playing at the casino. It is also recommended that you use an online casino's Reality Check tool or set up a phone alarm to notify you when you have been playing for a desired amount of time.
5. Don't Chase Losses
The urge to recover back the money you lost is tempting, but you should never do it. Once the money is lost to the casino, please take it in and leave it that way. Chasing losses have long been proven to be a dangerous cycle that usually leads to bigger, more damaging losses at the end of the day.
6. Don't Gamble When You're in a Bad Mood
Being depressed or stressed is normal for everyone at times. However, it would be best to refrain from gambling in these conditions. Always ensure you have a clear head when playing any real money casino games.
7. Avoid Fully Depending on Any Strategies When Playing Casino Games
Employing strategies and systems may create a false illusion that casino games like slots are games of skill rather than luck. Every time you play casino games, remember that winning a casino slot trickles down to luck. Unlike blackjack and poker, they are not games of skill.
8. Don't Let Gambling Be Your Only Leisure Activity
Ensure that aside from gambling, you have other hobbies to spend your spare time on. Analyse yourself to ascertain if you are spending a lot of time on casinos, as there are a handful of other activities you can pick up.
9. Limit Your Alcohol Intake When Gambling
Focusing on drinking too much may lead you to make poor decisions like spending more than you can afford, affecting your inhibitions. Stay sober when gambling with real money.
10. Take Breaks Every So Often.
It is easy to lose track of time when gambling continuously and slot spins can take just seconds. Ensure you take a small break after every few rounds to take a refreshing walk or even grab a glass of water.
Slots Addiction Help
The most important and challenging thing is to realise one needs help with gambling addiction. An excellent way to find out if your gambling pattern is a problem is to take a Gambling Addiction Test, which can be easily found on the internet. As with all addictions, it takes huge courage and strength to recognise the issue, acknowledge it and work on it.
If you are experiencing problem gambling, several groups, including the National Gambling Helpline, are out there. If you or your friend need help, use these confidential services.
GamCare is an excellent option in the UK for problem gamblers as it provides free information, counselling, and relevant support. What's more, you can also access face-to-face support or reach out using the Helpline 0808 8020 133.
This organisation is a haven that provides helpful courses for problem gamblers. Get in touch via 01384 241292 or drop an email at [email protected] for more information.
Gamblers Anonymous runs local support groups that use a 12-step recovery method like AA which offers hope using shared group experiences.
CNWL Gambling Clinic
The CNWL Gambling Clinic offers treatment solutions for problem gamblers from 16 and their loved ones from England and Wales. The team at the clinic provides behavioural therapy and psychological support.
Be Gamble Aware
The organisation provides support, advice, and help to problem gamblers. You can contact them full time on their helpline 0808 8020 133.
The London-based organisation provides complete support services for problem gamblers. You can get in touch with them to enrol in the weekly support groups.
Role of Online Casinos In Responsible Gambling
Contrary to what many might believe, it is not in casino sites’ best interest to create addictions. It's much better for long term customers to have healthy playing habits. Casinos carry out thorough age and identity verification procedures. The objectives is to prevent minors are involved in gambling; ensure that there are no multiple accounts open by the same person, which is usually done for bonus abuse purposes; and to double-check for possible players with fraud history, which might be symptomatic of gambling addiction.
Online casinos might also run real-time monitoring of their players’ behaviours to flag those who are experiencing problem gambling. This is part of their duty of care to players. What's more trustworthy gaming sites are accredited by an independent gambling regulatory body and will be actively engaged in preventing and fighting gambling addiction.
If you decide to go for real money gambling on a casino site, you will have access to the following helpful tools to ensure responsible gambling:
- Cool Off Periods and Deposit Limits.
Rules for Casino Cool Off
A Cool Off in the casino is a Responsible Gaming tool that allows you to take a break from playing, as it prevents you from logging in to your account.
At most casinos online you can set a Cool Off at any time for a period of 24 hours up to 6 weeks. It can, of course, vary. This is often a completely member-controlled feature, so Customer Support is not able to set or remove one for you.
If you think you might have gambling problems, setting this period is the first step you MUST do in order to minimize risks of potential gambling addiction. Playing slots online should be nothing else but fun!
Standard steps when you set a Cool Off:
- Go to My Account section and click on Responsible Gaming;
- Click on the Cool Off tab;
- Select a time period from the drop-down menu;
- Click Confirm;
- Click Submit button on the next screen to activate your break from online casino.
Once you've clicked Submit, the Cool Off cannot be overridden or removed until the selected time period has passed, so please be sure to select one that you're happy with.
What should I do if I want a longer break?
If you'd like to take a break of more than the max period set by your online casino or you'd like to close the account entirely you'd need to request this from the Customer Support Team.
Setting A Casino Deposit Limit
In good casinos online you have plenty of options for setting a limit to your online gambling.
You can set the following casino deposit limits:
- Weekly or
A Casino Deposit Limit is the maximum that you would be able to deposit during the selected time period, so you can still decide to deposit less if you want to.
Duration of Casino Deposit Limit
A Casino Deposit Limit at an online casino will run continuously unless you choose to change or remove it. The Weekly and Monthly Deposit Limits usually run on a rolling basis starting from the date set. For example, if you set your Weekly Deposit Limit on a Wednesday, it will re-set each Wednesday.
Changing Casino Deposit Limit
You can select a new amount or time period. However, this does not take effect immediately in all situations. Once set, the casino should let you know when the new Limit starts. If you want to change it to a smaller amount, this should go fast.
Changing frequency of Casino Deposit Limit
If you decide to deposit the same amount of money less frequently - want to change the frequency of your online casino deposit limit - then this change takes effect immediately. If you opt to deposit more frequently this takes effect after the current limit ends.
Frequency is taken into consideration even if the overall monetary amount would decrease. For example, if you change from a £300 Monthly Limit to a £100 Daily Limit this will take effect once the current Monthly Limit has ended. Though the amount of money is less overall, it would allow you to increase the regularity of deposits so this is considered to be an increase.
Other Optional Account Limits and Reminders
- Loss Limit: Set a reasonable amount of money you are comfortable losing at any time such that once it is hit, you can't bet again.
- Reality Checks: Setup small pop-ups at your desired frequency to show how long you have been playing.
Protecting Minors from Online Gambling
At Sir Slot, we apply age verification checks on all accounts to ensure all our clients are above the legal age of gambling. The users may not play tournaments or slots on our site if we can not ascertain their age via electronic checks.
Still, we are not blind to the fact that minors can easily access casino games either by accessing the login details of persons above the legal gambling age or by using their parents/guardians' devices.
Here are some helpful tips to help prevent minors from underage gambling:
- Keep your casino login details, including deposit details, usernames, and passwords, out of the reach of your children.
- Do not use auto-fill or save casino passwords on your devices.
- Ensure that any time you leave your device, always log out of your account.
- Have an open dialogue with your minors, ensuring you enlighten them on underage gambling
- Be on the lookout for inbuilt parental controls on your mobile, tablet, or computer that may curb a child's exposure to gambling content.
- Download website blocking software that may block minors from accessing online gambling sites like NetNanny.
The Big Deal is a great resource platform if you want to learn more about gambling or feel underage gambling is an issue in your household. The organisation run by GamCare is envisioned to provide education and specialised support on gambling to minors.
Gambling Blocking Software
Blocking software can easily be downloaded and installed on any computer, tablet, or smartphone. It acts as a block that limits access to online services or websites on the internet.
There are two types of gambling blocking software.
- Gambling-specific blocking software is not intrusive and doesn't interrupt your web browsing habits; instead, it only blocks gambling websites.
- General blocking software allows you to set controls and permissions by blocking an array of websites.
Some internet service providers also have their specific blocking services. Virgin Media, TalkTalk, Sky, and BT allow you to set parental controls. It is essential to consult your service provider to know if they provide blocking services.
Where Can I Find Blocking Software?
It is always advisable to research the internet to establish the best software for your needs. Seek expert and user reviews to find the blocking software that best suits you and your family.
There are numerous blocking software programs, but some require paying to receive special features. This is why it is essential to research all available options.
Some of the most used gambling-specific blocking software programs include:
- netnanny.com would be the best choice for many parents as it is a general blocking program.
Does Blocking Software Work?
A recently commissioned report by GamCare indicated that blocking software effectively restricts access to online gambling. The gambling-specific blocking software was subjected to a test that was determined to prevent access to close to 90% of gambling sites. This effectively shows that blocking software may be your best option if you doubt that anyone in your household has access to online casinos.