How to Gamble Responsibly
Before hitting the slot machines or the poker tables, take a few moments to read these important tips which will teach you how to gamble responsibly. If you’re aware of the things that you should be looking out for, it may help avoid problems in future gaming sessions.
- Always keep in mind that gambling should be fun. It’s a form of entertainment just like going to the movies or having a drink with friends. If this is not the case, and gambling is anything BUT fun, then you are not gambling responsibly.
- Go in with a plan. Jot down or make a mental note how long you intend spending at the online casino and how much you will gambling. Gambling responsibly means sticking to that decision and not spending more time or money – even if you’re having the time of your life, or you’re on a fantastic winning streak. It’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement of an online casino experience but you need to know when to stop.
- Know the rules. Familiarize yourself with the rules of the games that you want to play, the casino that you want to sign up for or the conditions of the bonus that you want to redeem. Knowing the rules is the most responsible thing to do.
- Stay sober. It is definitely not responsible to gamble when you’re under the influence of any type of substance. This goes for alcohol and drugs.
- An online casino is not your escape room. Don’t gamble just to get away from everyday problems. It’s best to tackle your anger, depression, sadness or problems head on, and not try and run away from them at the online casino.
Age Verification at Online Casinos
One of the most responsible things for online casinos to do is to make sure that players who apply to open an account at the site are of legal age. Allowing underage players to access the platform is not only illegal but morally irresponsible.
Online casinos take all the necessary steps to ensure that underage people do not play at the site, using age and identity verification.
Online casinos that are licensed by the best gambling jurisdictions are obliged to verify the age of all players wanting to sign up at the site. Proof of identity at the point of registration tells the player that the site takes its responsible gambling requirements very seriously.
You will be asked to prove your identity by uploading any number of documents. These include copies of identity card, passport, drivers license, utility bill or bank statement.
It is only once your identity has been confirmed by the online casino, can you open an account, transfer funds, play games for real money and request to withdraw your winnings. The online casino has every right to refuse to pay you your winnings if it is found that you lied about your age or identity.
Limiting Your Play at Online Casinos
Licensed and regulated online casinos are expected to have several tools on their platforms to make it easier to promote responsible gambling habits. We have already covered the age verification requirement, which is an important tool. But what happens if you have already signed up to the online casino and you feel that you are developing a gambling problem? What type of tools do you have at your disposal?
The most common is the self-imposed limitations tool. Essentially, this allows you to limit the amount of time you spend at the online casino, ranging from a day or two or a complete self-exclusion.
Online casinos will allow you to set your own limits so that you are able to control how often you play, how much you spend and even if you can play at the site. It is the responsibility of the online casino to not only provide you with this tool, but also to make sure that you stick to these limits.
Setting the length of time to play
The session limit reminder is a common limitation. A pop-up tells you how long you’ve been playing and lets you either log out or continue playing. We all know how caught up in the moment we can get when it comes to the excitement of online casino play. Session limits may be just the type of reminder we need to play responsibly and to take a break.
Setting deposit or spending limits
An online casino may allow you to set a limit as to how much you can spend at the site over a set day, week or month. You won’t be able to spend any more than the limit that has been set. This is a good tool to have since it gives you peace of mind that you won’t gamble away money that you can’t afford to lose. It is difficult to increase or decrease these set limits after they’ve been decided upon (although it is possible), so we suggest that you give the amount careful consideration beforehand.
Online casinos offer you two ways to exclude yourself from the gaming platform. One is a temporary self-exclusion step, while the other is a more permanent one.
- Temporary self-exclusion: For those players who believe that they need to take a step back from their gambling habits and rethink their strategy. You may have spent too much in one month, or you may feel that your gambling is getting a bit out of control. In this case, you can request that the online casino block you from playing for a specific, temporary period. It could be as short as 24 hours or as long as a couple of months – the choice is yours. It’s important to remember, though, that you will not be reinstated before the end of the chosen temporary self-exclusion period and the online casino is obliged to make sure of this – no matter how nicely you ask!
- Permanent self-exclusion: This is the most drastic step that players can take and it’s usually done when all other solutions have been exhausted. In this case, you are essentially asking the online casino to block you from playing on its platform permanently. If you do decide to take this route, don’t forget to withdraw all your funds if you are eligible to do so beforehand, because once you’ve imposed a self-ban at the site, there is no going back.
What Other Steps Can Online Casinos Take to Protect Players?
- Protecting Vulnerable Players: Vulnerable players are considered those to be underaged, but also those that run the risk of developing an addiction or are already addicts. This includes self-exclusion tools, reality check functionalities, a cooling off period before changes are made to accounts and identity checks.
- Checking against Criminal Activities: Gambling sites can use software programs that detect and block money laundering activities and prevent criminal elements from hacking sites and obtaining financial data.
- Protecting the Player’s Privacy: Casinos have strong privacy policies in place to keep players’ data safe. Gamblers’ names, addresses and phone numbers are strongly protected.
- Online Payment Protection: Online casinos use the last word in online software security to make sure that players’ banking transactions are risk-free and well-protected.
- Responsible Marketing Policies: Online casinos must be committed to advertising codes of practice so that vulnerable or underage players are not targeted. In addition, players’ information should not be shared with third parties without express permission.
How to Spot a Gambling Problem
Research done by the National Council on Problem Gambling in the United States, estimates that around 1% of the adult population can be termed ‘pathological gamblers’. Up to 3% of the population has a ‘gambling problem’ and/or may be at risk of developing a gambling addiction.
Let’s first define what a ‘pathological gambler’ is:
- A player who is always preoccupied with gambling experiences and thinking up ways to get money to gamble.
- A player who always feels the need to increase the size of the bets.
- A player who has tried time and time again to stop gambling.
- A player who becomes irritable when trying to cut back on gambling.
- A player who uses gambling as a means to escape everyday problems or to relieve negative feelings.
- A player who chases losses.
- A player who is deceitful about gambling activities.
- A player who commits illegal acts to get money for gambling.
- A player who puts jobs, future opportunities or relationships at risk due to gambling.
- A player who asks for loans to get out of gambling debts.
To understand if you’re at risk to develop a gambling problem, or if you already have one, ask yourself the following questions. The more ‘yes’ answers you have, the more you can identify your gambling problem.
- Have you ever taken off time from work or school, or have you ever missed an important social event, trip to see family or a meet-up with friends because of your gambling activities?
- Have you ever asked friends, family or a bank to loan you money in order to fund your gambling activities?
- Have you ever been driven to steal money to fund your gambling habit?
- Have you ever lied about your gambling habits?
- Have you ever relied on future gambling wins to pay for your rent, education expenses or other important debts?
- Have your friends or family been affected by your gambling?
- Are you ever satisfied with the results of your gambling sessions?
- Do you always feel the need to chase your losses or to play until your entire bankroll has been spent?
- Have you ever gone past the limits that you set for yourself at the casino (how long you intend playing or how much you intend spending)?
- Does gambling cause you stress?
- Do your gambling habits cause sleeplessness, depression or other negative feelings?
How to Reduce Problem Gambling
- Recognize that you have a problem: Half the solution to a gambling problem or addiction is admitting that you have a problem.
- Avoid Temptation: If you have a recognized gambling addiction, you should avoid places and online sites that could trigger a relapse in your self-destructive behavior. Use the tools that are at your disposal at online casinos such as temporary or permanent self-exclusion.
- Find Alternatives: If gambling has become your be-all, then it’s time for a change. Find an alternative to give you that same buzz. Take up a physical activity, spend time with friends or family who don’t gamble, find a new hobby or volunteer.
- Look in the mirror: Do you like who you see? Consider the consequences that your gambling habit is having on your loved ones. Is it causing emotional and financial hardships?
- Get help: Once you’ve recognized that you have a problem, you should seek help from professionals. You aren’t the first and you won’t be the last to have a gambling problem, and there are people who have many years of experience and who are able to help. Check local support groups in your town/city/state/country. Most regions have 24/7 toll-free helplines or internationally recognized organizations such as Gamblers Anonymous. Reputable online casinos also list the contact information for these helplines.
For the vast majority of people, gambling is a pleasant, exciting and entertaining pastime, without any risk whatsoever. Most people know how to balance their time at the casino and leverage their spending. But responsible gambling means being aware of the risks. If you know what to look out for, then the chances of a bad habit turning into an addiction are much smaller. If in doubt, ask a professional. Picking up the phone to ask questions or seek assurance is the responsible thing to do.
In the same vein, responsible gambling also means actively looking for online casinos that mirror your values. A responsible online casino will be licensed and regulated and will have all the features in place to keep you and your information protected from negative elements. The good news is that there are hundreds of trustworthy, safe and secure online casinos that take responsible gambling very seriously. Check out the recommended online casinos on this site and choose the best, safest and most responsible platforms for you.