It may seem as if casinos are only after one thing - your money to an inexperienced observer. Still, truth is told, there has been a great movement within the gaming industry to help punters place their bets safely and responsibly. Even though gambling has been a favorite pastime ever since the dawn of humankind, it is only now, in the 21st century, that the industry, gaming regulators, and the consumers took a common stand and decided to spread awareness on responsible gambling. But what is responsible for gambling? How does one achieve to gamble safely and keep doing it in the long run?
Responsible gambling is a set of initiatives that help prevent gambling addiction, also known as ludomania. Ludomania is a form of compulsive behavior related to gambling, triggered by the production of dopamine, serotonin, and adrenaline that give you a “high.” Unlike some other types of addiction, ludomania is completely psychological. You are not addicted to a substance (alcohol, heroin, LSD) but to feel that amazing rush of hormones that make you feel more powerful than ever. Certain objective factors contribute to developing gambling problems and failing to gamble safely. First and foremost - sex. Men are more prone to risky behavior such as gambling, tend to be more competitive, and engage in this pastime at a younger age. Also, younger people, in general, tend to develop problem gambling more frequently than older punters. This type of addiction is often present with people who already have a history of substance abuse or psychiatric history. However, it is important to say how everyone can develop a gambling problem, regardless of their sex, age, and financial status. Some of the main elements of responsible gambling include self-assessment, setting playing limits, recognizing problematic gambling behavior, setting monetary limits, and learning self-control. But as always, the theory is one thing and practice another, so it can be much harder to gamble safely than it seems. Still, more than a few tips and tricks can help you find the perfect balance between acting responsibly and having fun.
Now, there is more than one reason to play only on safe, renowned, reputable, and secure gaming sites. Still, in this case, it is relevant because regulated online establishments have to follow all regulatory framework regarding safe and responsible gambling. What does this exactly mean for you as a punter? For instance, some gaming authorities and gambling auditors in the UK suggest that all software providers have to equip their games with features that encourage users to gamble safely. Some of the recommended innovations allow playing only a single title at a time, slower spin speed, lower maximum bets, etc. Furthermore, some licenses guarantee that once the withdrawal is requested, it can not be reversed. That way, more time passes before you can use the winnings to play again, thus reducing the chances the player will be carried by emotions and spend more than planned. Regulated online casinos will usually inform players on all the safe gambling possibilities immediately after registration. They will encourage you to set your spending limits before you even place the first bet.
After winning significant amounts one or two times (especially if in a row), it is easy to feel like Don Johnson “A Guy Who Broke Atlantic City” who won nearly $6 million in a single casino. But let’s face it, no matter what you do and how much you win, you are probably not winning as much as Johnson. Therefore, gambling should always be just a fun and lucrative hobby that keeps you entertained and not frustrated. So, if you win - great, and if not - better luck next time. Always keep your daily job, no matter how much you are winning, and make sure utility bills, rent, and mortgage are paid on time. Buy everything you need for your family and cover daily living costs, and the leftover allowance can be spent on your favorite games. Even though it might seem how you are making more money while gambling than you do, let’s say teaching teens math, repairing cars, writing code, gambling is not, never has been, and never should be considered a reliable source of income.
This tip can be considered an addition to the previous two - to gamble safely, set daily, weekly or monthly budgets, and stick to them. That way, you will keep your habit under control and have enough money to live without financial burdens in the form of gambling debts that are quite common among problem gamblers. One of the easiest ways to stay safe is to transfer a certain amount to your e-wallet and deposit from there, simply because, unlike when using a credit card, you can’t spend more than planned. In that case, if you want to deposit more, you will first have to top up the e-wallet (and probably even pay a small fee), transfer money, wait for the transaction to settle, and, to be honest, this entire thing can take some time. Of course, those punters who play at brick-and-mortar venues probably won’t use e-wallets to make transactions. Simply focus on having only as much cash as you are willing to spend on chips. If you have to go to the ATM to get more cash and buy more chips, there's a big chance you’ll give up and go home. This might sound like silly and pretty basic advice but keep in mind many adults sometimes act like kids in a candy store and will spend everything they have just to get that little boost of adrenaline.
Regulated casino sites will always offer a handful of tools and limits you can use to gamble safely. For instance, there are daily, weekly, and monthly deposit limits and a stop-loss feature. The main premise of stop-loss is that, once you reach a certain amount in losses, the platform will simply block you from playing for a limited period of time, but not because the casino is a scam that wants to prevent you from returning what you lost, but because it understands you are upset and need to take a break. Some platforms have custom-made timers and clocks that warn you that your gambling session is becoming too long and acting irresponsibly. Most casinos will offer you self-exclusion as well. This means that you willingly ask the company to prevent you from gambling on its platform. In that case, the company will pay you whatever is left on your balance, delete your account, and prevent you from gambling with them in the future. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t sign up with other operators but considering a solid online casino can be hard to find; it is one step towards being responsible with your own gaming habits.
Sometimes, our actions and our thoughts can be incomplete dissonance. We may believe we are acting responsibly when we, in fact, don’t gamble safely at all, and the worst thing about any type of addiction or problematic behavior is that everyone believes it happens to someone else. Try to stay objective and honest because, in the end, you are only lying to yourself. Reevaluate your behavior, decisions, tactics, habits, and the amount of time you spend at your favorite online casino. Here are some of the questions one should think about when determining whether they are on the right path or not:
If introspective and self-assessment aren’t your thing, some specialized organizations and hotlines can help you make the judgment.
Realizing you have a problem is already an important step towards recovery. First and foremost, find a support system. It can be a family member, a friend, or a professional organization specializing in helping its users gamble safely. Make sure to activate self-exclusion on all active gambling accounts at your casinos and sports betting sites. Be honest to yourself and people around you, seek professional help, understand you are not the first person experiencing this and that there is a safe way back. Also, avoid situations that trigger your reckless behavior and stay focused and dedicated to your new lifestyle.