Responsible Gambling: Stop Playing When The Fun Stops
Let’s start with some home truths: Playing online casino games for real money actually has very little to do with winning real money. Online casino gambling is designed to give you thrills and, quite simply, be a convenient and enjoyable form of interactive entertainment. Most people who play in online casinos will spend around $10- $20 a night and then stop. Not too pricey for a whole evening’s entertainment!
But like most good things in life, without self-control and moderation, the game can turn from a fun pastime into a destructive force that can impact a person’s whole life.
Here at Pokies365 we promote responsible online gambling. It’s fun, beneficial and can provide years of interactive entertainment. But we are also here to support and help the small, but important, minority of gamblers who might succumb to the seductive flipside to playing the odds.
Read on for tips on how to gamble responsibly, identify the warning signs of a compulsive gambling addiction and who to turn to should you or your loved one need help to stop gambling.
Betting has been a prolific form of entertainment since prehistoric times, but that doesn’t mean it’s entirely harmless. Placing bets on a game or a sport means that even if you’re not the player, you’re vested in the game. On the upside, it makes the game more interesting and interactive. It can help connect players with like-minded communities and studies have shown playing games ‘seriously’ can improve social, psychological, mathematics and problem solving skills.
But you only get these benefits if you maintain moderation. When an interest in gambling turns into an addiction, it can cause serious harm. Gambling addiction, at best, can cause those afflicted to bet more money than they can afford and leave them in debt, destitute or in need of monetary assistance. At its worst, a gambling addiction can change a person’s character and personality, change their priorities, cause them to make life choices they would otherwise avoid and disconnect them from reality and their community.
A gambling addiction taps into a person’s primal fight or flight instincts. That’s why in most cases, problem gamblers will either not see or will ignore the warning signs of a growing addiction until it’s too late.
Tips To Prevent Gambling Addiction
We’ve all heard the stories of gambling addicts who’ve bet away their house, their car or left their family with no money to pay the bills and groceries. Some have lost their families, their jobs, the trust of their family and friends or even committed suicide. What very few people realise is that once it gets to this stage, the addict is already deep inside the desperate spiral of their addiction and will suffer the effects of long term financial and psychological damage for many years to come.
As in most health related issues, the best treatment for a gambling addiction is prevention. As any avid gamer or player knows, there are hundreds of tricks to make sure the game stays fun, but below you’ll find some of the more tried and true tips our long term players swear by:
- Set an affordable bank roll limit for an evening’s entertainment and stick to it. When you’re bank roll’s finished, you are too.
- Set up a deposit method that isn’t linked to your main bank account and/ or that isn’t instant. That way your bankroll has to be predetermined and you can’t touch the rest of your real life savings whether you’re on a roll or on a losing streak.
- When you’re on a losing streak, take a break. It’s too easy to convince yourself you can ‘win it back.’ Whether you can or can’t, it’s not fun to play that way and fun is the main point of playing online games.
- Set up a clock with an alarm, give yourself a time limit and keep your eye on the time. Even if you’re bank roll’s flush, don’t play for too many hours in a row. This is supposed to be a fun pastime: You don’t want your evening’s entertainment to eat into your sleep, family, friends or work time.
- Set yourself win or lose limits from the start: if you win more than your set limit, stop playing on a high note. If you lose more than your lose limit, stop playing and come back again another day to start fresh.
If you can set your limits, stick to them and stop thinking about playing when you log out, you’re gambling responsibly. Good job!
Early Warning Signs of A Gambling Problem
On the other side, when gambling stops being fun, it can quickly spiral into a harmful addiction. It’s all well and good to ‘tut-tut’ someone else who’s in the grip of a full blown addiction and there’s plenty of online articles that will tell you the worst case scenarios that gambling addictions can induce, such as spending rent money on gaming sites, stealing from friends and family, shutting out the real world, etc.
As mentioned before, here at Pokies365 we are more interested in prevention than in cures. But just in case it’s gone past prevention, it’s still possible to recognise and stop a gambling addiction in its tracks before any real harm is done. Here are some of the early warning signs to know when to call it quits:
- Recovering losses: Playing games for real money is not about how much you win or lose. It’s about the thrill of being invested in the outcome. So if you find yourself trying to ‘win back’ the money you lost, stop playing and log out immediately! Playing to recover is not fun and it’s the first sign of a pending gambling addiction.
- Cutting the real world short: If you find yourself feeling bored or impatient when you’re spending time with family or friends and looking forward to just ‘zoning out’ for a while on your game, take a break for a few weeks. That’s the addiction taking hold. Playing online games is supposed to be an entertaining enrichment of your real life, not a replacement.
- Budgeting ‘mistakes’: Be honest with yourself. Are you making budgeting ‘mistakes’ in favour of your online casino games? Has it happened more than once? If you lost all your bankroll, would it leave you or your family wanting for anything?
- Can you afford it right now: How much can you afford without infringing on your weekly budget and savings? Have you got a set amount that you stick to, or do you sometimes break your own self-imposed limits? Is your gambling budget well inside your weekly entertainment budget and can you really afford to play this week? Can you afford to gamble without borrowing money from friends and family? If you’ve answered no to any of these questions, or you haven’t thought about them at all, it’s time to stop before losing a game or two affects the rest of your life.
- Angering family and friends: When your friends and family start getting angry at your playing, you need to understand that they are not trying to deprive you of your fun: They are the people who know you best, want the best for you and will recognize when you are stepping over the line. Rather than try to hide your playing from them, take a slice of humble pie and accept their concern graciously!
An unchecked gambling addiction can cause serious harm to your life. Keep the games in check and make sure your fun doesn’t cost you more than you can afford.
Where to Get Gambling Help
If you, or your loved one, is developing a gambling addiction, don’t hesitate: get help! Leaving an addiction to ‘run its course’ almost never works and can entirely devastate the person, their family and their community.
Here are some of the best, most discrete, confidential and professional help organizations for gambling addiction in the world:
Canada Safety Council (24/7 National helpline):
1-866-332-2322 or 1-888-795-6111
Gambler’s Help (24/7 National helpline):
1800 858 858
GamCare (24/7 National helpline):
0808 8020 133
The Casino’s Responsibility of Care
Gambling addiction is taken very seriously in the online casino world. All licensed and legal casinos must ensure there are very strict measures in place to prevent gambling addiction to the best of their capabilities. They must ensure addicts don’t have access to their websites and any casino that does not comply can lose their licenses and be forcibly shut down overnight.
Part of the casino’s responsibility is to make sure that the person playing is over the legal age allowed to play (18yo) by triple checking their ID before their account can be verified. They are also required to run hefty checks and balances on each player’s deposit method to ensure it is their own account and they have full permission to use the money included for their own entertainment. So while most casinos will tell you the account verifications are just security checks, they are also required to help them comply with the high level of responsible gambling requirements.
Get Banned from Online Casinos
If you or your loved one have a gambling addiction, you’re going to need to face the facts: gambling addictions, much like alcohol addictions, can never be completely cured. The people affected can only be distanced from the temptation. After suffering from a gambling addiction, playing online casino games for real money will never be fun again. It will always be an anxiety ridden risk.
That’s why all the legal, licensed casinos that we recommend here Pokies365 have an option to ban players for life. If you or your loved one have an addiction, you can call their hotline and have them permanently banned. That means their name, bank details, license number, passport number, address, phone number and even IP address will all be flagged and never able to be used at that online casino again.
Not only that, but most online casinos have partnerships with other casinos and they share their ban lists. That means that when a person is banned at one casino, they will not be able to open an account at any affiliated casinos either. Unfortunately, not all casinos are affiliated with each other, so there’s still a chance the affected person could open an account in a non-affiliated online casino. But likewise, if they are an upright and licensed casino, you can request the ban be extended to their network as well.