As the online gambling industry continues to grow exponentially, there are concerns about how this increased market reach has exposed gamblers to the risk of developing a problematic relationship with this form of entertainment. Governments around the world are, quite rightly, tightening the rules on how gamblers are allowed to play and the ‘safety valve’ policies that operators can enact to protect them.
As gamblers ourselves, we are keenly aware of the risk of problem gambling but there are things we can do to make sure our casino play or sports betting activities remain within positive and responsible limits. Here are our top tips for keeping online gambling fun.
Many gambling regulators require online casino operators to provide players with tools to set limits on their gambling. These can take the shape of daily, weekly or monthly limits on deposits, specified ‘time out’ periods for the player to cool off between gambling sessions or self-exclusion, either temporary or permanent.
If you feel you might be tempted to gamble too much, these limiting features can be a great help in keeping a rein on your spending, even if you don’t identify as a problem gambler.
It can be difficult to ask for help, especially when it comes to something as stigmatised as addiction. Reaching out early on can help you get a handle on things before they spiral out of control.
There are several professional, comprehensive resources available to tackle problem gambling. A search engine will point you in the direction of support services but you can also ask customer support at your preferred online casino - they will be happy to recommend websites, helplines or other resources available. It’s also a good idea to confide in a trusted friend or relative if you feel you need help to get help. There’s no shame in reaching out.
We should all remember that gambling is about having fun. If you find that you are embarrassed by your gambling or feel the need to hide it from friends and loved ones, take an honest look at your gambling habits. Do you think you might be losing control of how much you wager? Do you feel ashamed to discuss your gambling with others? If these statements are true for you, it might be time to reassess how, when and how much you gamble and seek help to change your habits if needed.
The American Psychiatric Association considers problem gambling to be an addiction, with similar psychological, behavioural and physiological indicators to other addictions such as drug and alcohol misuse. Like these other conditions, a person with a gambling addiction displays subtle behavioural and emotional signs that can be indicators of the addiction.
There are lots of complex psychological issues that surround addiction but in the case of gambling, we need only answer one simple question - is it still fun? A person with a gambling addiction will often find themselves feeling depressed when they cannot gamble, miss out on beloved activities in order to gamble, find themselves in financial difficulty because of their gambling and/or experience disordered sleeping and eating habits.
If you notice that you are frequently getting into arguments with loved ones over your gambling, feel the need to gamble to ‘win back’ lost wagers or missing out on work or school to gamble, you should get in touch with a professional service that can help you regain control.