Are You Being Groomed by Your Online Casino?
You’re meant to have fun when you gamble. Playing at an online casino shouldn’t affect your life or your finances in a bad way. The money you spend gambling should come from your disposable income; think of the money as an entertainment cost. Just as you’d happily spend £20 on a cinema ticket or £60 on a meal out without expecting anything back (except a fun time), you should feel the same way about your gambling budget. In other words, NEVER look at it as money that will go back in your wallet. Winning is only ever a happy bonus.
Unfortunately, some of us will develop a gambling problem and spend too much money and time gambling. As a result, our lives can become seriously rubbish. People develop gambling problems for all sorts of reasons, but sometimes the casinos make it much worse. You need to be able to spot when the casinos are playing you because this will help you to avoid falling into their traps.
We are lucky to have UK online casinos because our government has put a lot in place to stop them from taking advantage of us as much as they could if they were allowed a free reign. Plus, more rules are coming that will give us even more protection.
But if you use an online casino outside of the UK’s jurisdiction, you might have less protection. This article is a good one to read if you use non-UK casinos because I’m going to explain how they groom you into spending money you can’t afford. If you know the tricks, you’ll be in a better position to protect yourself from them.
Does Your Online Casino Give You VIP Privileges?
I’ve been on the internet a long time now – you probably have too – so we know that these so-called VIP packages aren’t all they’ve cracked up to be. To start it might make you feel special, “Ooooo, I’m a VIP!”, but you need to know that it’s often just a way to get you to spend money. Some VIP packages are fine, just make sure that you know which features are problematic:
These bonuses make you think you’re getting free money, but you don’t get anything for free. These cash bonuses make you spend more money longterm. As long as you know how to use cash bonuses properly (i.e., don’t let them influence your bank balance negatively).
Has your online casino given you tickets for a West End show, a football match, boxing match? Oh, these “free” tickets will make you feel special as heck.
They make you feel extremely positive about the online casino. What happens then? You keep playing with them, of course.
It’s clever marketing. They’ll only direct these sort of offers at people they think will spend a lot of money. If you’re getting offers of this type, and you aren’t well off, you need to question if they’re taking advantage of a tendency you might have towards impulsive gambling.
If you’re getting personal phone calls and emails from managers and higher-ups, then there’s a high chance you’re a big spender and they’re looking for you to spend more. They’re engaging the personal touch because they want you to stay and spend.
A good rule of thumb before you cash in on any VIP feature is to ask yourself a question: “Am I spending money I wouldn’t have otherwise spent?” If the answer is “Yes”, don’t accept the offer. Don’t forget to think about longterm extra spending here – you might not be overspending because of the bonus today, but what about over the course of a month or two.
Have You Noticed Any Targeted Ads from Your Online Casino?
Back in January, we reported on a scandal within the gambling industry where some casinos were using targeted ads to find gambling addicts online and send them adverts for casino bonuses and promotions. For example, if you were to type “Help for gambling” into Google, you might be shown an advert for a current promotion for an online casino.
This is a terrible thing to do. It’s like throwing a packet of cigarettes at someone who’s trying to quit smoking. Hopefully, now that you’re aware of it, you can avoid it. A great thing to do is to download an ad blocker for your browser. This will stop those types of adverts getting through.
Are You Being Groomed?
The best way to find out is to set and stick to a gambling budget. If you notice yourself going over budget, then you know something is leading you astray. You might not be able to work out why you’re being led astray, but if you’ve noticed yourself falling for ads or signing up for more bonuses and you’re over budget, it’s time to act.
Here’s one of our articles with some helpful pointers for problem gamblers.