For the vast majority of people, gambling is fun and considered a form of entertainment. Wagering money one can afford to lose and hopefully cashing in big-time; that’s the thrill of gambling. However, a small percentage of players lose control over their gambling habits in the process and suffer from gambling addiction in the most severe cases.
Gambling addiction can come in various shapes and forms, which makes it hard to spot at times. All licensed online casinos provide their players with tools to manage their gambling, but it’s essential to self-recognise potential problems.
We’ve put together this quick guide to help players spot early signs of gambling addiction and tips on preventing it in the first place.
How to Gamble Responsibly
Responsible gambling does not mean to either gamble or not at all; it’s not like smoking. Instead, it means setting limits to make sure that gambling remains a hobby and fun rather than a must-do activity. Here is what to pay attention to when gambling online and offline.
The first indicator for arising gambling addiction is the time spend gambling per day.
- Do you frequently exceed the time you initially set yourself to play casino games?
- Do you skip meet-ups with family or friends due to gambling?
- Do you stay up late or wake early to spin the reels a few more times?
If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of the questions above, you might be at risk of developing a gambling addiction. Try and set yourself daily time limits and stick to them. If you exceed these limits frequently, it is time to contact your national helpline and seek professional advice.
In investing, there is a famous saying that goes like this:
“Never invest more than you can afford to lose.”
This couldn’t be more true for gambling as well. Online slots and all other casino games (except Poker) are luck-based games. It means that whether you win is entirely out of your control.
- Do you think that you can predict the next big win at a slot machine? You can’t!
- Are you using the Martingale strategy to succeed at the Roulette table? Don’t! It doesn’t work.
- Are you counting cards in Blackjack? Don’t! It’s illegal and online; it doesn’t even work.
Instead of trying banking on the next win, you should focus on bankroll management. Set yourself daily, weekly or monthly spending limits, and separate your funds for gambling and all other overheads such as rent or utility bills. It will help you to stay on top of your finances and know exactly how much you have been spending.
Also, if you find yourself on a losing streak, do not continue placing bets to win your losses back. Instead, take time off, cool down, and give it another shot a little later.
You might hit the point where you have tried various ways to control your gambling habits, and none of them seems to work. It might be time to self-exclude yourself from playing at online casinos.
Self-exclusion is a tool that lets you block yourself from depositing at online casinos in your region. Once you decided to self-exclude, your name is added to a global block list. Every casino you try to enter will check your credentials against that list and if the match is positive, deny you access.
When excluding yourself from online casinos, you can usually choose a time period, e.g. three, six or twelve months, during which you are blocked from accessing operator sites. Please remember that your account won’t be automatically reinstated once this period has passed, but instead, you will have to contact the casino to get yourself unblocked.
Helplines and Other Organisations
Each country has their own helplines and organisations that support you with every step of your gambling addiction. Below, we have put together a list of contact numbers for Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and the United States. If you are accessing our website from a country outside this list, please get in touch with us, and we might still assist you.