Gambling is something that can be thrilling and exciting when it’s done responsibly and legally. There is no harm in playing online slots or placing a bet, but it’s easy to push yourself over the limit. In the heat of the moment you can get caught up and put in an extra deposit that you perhaps shouldn’t have. Ultimately, this could lead to spending more than you can afford to lose.
It can happen to literally anyone and there’s no shame in doing so, but it’s crucial to know how to stop it from ruining your life. Of course regulators across Europe have set plenty of rules in motion to ensure responsible gambling. Just recently, the UK Gambling Commision announced new slot restrictions to safeguard online slot players from potential gambling harm. The main change highlighted the slowing down of spins to 2.5 seconds in order to minimise excessive play.
Despite these regulations, people can fall through the cracks – especially with online gambling. Some people are pushed further into unregulated casinos that have no protective measures to safeguard their money or carry out basic affordability checks. Here are a few things to help you gamble safely and responsibly to prevent your gambling from getting out of control.
Use Online Casino Help
Thankfully, most licenced online casinos have measures set in place to help you track your spending habits. They often have features that can set a Deposit Limit to control the amount you deposit into your account.
Big names such as Paddy Power, Sky Casino and BetWay have their own dedicated sites and online tools to help you. Whether that is setting a Loss Limit to ensure that you keep within your budget or setting up the Reality Check feature to give you timed reminders during your play – most online casinos are dedicated to helping you play safely and responsibly.
As a last resort, you should consider manually using casino blocking services such as GAMSTOP, Gamblock and Gamban. If you find yourself struggling to gamble responsibly, then these can offer much-needed assistance. These services can come at a cost but ban all online casinos meaning that you cannot access any licenced casino online.
Set A Budget
Almost all legal, online casinos will have mechanics to help you set your limits. These tools are incredibly useful and valuable – but sometimes you need a little extra help. This is a lot easier said than done but keeping track of your gambling habits means you can see where you are at with your budget.
It can be hard to just mentally keep track – so create a Google sheet to keep track of your deposits, or download a money managing app such as Mint. This can show you how excessive your spending has been and show if your habits need to change for the better.
Take Time Away
Stepping away from a winning situation can be incredibly tough, but sometimes necessary. There may be a rush of adrenaline to fight against but that’s better than losing it all. If you feel yourself gambling online constantly, then perhaps you need to re-evaluate. Just like planning your finances, you need to set time limits for yourself.
All UK casinos offer safer gambling tools to help keep your gambling under control. The most powerful one is the Self Exclusion tool that allows you to exclude yourself from any licenced online casino between 6 months to 5 years. All UK operators will be signed up to GAMSTOP through the Self-Exclusion tool. Other services include a Cooling Off Period which is offered by operators to block you for up to a week to allow you to unwind offline, and the Take A Break service pauses your account for a month.
If you want to go the extra mile then try time management apps like Remember the Milk. It’s great for planning out your time and seeing how much time you actually spend gambling. It can seriously be sobering but a much-needed wakeup call.
Talk It Out
It’s easy to internalise your feelings, but it’ll be better in the long run to talk to someone if you feel that you aren’t gambling responsibly. Whilst this may be embarrassing to begin with, it’s better than running yourself into an addiction. Talk to your friends and family to explain to them your situation to see if they can provide any assistance.
Of course going to close friends and family can be damaging to your self esteem, but there are alternatives to this. There are so many options available to help you for free and it can be anonymous. GamCare, Gamblers Anonymous and Gordon Moody provide services to assist you. They have call lines, online chats and group sessions that can help with whatever you need to stop you from gambling irresponsibly.
Gambling is a fun and enjoyable activity that can bring people together with some mighty wins – but only when done responsibly. It’s so easy to get caught up in the thrill of an online slot that you can easily miss that you’ve spent too much time and money on it.
Just like any bad habit, it can be tough to kick. Of course you can try to play demo versions of games to stimulate the act, but it doesn’t fully stop the bad habits. Gambling is designed to be enjoyable with some risks thrown in. Positive change starts by planning and becoming aware of how to gamble safely and responsibly.