Millions of people all around the planet now enjoy online gaming whenever it suits them. It is easier than ever before to place a wager, thanks to the abundance of online casinos, poker sites, sports betting operators and other gambling firms on the internet.
Indeed, with the rise of mobile gaming sites, it is now easy to play at any time and anywhere that you go. This means that it is also more important than ever before that responsible gambling is encouraged.
It is something that the casinos need to play a part in, while you also need to take some steps to protect yourself as well. Let’s start by seeing what the casino has to do to look after your welfare.
The Responsibility of Each Online Casino
You will notice that all good casinos now include a lot of information on safe, responsible gambling on their websites. This is part of the requirements that are put in place by the regulatory authorities that issue gaming licenses. Therefore, the exact details of what they have to do will vary from one to another.
For instance, if a casino is licensed by the UK authorities, then they have to give you the chance to use a cooling-off period of anywhere between a day and six weeks. You will be unable to use the site for this period. UK-licensed casinos also need to offer you the chance to self-exclude for a longer period if you want it.
They also need to put information on responsible gambling clearly on their site. This lets you see who you can contact and what you can do if you feel that you are developing some sort of gambling problem.
Naturally, some people are more vulnerable to gambling issues than others. However, it is the responsibility of the entire gambling industry to look after each and every player in this respect.
What the Player Has to Do
No matter how well a casino looks after you, this won’t be of any help if you don’t play your part too. So how can you do this?
There are also a few tips that you should be aware of to ensure that you do the maximum possible to stay well-informed and protected. The main ones are as follows.
- Set yourself a playing budget that you stick to
- Only ever use a properly licensed casino
- Don’t allow anyone under the age of 18 to use your account or access a gambling site in any other way
- Be aware of the self-exclusion option and use it when you feel that it is necessary
- Find out about the organisations and charities that can help you if you feel that your gambling is getting out of control
Let’s look at each of those points in more detail now.
Setting a Playing Budget
It is very easy to keep putting more and more money into an online account, as after a while, it doesn’t even seem like real money. Yet, the consequences of spending more than you should can be devastating. You could very quickly run up debts that you can’t afford to pay off if you lose control.
This is why it is important to consider how much you can afford to lose and then not bet any more than this. After all, playing in any sort of casino is meant to be fun, but betting and losing more than you can afford is certainly not fun at all.
Some casinos let you put a strict limit on how much you can bet, which is a good way of controlling your gambling. You should also think of playing with the smallest possible stakes, as this will let you spread out a modest playing budget over a longer period of time.
Using Properly Licensed Casinos
You shouldn’t simply sign up to the first casino that you come across. Instead, you need to do some research on what it offers and how well it suits you. One of the key issues in this respect is that it has to be properly licensed by a reputable gaming authority.
This ensures that you can feel confident of it being a safe, responsible site. However, this doesn’t mean that you can forget about the other points that are covered here. It is a good starting point, though.
Keeping Children Away from Casinos
Keeping children away from gambling sites is one of the biggest issues faced by the industry just now. It is very easy for youngsters to access games online unless there is a high level of control kept on what sites they visit. This is why companies are told to avoid games that could appeal to children or advertising that is likely to attract them.
You should also play your part by not downloading any casino apps to a mobile device used by anyone who is too young to gamble. Mobile casinos and very convenient and great fun for adults to play on. However, there is a very real danger that kids could get hooked on them very easily without understanding the consequences.
The Self-Exclusion Option
You may decide that you need to take a break from gambling for a while. This is a sensible move if you have been losing more than you can afford to or sense that your gambling is spiralling out of control. This option gives you some breathing space to think about what you have been doing and whether you need to seek help.
A properly licensed casino will make it easy for you to do this. They need to let you self-exclude whenever you want to, so it is really up to you to read the signs and then take the chance to do this.
Understand Who You Can Contact
There are a number of good, useful organisations around that will be happy to hear from you if you ever need some help. Every casino that is licensed in the UK has to collaborate with at least one organisation of this type, while some other regulatory bodies have similar requirements.
Gambling Support Groups
The following are some of the groups that can offer you support if you need it. If you have been suffering from gambling addiction or some other related issue, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with whichever one you prefer to speak to.
- Gamble Aware. Their website address is about.gambleaware.org, and the telephone number for getting in touch is 0808 8020 133
- Game Care. This group have a website at www.gamcare.org.uk, and their number is 0808 8020 133 – 020 7801 7000
- Be Gamble Aware is another option for you to consider. You can visit their website at www.begambleaware.org or phone them at 0808 8020 133
- Gamblers Anonymous can be found at www.gamblersanonymous.org.uk. They encourage people to go along to local meetings and discuss their issues with others who suffer from similar gambling problems.
- If you want to get in touch with Gambling Therapy, then you can do this by visiting the site at www.gamblingtherapy.org and joining their forums and groups.
Debt Advice Groups
You also have some options for who to contact if you end up with debt problems due to gambling. The following organisations will help you to get started.
- Debt Advice Foundation. You can get in touch at www.debtadvicefoundation.org or by phone at 0800 043 40 50
- Debt Support Trust can be found at www.debtsupporttrust.org.uk or by phone at 0800 085 0226.
- Step Change gives online debt advice at www.stepchange.org, as well as over the phone at 0800 138 1111.
- National Debt Line has its website at www.nationaldebtline.org and the phone number to speak to them directly is 0808 808 4000.
Further Support Groups
If you want to speak to a general support group, then a few of the organisations you might like to speak to include the following:
- Counselling Directory. They are online at www.counselling-directory.org.uk and can be contacted by phone at 0333 3447 990.
- Gam-Anon has a site with the following address, gamanon.org.uk. Their email is [email protected]
- Action for Children can be contacted online at www.actionforchildren.org.uk or by phone at 01923 361 500.
Last Resort: Block Gambling Platforms
There are also some places that provide interesting solutions to people who feel that they are struggling with gambling issues.
- GamBlock aims to help by giving you a tool that uses an analytical approach to automatically block gaming sites. Their website is at www.gamblock.com.
- The idea behind Count Me Out is that you add your name to a database to exclude yourself from gambling sites. Find the details of how to get started at www.countmeout.org.uk/gambling/.
You should always remember that visiting an online casino to play some games is meant to be good fun. If it stops being fun, then it is time to do something about it. Don’t leave it until you have serious problems or debts before you seek help.