We’re a gambling site. We’re here to promote gambling. But we’re not here to promote you harming yourself or others by losing control of your gambling.
Responsible gaming is an issue for the online gambling industry, and it’s one that is unlikely to be handled with decent legislation for the moment.
That puts a lot of onus on players to keep themselves safe. With any addiction issue this is far from ideal – ask anyone who’s ever asked an alcoholic or drug addict to limit their self-harm.
It’s possible to gamble for fun and to have a good time and never have a financial or health issue.
And here are 10 ways you can do your bit to keep yourself safe!
1 – Site Self Exclusion
One way to take control of your gambling is to take a break. If that sounds difficult to you that could be a sign that you’re having an issue with gambling. If it sounds frightening or impossible then it is definitely an issue.
You can kick yourself out of a casino site with self-exclusion. This operates both via individual sites and through a service called GameStop that excludes you from a number of sites at once.
Check out the safe gambling or responsible gambling information page on any site you’re using.
2 – Take a breather
Cooling off periods are usually used in-site and are a shorter-term way to take a breath and take a look at what you’re doing.
Online casinos rely on you betting quickly. It’s that speed that helps them make such a lot of money. An online casino can operate much faster than a real-life one, there are even turbo modes on most games and high-speed versions even of live casino games.
Even a 5-minute break can snap you out of a bad cycle. Give it a try.
3 – Financial limits
Pretty much every site will allow you to set financial limits on your play.
This can be a limit on how much you can deposit or withdraw, or a stop on your play after your losses meet a certain threshold.
These can be set for weekly, daily, or monthly limits and how fast they kick in can be an eye-opener.
As these limits apply only on single sites and only at your own discretion they’re a useful tool but not the blunt instrument that some support options offer.
4 – Time Limits
Self-exclusion locks you out of a site when you say you want to be locked out. A timer will kick you out when your time is up.
You can usually set these limits via your account screen on any site you’re losing, and you can set them for daily or session limits. There should be a limit on how quickly you are able to reset or override these, but like cash limits, they’re a limited tool that might be useful but might not be enough for you.
5 – Access limits
You may be able to limit your access to certain parts of a website or to certain games.
This is great if you have particular behaviours that you’re having trouble with. Perhaps you have an OK time when you play live casino games, but then you end up binging on slots if you lose. That’s not healthy, so limiting yourself can be helpful.
6 – Knowing your history
All UK online casino sites should give you an online history of your betting. You should be able to access this online and download it too.
Knowing your history is the best way to keep a tab on how you’re behaving. Keep an eye on your past and maybe you can control your future better.
7 – Keeping the kids out
This isn’t an issue for you, of course, because you, like all our readers, are decent law-abiding citizens who follow our advice and always follow rules.
Age limits on gambling are among the best-policed areas of the industry, and you can take advantage of that to a degree if you use a cyber nanny programme to control internet action. As well as keeping real kids away from over-18 sites you can also use it to lock yourself out.
Gam Block is a specific gambling blocker and there are other software tools you can use too.
8 – Assess yourself
Self-knowledge is the best way to get a grip on any programme. You need to be honest with yourself and that is notoriously difficult for people having trouble with compulsive or addicting behaviours.
There are good guides for checking your behaviour:
- Don’t use gambling to avoid difficult decisions, moods, confrontations or life situations.
- Do take action if you often run out of money when gambling and if that makes you feel desperate or sad.
- Do take action if you’re ever spending money on gambling that you should be using for living expenses.
- Ask yourself if you hide your gambling behaviour from others or feel uncomfortable about being asked about it.
- If you’re chasing loses. Stop.
- If you’re feeling down or depressed seek help immediately.
- If you worry about when or if you’ll be able to bet next or the thought of never gambling again scares you then you should talk to someone.
9 – Keeping a note
Monitor your spending and set written limits for yourself, ideally enforced in some way, before you start to play. Use a deposit limit and planning to make sure you bet only when it’s fun for you and on things you want to play: half on slots, half on live casino with a hard limit on it.
10 – Buffer zones
Using e-wallets or prepaid cards can put a buffer between you and limitless overdrafts from your bank accounts.
PayPal and Skrill for example – other e-wallets are available – are buffer zones to an extent, though if you link your bank account they can dip straight into it. Prepaid cards can be an ever harder limit on online spending. They often have good security too and can be safer than using a bank account.