Gambling for most is a form of entertainment with the possibility of a win. You place your bet and an almost instant outcome can determine whether you win or lose, depending on the game. Contrary to belief, the venue in which you play at does not control whether you win or lose, instead, a sophisticated piece of software known as a Random Number Generator (RNG) will decide on the gaming outcome. This software is independently tested and cannot be manipulated by the operator nor any player and has been rigorously tested to ensure results are fair at all times.
There is a difference between entertainment in the form of a cinema ticket and entertainment in the form of gambling; the latter sees you placing real money on a bet in the hope of finding a win. It’s the ‘chance’ that makes spinning the slots, placing bets on the roulette wheel or dabbing a bingo ticket seem exciting for many – the uncertainty of a win, so if you expect to win each time you play, you’ll be sorely disappointed!
The vast majority of us who play online casino games (and any other form of gambling), do so responsibly; by this we mean never spending more than we can afford. Safer gambling measures are put in place by all operators – deposit limits, amount of time you can play and the amount you can spend – you just need to implement them. Setting a deposit limit is the very first step to ensure responsible gambling; simply decide on a sum you can comfortably afford to lose.
Top Tips for Safer Gambling
- Never gamble when you’re upset or angry! Emotions of sadness, stress or anger can make it difficult for you to make irrational decisions and this result in you placing silly bets or spending way more than you can afford.
- Alcohol and gambling do not mix! Alcohol will alter your perceptions also and again; you will be placing bets without thinking clearly.
- Never let gambling get in the way of your personal relationships or work commitments.
- Set deposit, time and spend limits – this is super important.
- Never chase money! Unlike traditional land-based slot, online slot machines are a bottom-less pit, which means they can take an unlimited sum of money. Traditional free-standing slot machines in pubs and clubs are designed to pay out once the pot of coins (positioned behind the reels) reaches its peak – online slots are not!
- Do not view gambling as a way of making money – view it as entertainment only!
- If you suspect you or someone you know has a gambling problem, don’t hide your feelings – talk to someone!
How to Recognise You Have a Gambling Problem
- Q: Do You Get Angry When You Lose?
- Q: Do You Find Yourself Missing Work Commitments or Family Events to Gamble?
- Q: Are You Struggling to Manage or Stop Your Gambling?
- Q: Are You Having Arguments with Friends/Family About How Much You’re Spending on Gambling?
- Q: Find You’re Gambling Until All Your Money Has Gone?
- Q: Gambling Larger Amounts for Longer Periods for a Bigger ‘Buzz’?
- Q: Are You Always Thinking About Gambling?
- Q: Do You Lie About Gambling and Hide it from Friends/Family?
- Q: Do You Bet More than You Can Afford to Lose?
If you answered yes to any/all of these, it’s time to get help!
There are many charitable organisations that have been set up over the years to help people who have a gambling addiction/problem. The UK offers the following services:
- The National Gambling Helpline – 0808 8020 133 or free webchat
- Gamblers Anonymous UK
- National Gambling Treatment Service
- Safer Gambling
The EU has its own services too with helplines, help centres, and self-exclusion portals set up from Denmark to Germany and everywhere in between. If you’re unsure of where to turn to, google is the best place to start.
How Can I Stop Gambling?
If gambling is taking over your life (and your money!), you can quit completely! Temptation can be almost unbearable at times, which is why there are measures that take that temptation to gamble away from you. Self-exclusion and timeout are readily available at all online gambling establishments – features allowing you to stop gambling at that specific website for a period that suits you; 24-hours or a year! These features are not great if you have accounts on scores of other gambling websites.
If you’d rather opt-out of gambling altogether, there are organisations that can help, and this is achieved by blocking your IP address from accessing online gambling services. You bank or financial institution can help too with a facility that stops your account being sued for gambling purposes.