Gambling is a popular form of pastime, today available both online and offline. In its essence, gambling is the action of staking money or anything else of value on an event, with the intent of winning something from the result. Compared to many other types of entertainment where participants pay to join, there is also the added goal of getting something back in return. And while there is a chance of "winning", it is never a guarantee.
The transactional deal with a possible "return on investment" is in part what makes gambling so popular, but it can also make it confusing, misleading, or potentially problematic and addictive. This is why it is important to be aware of the potential risks associated with gambling in order to ensure a safe and responsible experience. In this guide, we take a closer look at responsible and problem gambling and share our very best tips on how to stay safe when playing.
The importance of responsible gambling
Gambling in a responsible manner, normally referred to as the concept of responsible gambling, is key for players to stay safe. Gambling is heavily regulated in many countries, and even entirely illegal in certain places. This is mainly due to the potential risks of gambling, including financial, social, and mental repercussions. This might sound alarming, but the aim is not to put players off gambling. Instead, the goal is to make people aware of the potential risks, which can make them more likely to proactively take action to avoid falling down the rabbit hole of problem gambling.
What is problem gambling?
Problem gambling, gambling addiction, compulsive gambling disorder, ludomania, and other related terms are all used to describe negative, repetitive gambling behavior. This is a severe issue categorized by impulsivity and difficulties in limiting money and/or time spent on gambling. Not being able to stop and continuously spending more to chase big wins or win back previous losses is common for problem gamblers, and this pattern can lead to a lot of consequences for the gambler and the gambler's close community.
Problem gambling can be simplified to describe any gambling that in any way causes harm to the gambler or someone else. Harm can include large financial losses and debts, or the jeopardizing of relationships or careers among others. What many might not know is that if certain diagnostic criteria are met, problem gambling can be diagnosed as a mental disorder. The good news is that there is a lot of help available for those who struggle with problem gambling. Additionally, there are many actions that can be done so that gambling activities never result in any problems or harm in the first place.
Top tips on how to gamble responsibly
In order to keep gambling as a fun pastime and not any type of problem, it is crucial to understand and practice the concept of responsible gambling. There are many ways to stay safe while gambling, and below you can read and learn from our top tips.
1. Only play at safe and licensed online casinos
The first thing we want to emphasize is the safety of your gambling platform of choice. No matter if you are planning to gamble online or offline, it is important to only do so through legal and regulated operators. This is of course important in order to ensure that your information will be kept safe, but also to avoid getting cheated. And in terms of responsible gambling specifically, the best casino operators will have lots of tools and support in place to help set boundaries and check up on potential harmful patterns.
2. Only spend money you can afford to lose
When playing for real money, you always have to treat every deposit as money spent and "lost". Just like you pay a price to go to the cinema or buy a new book, you also pay to play casino games. See this as the entry price for joining the fun and not as an investment that will result in more money. While there is a small theoretical chance that you can win something, this is far from a guarantee. Therefore, you should never play for any more money than you can afford to lose and never see again.
3. Set limits for your spending and playing time
Both when it comes to the money you play for and the time you spend playing, it is a good idea to set and follow clear limits. By following such limits, you can ensure that you never play for more money or longer times than you can afford to. This also makes it easy to stay on top of your gambling habits and ensure they do not become problematic. The good news is that many online casino sites have tools that let you set these types of limits in place, so you don't have to keep track of them yourself.
4. Don't be scared to reach out to customer support
If you are gambling at a proper online or land-based casino establishment, there will normally be a customer support team available around the clock (or at least many hours of the day). With customer support so readily available, you should never hesitate to reach out if you need help or feel like you are struggling. The support teams are normally trained to help with problem gambling issues and can also recommend tools and resources for you to check, as well as actions you can take (such as a self-exclusion period). Remember that you are never alone.
5. Seek out tools and resources for assistance
In addition to tools from the gambling platform you are using, it is also important to remember that there is a lot of help available online and in-person. There are many websites, hotlines, and communities that focus on problem gambling and gambling addiction. These resources can give you expert advice on how to move forward and also help you feel less alone. Even if you feel that you do not have any issues with your gambling habits, for now, the websites can be worth checking out just to learn more and read up on the topic.