Online gambling should always be fun and entertaining. The vast majority of players enjoy playing at online casinos every so often and because they do so responsibly, it never causes any problems for them. However, gambling can become problematic for some players. Many become addicted because they chase the high that comes from winning and they want to win more and more money. With online casinos readily accessible on home computers and mobiles, it’s easier than ever to keep on playing and eventually develop a gambling problem. Thankfully, there’s a whole lot of help available, with the gambling industry as a whole always keen to promote responsible gambling.
What Is Responsible Gambling?
The term ‘responsible gambling’ simply refers to the act of gambling in a responsible way. This involves staying in control, appreciating your limits and knowing when to stop; it’s also about practising moderation and not spending too much time or money playing. If you gamble responsibly when playing at online casinos, you shouldn’t have any problems, nor should there be any negative consequences you experience.
The UK Gambling Commission
All online casinos require a licence to operate legally. Having a licence means a casino has been checked over by an independent regulatory authority and has been given the approval to operate. In the UK, the authority that hands out licences is the UK Gambling Commission, which was set up as part of the Gambling Act of 2005. Not only does it regulate casinos, it also offers protection to players by ensuring casinos are safe, fair and honest. One of its ongoing aims is to promote responsible gambling and reduce problem gambling as much as possible.
Since the Gambling Act of 2014 came into effect, all casino operators looking to target the UK market have to be licensed by the UK Gambling Commission. To acquire a licence, they have to meet a number of requirements, which include:
– Following the commission’s regulations
– Restricting access to underage people
– Preventing vulnerable people from experiencing negative side-effects of gambling
– Offering acceptable forms of help to those who need it
– Using technology and software that meets the commission’s standards
– Providing adequate resources and tools to help those with gambling problems
The vast majority of online casinos that are licensed by the UK Gambling Commission stick to the requirements. Some go above and beyond these, coming up with even more ways they can help tackle problem gambling.
Do You Have A Problem?
The thing is, it’s possible to have a gambling problem without actually realising it. Many online casinos offer a series of questions you can ask yourself to determine whether you have a problem or not. Most of the time, they’re simple yes/no questions. The more questions you answer ‘yes’ to, the more likely it is that you have some kind of problem. Examples of these questions are given below:
– Do you use online casinos to escape daily life?
– Do you visit casinos following negative experiences such as arguments?
– Do you feel negative emotions (sadness, despair etc.) when you stop gambling?
– Do you chase your losses?
– Do you avoid other activities so you can spend more time gambling?
– Do you spend money set aside for important things (bills etc.) on gambling?
– Do you lie to friends and family about your online casino activity?
– Do you feel compelled to gamble regularly?
– Have you tried to reduce your gambling in the past, but failed?
– Have you noticed any changes in yourself since you started gambling?
– Are any of your relationships being affected by your gambling?
– Are you experiencing money problems because of your gambling?
What To Do If You Think You Have A Problem
If you think your gambling activity’s becoming a problem for you in any way, the first thing to do is to admit to yourself it’s a problem. Next, you should simply try to reduce your gambling or even quit altogether. Try lowering your deposits and limiting the amount of time you spend at casinos – you could even reduce the amount of time you spend online altogether. Online casinos have a range of tools that can help with this (more info on this below). If you can quit and you’re not tempted to play again, great.
Should you feel that you can’t solve your problem on your own, the good news is that there’s plenty of help readily available. There are several gambling charities that work with people experiencing all sorts of gambling-related problems and offer them all the advice and support they need.
It’s important that you don’t feel embarrassed or guilty about a problem you may have. People from all walks of life can become addicted to gambling. The people at charities who you may speak to aren’t judgemental at all and want nothing more than to help you and set things right for you.
Tools Available At Online Casinos
Many people think that online casinos are all about making money. While it’s true that they do have to generate an income, they also have their players’ best interests in mind. They want people to play their games and have fun; they don’t want people to become addicted and get into problems, even if it means they’re spending more money than usual. To help players who think they may have a gambling problem, casinos offer a range of tools. These are designed to limit the amount of time and money players spend at a casino. Some examples are given below:
– Deposit Limits. Set up a limit for how much money you’re allowed to deposit over a set amount of time (i.e. a week or month). Once you hit this limit, you can’t deposit any more money into your account until the time period’s over.
– Loss Limits. This works in the same way as the deposit limit tool. Set up a limit for how much money you can lose over a set amount of time. Hit this limit and the casino won’t let you play with real money until the time period’s over.
– Reality Checks. These are prompts that remind you how long you’ve been gambling for and encourage you to take a break.
– Time Restrictions. With these, you can limit how long you can play at a casino for in a single session. You can limit how long you spend at a casino each day.
– Self-Exclusion. With this option, you’re effectively blocking yourself from the casino. Go for this and you won’t be able to visit the casino, let alone play there, for weeks, months or even years.
– Cooling Off. This is similar to self-exclusion, but it allows you to return to the casino after a shorter amount of time has passed. You can ‘cool off’ for anything from a few minutes to several days or longer.
Gambling with real money can be a lot of fun. For a small percentage of players, however, it can become a problem. The good news is that online casinos offer more than enough help. If you think gambling’s becoming problematic for you, make use of a casino’s resources and tools. Each casino has a section page called ‘Responsible Gambling’ (or something similar) that outlines what it does to promote responsible gambling, along with links to gambling charities. Visit this page and hopefully you’ll get all the help you need. Remember that you’re not alone and that help is always available.
Links To Gambling Charities
GamCare – www.gamcare.org.uk – 0808 8020 133
BeGambleAware – www.begambleaware.org – 0808 8020 133
National Problem Gambling Clinic – www.cnwl.nhs.uk – 0800 0234 650
Gamblers Anonymous – www.gamblersanonymous.org
Gambling Therapy – www.gamblingtherapy.org