In a world where we can get almost anything we want instantly via the Internet, it is easy to get carried away. This is particularly true when it comes to risky habits, most notably: irresponsible gambling. Of course, gambling is not a problem for those among us who play bingo a few nights a month or buy a scratch every now and again, but there are some who could be developing some problematic habits. So how can we gamble responsibly and how do sites ensure players stay safe?
Firstly, everyone who wishes to gamble and play online at casinos and bingo sites must be over the age of eighteen. To ensure their customers are honest about their age, gambling sites will display numerous warnings throughout their sites and will frequently carry out checks. These checks are conducted when a player registers with a casino or bingo site and are accompanied by a check to ensure individuals don’t provide ‘at risk payment methods’. Anyone who breaks either of these laws will be locked out until the site can verify the player’s age.
Online sites also encourage parents to keep an eye on their children, which can be done by setting up parental controls on any device your child uses to access the Internet. You can also apply parental filters to your Internet so certain devices cannot access sites with over eighteen content this, includes gambling sites.
Anyone who is caught gambling whilst underage could be reported to the police and any winnings will be forfeited.
Even if you are over 18, online casinos and online bingo sites can still set restrictions to make sure players are gambling responsibly. Where most players gamble for fun there are some people who will deposit more than they have, which is why many sites give players the option to set deposit limits and loss limits.
Deposit limits give players the choice to cap the amount they’re allowed to put into their accounts. This can be applied to daily deposits, or to weekly or even monthly limits in most cases and guarantees players will never spend more than they can afford.
Meanwhile, loss limits stops players from being able to loss more than they bargained for if they’re on a losing streak. Once you hit the loss limit you’ll no longer be able to lose anymore, which will not only save the customer money but will also discourage players from attempting to win their money back.
A gambling addiction cannot only be financially problematic it can also be time consuming, which is why many sites have applied self-exclusion options. This means that once you set a time – there’s usually a minimum of six months- you’ll be frozen out of your account.
In some cases, you may be able to freeze particular games rather than the entire site, so for instance a player can block poker if they tend to be irresponsible whilst playing it but still play slots.
If a player decides to self-exclude then it is a good idea to also unfollow any related sites you follow on Facebook or Twitter and unsubscribe from mailing lists so they wont be tempted into gambling again.
As with all things in life, gambling is perfectly fine and fun when done in moderation. However, if someone finds themselves playing as an attempt to make money then they are more than likely gambling irresponsibly. Before you register for an online casino or bingo site, ask yourself why you want to play and whether you’re likely to develop any problematic behaviour such as an addiction. Then, as you continue to play, regularly review how you play and why. Ask yourself questions such as: do I gamble to escape reality or is anyone concerned about my gambling? Other warning signs include avoiding your responsibilities in real life or stealing to fund your habit.
If you feel that you may need some help and support with your gambling habits, there are numerous organisations around that can help you.
Firstly, Gamblers Anonymous is a famous support agency that offers help to men and women with gambling issues throughout the nation. You can find out more information at www.gamblersanonymous.org.uk
Alternatively, GamCare offers advice, information and even free councelling to those seeking help with their gambling habits. To get in contact with GamCare, call 0808 8020 133 or visit their website www.gamcare.org.uk
Lastly, Gamble Aware provides help and support to people with various different types of gambling problems, from online casinos to bingo halls. Visit www.gambleaware.co.uk for more information.