Gambling in its different forms is a hobby for many. It represents a great way to get rid of the stress, experience some excitement, and potentially even big a significant amount of money. So, it’s hardly a surprise that so many people are attracted to online and brick and mortar casinos.
Because of the popularity of these games, the importance of responsible gambling can never be overstated. Gaming is only fun for as long as you’re able to keep it fully under control and play responsibly and within your means. Once that point is crossed, it can become a serious problem.
Although responsible gambling has been much more in focus in recent years, it’s still not given all the attention it deserves.
It’s not always easy to figure out where that line between responsible gaming and problem gambling is. Players aren’t always honest with themselves, and it’s not easy to admit to yourself or others that you might have a problem.
Unlike other addictions, problem gambling can often go on for years undetected. People live their lives, work their jobs, and act as if everything is normal until the problem becomes so big that tackling it represents a huge challenge.
This is another reason why the discussion about gambling responsibly deserves much more space in the media. It’s essential to learn how to recognize early signs of gambling problems and for the players to see how to play responsibly and keep their gaming habits under control.
This article will give you some hands-on tips and advice on playing responsibly and safely enjoying gambling. There is nothing wrong with gambling for fun as long as you know your limits and know when to stop.
Never gamble with money you don’t have.
One of the most important tips on responsible gambling is to never play with money you don’t have.
Under no circumstances should you borrow money or max out your credit cards to get more cash on your hands for playing. This can only create additional problems.
Don’t chase your losses.
By definition, gambling is a losing proposition. While you’ll win occasionally, you’ll end up losing much more often since this is the nature of these games.
You should never chase your losses as that can lead to bigger and bigger financial problems.
Treat gambling as entertainment.
Gambling is just another form of entertainment, and that’s how you should look at it. The money you put on the line is the money you pay for that entertainment.
Don’t go into a casino expecting to win. Set aside the amount of money you can afford and treat it as an entertainment expense rather than a loss.
Don’t bring too much cash with you.
You may think you’re fully in control and that you won’t go over your limits, but in the heat of the “battle,” caution often goes out of the window.
If you’re going to a casino, only bring the amount you can afford to lose. When that money is gone, so are you.
Always set deposit limits.
If you prefer to play online, setting deposit limits is the equivalent of the above tip. Most casinos that care about responsible gambling will let you set daily, weekly, and monthly deposit limits. Set these in accordance with your gambling funds and stick to it.
Stick to one or two online casinos.
Setting deposit limits won’t do you much good if you have ten different casino accounts, as you’ll be able to max out limits across many different sites, resulting in you losing much more than you had planned. Find one or two casinos you like and stick to them.
Always stay sober when gambling.
It’s fine to have a couple of beers or a glass of wine while enjoying your time at a casino or at home in front of your computer. However, drinking excessively while gambling will lower your inhibitions and lead to irrational decisions. Gambling and drinking don’t mix well.
Set session duration limits.
Another handy responsible gambling tool that many sites offer these days is the session timer. You can limit your sessions' duration, and you should definitely do this if you feel like you’re struggling to stop playing. This will help prevent many unwanted losses from happening.
Set loss limits ahead of time.
Many players don’t like setting the loss limit because they feel like that will prevent them from getting back their money during a session. In reality, having a loss limit in place will stop you from losing money you can’t afford to lose in an attempt to chase your losses.
Take a break from gambling now and then.
To keep your gaming habits under control and play responsibly, you’ll need to take breaks from gambling. You mustn’t allow it to become an obsession or a reason you start neglecting other things like your family or your job. Most live, and online casinos will let you exclude yourself for a period of time if that’s what it takes.
Don’t rely on gambling to resolve your financial problems.
In life, we sometimes face a financial problem that we don’t know how to tackle. In these situations, gambling might seem to you as the only viable alternative to quickly acquire the needed money.
However, trying to gamble your way out of financial problems will usually create new ones, so this is not a strategy you should follow.
Don’t gamble to run away from problems.
If you’re gambling to hide from or forget about other problems in your life, you might have a serious problem. It’s very hard to gamble responsibly when you’re in this state of mind, and even when you’re winning, you will not want to stop because you just don’t want to stop playing.
Know your odds for different games.
While the house always wins in the long run, a part of the responsible gaming strategy is looking for the games with the best odds and payout chances. The more you know, the better your odds of having a winning session.
One of the toughest challenges when it comes to responsible gambling is recognizing and admitting you might have a problem. This is largely due to the societal stigma attached to gambling, which leads to many people hiding their problems in shame for as long as they can.
The first thing you should understand is that there is no shame in having a problem. Everyone has problems, and there are worse things in life than having a gambling addiction. You just need to recognize and tackle it as early as possible.
If you’re wondering about whether you might have a problem or not, this is the first sign that you probably do. People who only gamble occasionally and just for fun don’t have concerns about their gaming habits.
The most important thing is to be really honest with yourself. Remember, you’re doing this for your own good, and there is no one judging.
For example, suppose you’ve been struggling to meet your financial obligations lately but still find yourself playing casino games and can’t really figure out what happened with the money. In that case, you’re probably struggling with responsible gambling and might have a problem.
It’s quite common for someone who frequents a casino to try and rationalize and minimize their losses. But, if there is no money in your pockets or your bank account and you know you didn’t spend it elsewhere, it’s likely that the casino has it.
If you have a gambling problem, the odds are that you’ve been spending a lot of time in casinos, whether virtual or brick and mortar ones. Think back about recent times and, once again, be honest to yourself. If this is the case, you’ll know it.
Have you been struggling financially lately?
One of the clearest signs that you probably have a gambling problem is money issues. When you start playing excessively, you’ll start running into problems you haven’t had before: not paying your bills on time, missing your rent, etc.
Have you been spending inordinate amounts of time gambling?
If you’ve been visiting a casino almost every day to try your luck, you might have a gambling problem. Ask yourself why you need to play so much and realize that the more time you spend playing, the more money it will cost you.
Do you spend more in a casino than you have originally planned?
When you go to play and have a planned budget in place, how often do you go over your limit to recoup your losses? If this happens often, you’re not really adhering to responsible gambling strategies.
Do you struggle to leave a game because of feeling to win?
If you find it hard to leave a slot or a table after losing the money you had planned for that session because you feel you’re due a win, you probably have a gambling problem.
Have you been borrowing money from friends just to be able to gamble?
We all need some help here and there, and there is no shame in borrowing money from friends. However, if you borrow just to keep gambling, it’s a big red flag.
When not playing, do you often think about your next casino visit?
Are you always preoccupied with gambling thoughts, thinking about your next visit and what game you’ll try next? If yes, this is a signal that your responsible gambling strategies aren’t working.
Have you ever gambled away the last of your money?
If you are prepared to gamble your last money and walk out of a casino not knowing if you’ll be able to afford food tomorrow, this is not responsible gambling. You most likely have a problem.
Have you lost interest in other activities because all you can think about is gambling?
Gambling has a strange way of taking over your life. If you gamble excessively, you might lose interest in other activities, becoming depressed and withdrawn, which is also a clear indication that something is wrong.
Have you been avoiding people close to you because they might disrupt your gambling plans?
Similarly, you might be avoiding friends because they might invite you to do something, which will prevent you from realizing your gambling plans for the day.
Are you chasing that one big win to finally quit playing?
One of the big red flags of problem gambling is chasing that one big win to get you “back to even” so you could stop. It’s very unlikely to happen, and even if it did, you probably wouldn’t stop.
People who struggle to play responsibly and have gaming problems can often fly under the radar for a long time. Problem gambling is easier to hide than many other addictions, so even those closest to the persons exhibiting these behaviors often remain unaware of the issue for many years.
It can influence a person’s life on many personal and professional levels.
On a personal level, a person with gambling problems will often become distant and depressed, avoiding contact with friends and family because they feel ashamed and don’t want to face the issue. They’ll borrow money from those closest to them under false pretenses and then makeup lies and even false accusations to avoid paying back.
Gambling can also influence your career. You’ll spend too much time in a casino, neglecting your professional obligations. Even when you’re working, your mind will be elsewhere, and you’ll be thinking about a casino. As a result, your job performance will suffer, and this will eventually create additional problems.
Although it’s not a very popular topic, problem gambling can cause severe depression and lead people to do things they’d never think of doing otherwise: lie, cheat, and steal, even from those they care about the most.
For someone with a serious gaming problem, quitting isn’t as easy as one might think. Even if they wanted to gamble responsibly, this is virtually impossible once they develop certain unhealthy habits that get progressively worse with time.
So, the first step in the process is to stop playing entirely for a while, and for good if necessary.
Modern online casinos adhere to serious responsible gambling guidelines and provide players with the tools to help them along on the path of getting their life under control. If you feel like you’re struggling, you should definitely check these tools out.
Most casinos will give you a chance to set a cooling-off period. This is a great tool for those who aren’t exactly problem gamblers but have a hard time keeping their impulses under control. For example, if you win big and you’re afraid you’ll give it all back, you can trigger a cooling-off period (usually up to a week) to protect your wins.
Self-exclusion is a more serious step. This is a measure intended for those with serious gaming issues, and it will completely block you from accessing the casino for a longer time.
If you really feel like you are not in control, you can self-exclude indefinitely, in which case your account will be frozen, and you won’t be able to access it for a minimum of three years.
No matter how hard you might want to change your ways and stop, sometimes it’s just not enough. Problem gambling is a real issue recognized in many countries worldwide, and it’s often not a problem you can handle on your own.
Luckily, there are many organizations dedicated to responsible gambling and helping gambling addicts, and they’ll all provide their assistance free of charge.
So, if all your efforts so far have failed and you can’t seem to change things on your own, don’t be afraid to reach out to one of these organizations.
Responsible Gambling Council(https://www.responsiblegambling.org)
A Canada-based non-profit responsible gambling organization offering their assistance to problem gamblers free of charge.
The largest and the best-known organization dedicated to helping those struggling to overcome gambling addiction, offering useful tips, advice, and guidance.
GamCare is a UK-based charitable company dedicated to responsible gambling and providing free help, assistance, and advice to people from all over the world.
The organization focuses on providing practical advice and strategies for those struggling to keep their gambling under control and offering emotional support.
National Council on Problem Gambling(https://www.ncpgambling.org)
NCPG offers advice and assistance for individuals and families affected by problem gambling and participates in developing programs to tackle the issue better.
Gambling Help Online(https://www.gamblinghelponline.org.au)
Gambling Help Online provides help for everyone affected by gambling in any way, offering their services free of charge and guaranteeing full anonymity of their users.
There are many things you can do to gamble responsibly. Some of the most important ones include always playing within your limits, never borrowing money to gamble, and never chasing your losses. This will help you stay in control and seriously limit your gambling losses and related problems.
Responsible gambling is an idea that you should treat gambling as entertainment only and not see it as a way to solve your financial problems or get ahead in life.
Good examples of responsible gambling are setting up strict spending limits, not playing for too long, and staying away from casino games when you’re not sober or when you’re emotionally unstable for whatever reason.
You will always lose money gambling in the long run as the house has a mathematical edge. If you lose every time you play, though, it could mean that you tend to play for too long or struggle to quit when ahead. The longer you play, the better the odds you’ll end up losing.
While it’s not easy, some tools can help you stop gambling. You can set up cooling-off periods on the casinos you frequent or even use the self-exclusion option to prevent yourself from playing for a longer period of time.
You can offer emotional support and not judge them for their problem. However, there is only so much you can do, and if someone you know has a gambling problem, you should advise them to seek professional help.
You surely won’t help someone with a gambling addiction is by giving them more money to gamble with, so never make this mistake.
The first step in the process is recognizing and admitting the problem. Beyond that, though, it’s a tough struggle. You can try to change your habits and avoid casinos, self-exclude, and try not to have access to much money at any one time. This is a good start.
To completely stop a gambling addiction, you’ll probably need professional help. If you’ve already developed a serious gambling problem, you probably won’t be able to handle it completely on your own.
Don’t be shy to ask for help from friends and family, but most importantly, be prepared to turn to professional organizations working in this field.
Dealing with a gambling addiction isn’t easy. Like any other addiction, it’s a new struggle every day. You have to stay strong and always remind yourself about why you stopped in the first place and why gambling is bad for you.
Having someone you can talk to whenever the urge comes is also very beneficial. It’s a long and difficult process, but it’s the one worth going through as it will help improve your life significantly.
With access to gambling being easier than ever before, the issue of responsible gambling has never been more important. Governments, health professionals, and gambling operators need to all come together and give problem gambling the attention it deserves.
As for the players, it’s important to stay alert and cautious. Detecting early signs of problem gambling can make all the difference in the world. If tackled in time, this issue can be resolved much more successfully.
In the end, there is nothing wrong with gambling for fun and excitement. There is nothing wrong with dreaming about big wins. However, when your play gets out of hand and starts adversely influencing other areas of your life, it’s time to step back and pull the plug!