For most people, online gambling is safe and an exciting form of entertainment. However, some people can develop problematic gambling behaviours. To keep gambling fun and safe, always keep in mind the following:
- Never ever gamble with money you can’t afford to lose. Like other entertainment, you should only spend disposable income that you do not need for other things. Set a budget, and stick to it.
- Never gamble with borrowed money. It’s always a very bad idea.
- Never ever chase your losses – or continue gambling in the hope of winning back lost money.
- Never gamble when you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Do not gamble for extended periods of time.
- Familiarise yourself with the responsible gambling tools provided by operators.
- Think carefully before using any ‘fast play’ or autoplay options on slots.
- If you aren’t having fun anymore, or gambling is disrupting your family, social, or work life, it is time to stop.
- Never be afraid to ask for help. There are lots of places to find free advice and help, and we can point you in the right direction.
We strive to work with and promote operators who take responsible gambling seriously. Many operators offer convenient tools to help you keep in control of your gaming. Examples of tools available include:
- Reality checks, to help you keep track of the time you spend playing
- Deposit limits, to help you keep track of spending.
- Gambling history, so you can get an accurate overview of your performance and what you’ve gambled, won, and lost.
- Automatic breaks, able to be set at anything from 1 day to 6 weeks.
- Self-exclusion, allowing you to block your usage from a website from a few days to years.
- Autoplay options, allowing you to set stake and loss limits for autoplay modes.
Problem gambling self-assessment
To identify potential issues and avoid problems, it’s a good idea to ask yourself the following questions periodically – and it is absolutely vital to answer them entirely honestly:
- Are you gambling alone, for long periods, and is it getting in the way of other aspects of life, like work, family or friends?
- Have you found yourself increasing your stakes to maintain excitement levels?
- Are you becoming irritable, snapping at those around you, or experiencing mood swings as a result of your gambling?
- Has gambling become a way to avoid or escape thinking about or dealing with other issues?
- Have you found yourself trying to hide gambling losses from those around you, or lying about winning?
- Do you find yourself hiding your gambling from family, friends or work colleagues?
- Have you ever felt tempted to lie or steal to help finance gambling?
- Have you tried to win back losses, even on another day?
- Have you found yourself in debt because of gambling, or been unable to pay back other debt because of gambling?
- Have you ever resorted to selling possessions, or taking on extra work to fund gambling, or gambling related debts?
- Have you been attempting to reign in your gambling, reduce your spending or the time spent gambling, but have found it difficult or impossible?
- Is the desire to gamble causing you to break promises to family and friends, or let down your work colleagues or teammates, or otherwise changing your normal social behaviour?
- Are you feeling depressed, lonely, isolated or otherwise unhappy because of gambling?
Answering “yes” to even a single one of these questions should be seen as a warning, and you should take further action. Below we have suggested some steps.
If you think you might have a problem
First and foremost, it is important to remember that, just like with all problems, the sooner you take action, the easier it will be to avoid things escalating. Keep in mind that you should always be honest with yourself and those around you, and never be afraid or ashamed of asking for help. Accepting there is a problem is the first step, and the most important, and you shouldn’t panic. Sometimes everyone can lose sight of things, and all that is required is a step back, a breather, and some perspective. But, if you are finding yourself in a more serious situation, don’t panic, there is help available.
Practical ways to regain control of your gambling
- Set strict deposit or spending limits and stick to them. Use the tools provided by operators. It can be a good idea to use a separate bank account or pre-paid card, funded only with your disposable income, to fund your gambling. This way you will not accidentally spend money needed for other things.
- Limit the amount of time you spend gambling. Many operators provide tools to do this, or you can use third-party services like Gamban to schedule when you want to allow yourself to gamble.
- If you find that spending limits or scheduling your gambling isn’t enough, you should consider stopping gambling altogether. To help you do this you can self-exclude. You can self-exclude from individual casinos and operators, but you can also use third-party services like Gamstop (in the UK) or gamblock.com. Using a national self-exclusion scheme will prevent you from gambling at any operator licensed in that country. Many banks now also offer spending control tools, so you may be able to set a gambling spending block using your banking app. If you are struggling, we recommend using all of these measures simultaneously to maximise your protection.
- Like kicking any other habit, making yourself take a break, or entirely give up, gambling can be hard. So make sure you motivate yourself, and let those around you know you are trying. Keep track of your progress, and it’s a good idea to keep a running record of the money you have saved. Look after your health, consider taking up hobbies or looking into other interests – do something you never had time for before. Give yourself credit for your achievements.