Online gambling is a fun form of entertainment and, for some, a great way to unwind after a hard day’s work. Whether it’s the tense showdown of multiplayer poker or the simple, fixed-odds gameplay of an online slot, wagering a few dollars can be a relaxing pastime. However, it is also something that should be approached with caution and with an understanding of how to enjoy your betting responsibly. A lot has been said in the media recently about the dangers of problem gambling and anyone who chooses to sign up and play at an online casino or sportsbook needs to play within their means at all times.
This short guide is to help all gamblers understand how to play responsibly and provides some tips on where to find help if you need it.
Play at Licensed Casinos
Firstly, only play at licensed gambling sites. In the UK, the UK Gambling Commission is responsible for issuing licenses to gambling operators and they will only do so if the operator adheres to strict regulations around customer management, including providing the right responsible gambling tools in each player account. The UK GC also regularly introduces new rules, such as the ban on betting with credit cards, which aim to protect the vulnerable from gambling beyond their means. And of course, the games and platforms at licensed casinos are all fully audited and tested for fairness and security.
You can follow this link to find a list of the latest new casino sites with a license.
Set Your Limits
All online casinos in the UK should provide responsible gambling tools within the player account pages to allow their customers to set their own limits on how much they can spend each day, week and month. These are important ways in which you can manage your own betting activity. You can think of it as a way to set a budget, either based on deposits, wagering or losses. When you reach your limit, you will not be able to start gambling again until the time period is up. This is a good way of self-regulating, but it requires self-discipline not to simply switch to another site where you have new limits.
Choose Your Game Carefully
Gambling online should be fun, and, as much as possible, a relaxing experience. To get the most out of it you should choose a game that suits your tastes, and importantly, your budget. There is no point in playing high stakes poker or roulette if you are going to burn through your bankroll in minutes and walk away with nothing.
So, find a game that has stakes to suit your budget and with a payout rate that will give you good return for your money. For example, if you are playing slots, look for games that have a low minimum bet, ideally 5p or 10p per spin. And check the RTP (return to player) to see what the average return on a £100 wager is. At 96% — the average for slots — you will get £96 back for every £100 wagered. Try to play games where the RTP is higher. This will give you more playing time for your bankroll.
Never Chase Your Losses
Of course, it’s the most often quoted piece of advice, and the sagest of all – “never chase your losses.” It’s always tempting if you are $10 down to deposit another $10 and try to win back the original $10 that you lost. But that is a very risky strategy and one that is more likely to lead to greater losses further down the line. Set your budget at the start of the session and leave when you reach your limit. You can always come back another day and try again.
Don’t Play If It’s Not Fun
One final piece of advice: Keep it fun! If you find that you are no longer getting a kick out of gambling, then it’s time to stop. It is a great form of entertainment, but that is all it should ever be. If you find yourself getting angry and frustrated, chasing losses and spending too much time online, then stop what you are doing. And if you think you need support, then check out a charity like Gamcare.org who is there to help.