Gambling should be fun. Whatever way you like to gamble, whatever the game or the site, you should always enjoy it. Millions of people gamble regularly because of the fun, joy and excitement they get from it. For some people, though, gambling can become a problem.
At Casino Pick we are committed to responsible gambling, and any reputable casino will be too. It’s in nobody’s interest for a gambler to stop having fun and start having a problem, so there is always help on hand.
Where you can get help
It is important to know where you can get help so below we have provided details of places that can support anyone who has a gambling problem, or is close to someone with a problem. If you already know you need help, or as you read this article think you need support, then any of the following are there for you: the support they will offer will be free, confidential and without judgment.
A casino site might seem like the strangest place to seek help for a gambling problem, but every online casino is committed to responsible gambling and will have tools and resources to help you, as well as be able to point you to places and services you can get support.
Gamblers Anonymous follow the 12-step model that other Anonymous groups use. They can help you find a supportive group of people who have experienced the same problems as you and can understand what you are going through.
GamCare are a charity founded in 1997. As well as supporting people affected by gambling problems, they also work with the industry to help them promote responsible gambling. They operate the National Gambling Helpline where you can chat to an advisor at any time, as well as online chatrooms and forums where you can seek and offer support.
Gambling Therapy offer online support services, including text chat in several languages, online support groups and forums. They also operate residential programmes for those who have a severe gambling addiction and need intensive support to break the addiction.
GamStop is an industry-wide self-exclusion service. By submitting your details to the service, you should be prevented from using any gambling websites and apps in the UK. By registering with GamStop you can exclude yourself from sites for a fixed period of time.
BeGambleAware are an independent national charity. Although they do not offer direct support, they commission a number of services to help people with gambling problems, some of these are aimed at people in certain areas, or specific demographic groups. It is worth checking their website to see if there is a service that is suitable for you.
What is responsible gambling?
It is difficult to define responsible gambling. What is responsible for one person might not be responsible for another. Two gamblers might spend as much as each other, and gamble as frequently as each other, but only one of them might be gambling responsibly.
In essence, responsible gambling means there is not a problem. If one of those gamblers found that they couldn’t afford to pay their bills because of the money they were spending, or that they were distancing themselves from their family because of the time they were spending they might have a problem. Indeed, they might both have a problem but for different reasons.
The Gambling Commission, who license betting websites and casinos in the UK define a gambling problem as when gambling “causes harm to the gambler and those around them.”
In other words, it’s not possible to provide a simple and workable definition for responsible or problem gambling. It will depend on the situation and circumstances of the individual. Problem gambling, therefore, will include things like gambling when you cannot afford it, or neglecting care of loved ones and self-care to gamble.
The Gambling Commission also identifies another group of ‘at risk’ gamblers. These are people who might not be causing harm to themselves or others, but who might not be fully in control of their gambling, for example finding it hard to end a gaming session.
How do you know if you have a problem?
It’s impossible for a site like Casino Pick or even a casino site to know if you have a problem. Despite the measures that are in place to protect people a gambling problem is most likely to be spotted by the gambler or someone close to them.
It’s a really useful exercise, therefore, to self-assess your gambling to make sure that it isn’t getting out of control. The first step of this is identifying why and how you gamble. This helps you to understand what you get from gambling, so then you can spot if your behaviour changes.
Gambling problems frequently creep up on people unnoticed. While to an outsider it might look obvious that someone has a problem, they may well have never noticed because their behaviour changed gradually so they never realised they had moved from responsible to problem gambling.
Having taken the time to think about your gambling writing down the details helps. Include things like your budget and habits, so you have a fixed reference point. You can refer to it every now and again to see whether anything has changed and, if it has, ask yourself if there’s a good reason for that change or whether, perhaps, it’s a change that you should be concerned about.
There are also self-assessments you can take, or use to think about someone close to you, to help you think about your gambling. Casino sites and support sites all offer various self-assessment tools, while there are many versions they will all ask questions about how gambling has affected you.
Self-assessments will explore if gambling has had a negative effect on your financial situation. For example, if you have used money meant for other purposes or had to borrow money to gamble.
These will explore the impact gambling might have had on significant relationships in your life. These might include whether you have put gambling ahead of caring responsibilities, or whether you have had arguments with others about your gambling.
Gambling can affect how people behave. An assessment will look at whether gambling has changed typical behaviour, like your sleep habits, or even had an impact on other parts of your life, like going to work.
Finally, the assessment will also consider how the gambler feels. Gamblers with a problem may feel bad about it, even going so far as having negative thoughts about their life.
How the gambling industry can help you
There are a number of ways your casino site can help people who may have a gambling problem.
All casinos will have transparent account details, so you can see at a glance how often you are playing, what you are betting and what you are winning and losing. This can help, especially when you can quickly spend a lot of money with lots of small stakes on games like slots.
Every casino must allow you to set deposit limits. You can use these to set a budget, knowing that you can’t put more and more money in until the limit has reset.
Some casinos also allow you to set loss limits, these will stop you betting more once your losses have reached a pre-set level. The UK’s Gambling Commission has been looking at making these compulsory.
Casinos must also offer you the option to set up time-outs. These are short-term measures, lasting up to six weeks and while they are in effect they will prevent the account holder using the site.
These are intended to help people who might feel their gambling is getting a little out of control, for example if they are finding it hard to resist placing another bet, or struggling to stick to the budget they set themselves.
Self-exclusions are intended for gamblers who have a problem. These can last up to five years, and during that period the gambler will be unable to bet and should not be able to open another account.
If the self-exclusion is requested from a casino site, it will also apply to any other sites in the same company family or run by the same white-label operator. It’s also possible to self-exclude using the GamStop service, this will be an industry-wide exclusion preventing you from gambling or opening an account with any UK licensed casino.
At Casino Pick we are committed to responsible gambling. That is one of the reasons we will only review and link to casinos that are licensed by the UK Gambling Commission. That means the casino will share our commitment to responsible gambling too, and will have all the tools and options we have detailed here to make sure that you can stay in control of your gambling.
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