Play it Safe at Online Casinos

With the gambling industry under increasing scrutiny from politicians, regulators and the public, more focus than ever is being placed on promoting safe and responsible gambling. Online casinos and gambling sites offer a number of measures to help people maintain healthy gambling habits, including offering responsible gambling account settings. These are a legal requirement of online casinos and are designed to help prevent and counteract gambling addiction, but what exactly do they involve? Let’s take a look.

Deposit, wager & loss limits

These are some of the most important account settings players can use to help manage their gambling. They’re all pretty self-explanatory – limits can be set daily, weekly, or monthly, and allow players to place caps on their deposits, bets and losses during a set time period. Once a limit is set, it can’t be undone until the time period has passed. This means players can set a budget before gambling and avoid overspending or chasing their losses.

Reality checks

Online casinos offer players the chance to set “reality checks” that pop up periodically to remind them of how much time they’ve spent playing. It can be easy to lose track of time when you’re having fun playing casino games, so these reminders can help you remain in control of the time you spend gambling online. Players are able to set the frequency of the reminders, which will then appear every time the selected time frequency has passed. The reality check options vary from site to site, but some online gambling sites let players set them as low as one minute, up to any desired time frame.

Account history

Having quick and easy access to your spending history is always helpful when it comes to budgeting. All gambling sites provide customers with a history of their deposits and withdrawals, while some also provide a gaming or betting history, so gamblers can see the exact casino games or betting markets they’ve wagered on. Certain gambling sites also offer profit/loss summaries as well, so customers can easily see the money they’ve made or lost over different time periods. A look at profits or losses could prompt a gambler to reassess their spending and perhaps even take a break, so this is definitely an effective tool.

Timeouts

Also known as a ‘cool off’ period, a timeout does exactly what it says on the tin – let players restrict access to their own account for a set period of time, usually between one and thirty days. During that time period, players are unable to log in to their gambling account. This is an effective tool not just for limiting a casino player’s spending, but also the time they spend gambling online.

Self exclusion

Self exclusion is essentially an extended time out, which all casinos are required to offer players. The minimum time setting for self exclusions is six months, while the maximum is usually five years, though some sites offer gamblers the chance to self exclude permanently. Players can either self exclude from individual sites, or sign up to the GAMSTOP national self exclusion scheme. By signing up to GAMSTOP, players are excluded from all casinos that have joined the scheme. Eventually, all licensed UK casinos will be required to join.

Playing at licensing casinos

In order to have access to these responsible gambling measures, gamblers need to ensure that they’re only playing at casinos licensed by the UK Gambling Commission. Licensed casinos are legally required to take steps to identify and prevent problem gambling, which includes verifying the age and identity of gamblers, as well as offering the account settings listed above. On top of that, sites have a responsibility to monitor customers’ gambling activity and take the necessary steps to prevent harm caused by gambling. This can range from contacting customers, prompting them to think about their gambling and offering support, to setting limits or even closing customers’ accounts.

Of course, while these factors can help casino players gamble responsibly, they don’t completely eradicate the issue of problem gambling. All the settings are optional, and although casinos monitor activity to spot signs of problem gambling, it would be near impossible to detect every instance.Plus, significant financial losses are just one indicator of gambling addiction. For example, spending an unhealthy amount of time gambling is still considered a form of problem gambling, even if the gambler isn’t losing large amounts of money. If you think you or someone you know needs more help to control their spending, charities like GamCare and BeGambleAware provide advice, support and treatment for problem gambling.