The numbers speak for themselves – gambling is on the rise. The lowest estimates from last year put the entire market size at just over 230 billion US dollars.
But just as the industry’s revenue may be underreported, so are the stats on gambling addiction. Some experts go as far as to suggest that gambling addiction rates are nine times higher than previously thought. To help players like you engage in gambling at no expense of your financial and emotional well-being, the best new casino sites in UK employ so-called responsible gambling tools.
This short guide aims to equip you with accurate information about gambling addiction, ways to combat it, and tools to seek out from gambling operators.
Signs of problem gambling
Recognizing the problem is the crucial first step to beating it. When it comes to problem gambling, it is not unlike other addictions. That is to stay, those afflicted with it are often unable to face the reality of their situation.
To help you understand whether you are dealing with a gambling addiction yourself, you have to honestly assess your behaviour and note if you:
- Don’t know when to stop, even when you believe you have the willpower to.
- Continuously increase the amount of your wagers to get the thrill.
- Find yourself planning your day around gambling and prioritizing gambling activities over anything else.
- Turn to gambling to escape real-life problems or relieve negative feelings.
- Hide the extent of your gambling from your family and friends.
- Risk relationships and work opportunities due to gambling.
- Have experienced trouble trying to cut back or stop gambling.
- Feeling restless or agitated when you’re unable to gamble for a prolonged period of time.
- Resort to other problematic practices to get money for gambling.
If you believe that some, or most, of the points above characterize your behaviour, you may be a victim of a compulsive gambling problem. As with every addiction, you may experience periods of remission when you think you have everything under control, but make no mistake, this tranquillity is not permanent.
Let’s go over the most effective tools, one by one.
Some of the more oft-used responsible gambling tools are limits placed upon a player’s account. These limits come in different forms and may even overlap:
- Deposit limits – limit the amount of money deposited on a betting site. Players can set their daily, weekly or monthly deposit limits.
- Time limits – limit the amount of time spent on a gambling site.
- Wagering limits – limit the amount of money that you can wager.
- Loss limits – automatically logs you out of your account and/or gets you blocked from playing after exceeding a certain threshold.
Time-out sessions / Self-exclusion
With time out sessions, you temporarily suspend access to your account whenever you think things are getting too heated (e.g., you’re afraid you are going on a downward spiral after losing a few times). To put it short, time-out sessions are an opportunity to walk away from gambling for some time and cool off your head.
Many casinos offer self-assessment to help you understand how well you manage your gambling compulsions.
The questions typically give you a few descriptive statements and ask you to score their applicability to your case. For example, you may read a sentence “Sometimes I lose track of time when gambling”, and then score it on a 1-10 scale. After doing so for all the questions, you get your final evaluation that describes whether you show the signs of problem gambling.
The test is free of charge, takes a few minutes to complete, and can be retaken at any time.
Player history is not a responsible gambling tool per se but it is still an important asset in protecting yourself from addiction. Player history lets you keep tabs on all transactions, wagers, deposits and bets you have had at a specific casino.
This is a source of objective information that allows you to assess how involved you are in gambling and whether it’s time to take a break.
One of the more apparent issues of online gambling is that it’s easy to get engrossed in it. To help avoid playing for too long, players can set up time alerts. These are notifications that pop up whenever your gaming session has been ongoing for a long period of time.
Time alerts may also include pertinent financial details such as the changes in your balance since the last time you checked it. While a simple alert is easy to dismiss, facing the factual reality of your gambling decisions is a nice wake-up call that can help players not lose track of their time.
Gamban is a technology company specializing in gambling-blocking software. With Gamban, you can automatically limit access to all casino and bettings sites that involve monetary transactions.
Gamban and other similar apps should be used as a last resort when no other responsible gambling tool produces any effect.
While blocking casino websites can help you effectively control your compulsive gambling behaviour, at this point, you need to thoroughly examine the psychological reasons behind these impulses. There are many mental health experts readily available to help you tackle this issue, plus you can consult numerous responsible gambling resources (more on that below).
One of the criticisms aimed at responsible gambling tools is that they are highly intrusive and may cause minor disturbance to non-at-risk gamblers. However, in the long run, they help make the environment safer and more attractive to newcomers and returning players alike.
By itself, the inclusion of responsible gambling tools on the casino’s website has been shown to alleviate anxiety in players and make them feel more inclined to stay with this gambling operator. Responsible gambling tools act as a seal of trust.
Most responsible gambling tools are voluntary, which makes it easy for recreational gamblers to turn them off and play to their hearts’ content. This is both an advantage and disadvantage because you as a player need to do your due diligence and know when to rely on these tools.
National Responsible Gaming Resources
For more information about problem gambling and ways to remedy it, there are state-specific as well as universal gaming resources you can consult:
Responsible Gambling Tools: A Guide for Casino Players was first seen on Casino Life Magazine