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Play within budget and know to ask for help if you get in trouble.
Online gambling is a form of entertainment. Like dinner and a show at the casinos, weekend visits to Las Vegas, or a night out with friends and family at a bingo parlor - online gambling is first and foremost about a good time.
And yet the most enjoyable gambling experience is a responsible one. What does that really mean?
You've set yourself monetary limits and learnt about odds - what else could you do to stay in the clear? For a start, it is extremely important that you recognize the characteristics of what makes gambling responsible:
- Responsible gambling is a social activity for friends, family, or colleagues.
- Responsible gamblers have fixed limits for losses.
- Responsible gamblers understand that odds are predetermined and always in favor of the casino. As such, gambling involves a given level of risk.
- Responsible gambling is done for limited amounts of time, both in regularity and duration.
Other important aspects of responsible gambling that you should be aware of include:
- Gambling as the personal choice of the player and not a result of pressure from others.
- Gambling as a fun activity, but not an essential activity in order to have fun when with friends or family.
Like we explained earlier in the personal finance and budget session, gambling is a fun and recreational activity. When you stop enjoying yourself it is a sign that you are no longer gambling responsibly. A great way to know whether or not you are gambling responsibly is to regulate your activities in and out of the casino. Think of this as a checklist of simple questions that you should ask yourself every now and then.
The following is a 20 question self-check quiz. According to Gamblers Anonymous, answering 'yes' to 7 of these indicates that you have or are beginning to acquire a gambling addiction:
- After a win, do you feel an urge to continue gambling?
- Do you ever borrow money to finance your gambling?
- Do you feel you must win back your losses after losing?
- Do you gamble longer than what you intended to?
- Do you gamble until you have no more funds left?
- Does gambling give you a bad reputation?
- Has gambling ever caused you to feel unhappy?
- Do you feel regretful after losing?
- Do you use gambling as a way to celebrate something good?
- Do you miss work to gamble?
- Do you ever gamble as a way to pay back debts or solve financial difficulties?
- Have you ever sold anything in order to finance you gambling?
- Are you reluctant to use your gambling funds for other expenses?
- Do you gamble in order to escape worry or things that are troubling you?
- Does gambling cause you sleeping difficulties?
- Does gambling decrease your ambition or efficiency?
- Do arguments or frustrations give you an urge to go and gamble?
- Have you ever committed, or considered committing, an illegal act in order to finance you gambling?
- Does your gambling interfere with or damage the welfare of your family and friends?
- Have you ever attempted or considered suicide as a result of your gambling?
By setting yourself the monetary guidelines we already discussed, and staying within the boundaries that characterize responsible gambling, you can be sure that you are safe and that your gambling is healthy. If, however, you feel that you are losing control over your new hobby and finances, get help now!
Remember, the best way to stay clear of trouble is to always keep it fun!
Five Top Tips for Safe Gambling
Responsible gambling is easily achieved if you set and follow simple rules. As long as you gamble for recreational purposes and have safeguards in place then there is no reason that gambling should ever be anything but a fun past time.
Check out our five Top Tips for responsible gambling below.
- Keep it fun. Remember that gambling is a form of entertainment and shouldn't become something you feel compelled to do and should always be fun.
- Set a budget. Sensible players set a budget and stick to it. This prevents overspending. If you feel you might find this hard, why not use a prepaid card that where you cannot exceed the set limit?
- Set a time limit. Keep an eye on the clock; remember that gambling shouldn't become something that becomes all encompassing in your life.
- Know when to quit. Never continue gambling to cover your losses. No player wins all the time and throwing down your money to try to recover losses is just as likely to result in an even bigger loss.
- Play at reliable casinos. Check for eCOGRA certification and that the casino is licensed.
- Check yourself. Organizations such as Playscan help you monitor your gaming habits. Make sure you stay within your limits and play responsibly.