Last month in our blog we wrote all about Gambling Responsibly Online, which included a number of tips to bear in mind when playing.
On the reverse side of this there are a number of pitfalls that players can fall into and this month we have included a number issues to be aware of, not as a scare tactic, after all we love nothing more than good game of online bingo ourselves, but pointers and tips so that gambling online stays a fun pastime and does not become a negative influence effecting both your own life and those around you.
Gambling Responsibly Online – The Don’ts
Avoid drinking and gambling
Many of us like to have a drink and gambling and drinking often go hand in hand, which can lead to some rash decisions being made that will later be regretted. Try and avoid alcohol when playing, that way you will keep a clear head and make better decisions, if you already have a drinking problem or struggle not to drink when gambling then it is best to avoid playing altogether and this will often lead to addiction and/or problems further down the line.
Feeling down? Don’t gamble
The mood you are in can also effect the decisions that you make and if you are not in good place mentally this could have a knock on effect when gambling and what initially starts out as a bit of fun could become far more serious than this and not in a good way. Similarly to alcohol and drugs addiction, gambling can often be seen as form of escapism, a way to side step the real issues and gain a short term buzz. If you find yourself turning to gambling as way to block out other problems then it is time to seek help as in the long term this will only make the situation worse, not fix it.
With the ability to play from anywhere with any device it is easy to gamble from the comfort of your own home, this can be an issue if you are spending hours by yourself as you can soon be sucked into a game and lose perspective of the fun element. If you do play alone, try and play social games such as bingo or games with chat rooms, that way you will still be interacting with other players and it helps create a fun, social atmosphere. As always with anything online, just be mindful of who you are speaking to and never give out personal information unless you know them.
Never bet more than you can afford
This is an obvious one, but fundamentally one of the most important premises to stick by. Never, ever gamble more than you can afford to lose. Priorities your budget for necessities such as food, bills and rent, treat gambling as you would any other social activity such as a night out or going to the cinema, set a budget you are prepared to spend, can realistically afford and do not expect to win, have fun and if your luck is in then great, but do not rely on this.
Don’t ignore the law
If you are underage do not gamble, it is that simple. Yes, there are supposed to be laws in place that prevent this from happening, but let’s face it, especially online, these are relatively easy to bypass with a little bit of tech know-how, however just because you can do it does not mean you should. Laws on underage gambling are in place for a reason and, as with many other forms of addiction, problems from gambling are often developed from a younger age, with teenagers in particular susceptible. Underage gambling should not be encouraged and parents and authority figures, such as teachers, should keep a close eye on children’s behaviour and online activities.
Accept that you may lose
One of the biggest and most common mistakes made is trying to cover any losses. The nature of gambling is that you will lose sometimes and you will also sometimes win. The danger is that if you lose do not go over budget trying to win back your losses, you cannot win all the time and many players believe that their luck will turn and they are bound to win sooner or later, whilst in reality this is not the case, the odds are always in the house’s favour. Continuously gambling to win back any losses regardless of budget is a downward spiral towards debt or even worse and one to be avoided at all times.
Recognise the symptoms
Think you may know someone who has a gambling addiction or perhaps recognise the symptoms within yourself? Acknowledging that there may be an issue is step one towards dealing with it – mood swings, lifestyle changes, money problems, depression, relationship issues, all signs that gambling may have become a much more serious issue to someone than just some harmless fun. If any of this seems relevant to yourself or someone you know, perhaps it is time to talk to someone about the problem before the situation spirals out of control.
There are a number of organisations in place to help with gambling addiction offering professional advice and counselling:
To reiterate, it is crucial to bear in mind that gambling is supposed to be about having fun and for the vast majority of players this is the case. Like any ‘vice’ gambling can be addictive, but played with the right frame of mind and awareness of the possible dangers there is no reason why it should not stay fun rather than become an issue.