» Gambling Responsibly

Gambling responsibly is first of all about not letting your hobby become a problem habit. Second of all it is about taking action quickly if it does:

  1. Don’t try to solve the problem on your own – your judgement may not serve your interests well.
  2. Seek help before your life and the lives of those you care about around you are affected in ways that cannot be reversed.

Wherever you are in the world there are people ready to give you the support you need to gamble responsibly.

Country Support Organisations
Any Betcheck self-help tool
UK Gamcare – resources and telephone numbers
Any Gamblers Anonymous – meetings & helplines
USA Help for US college students and their families
USA Resources for problem gamblers
Canada Responsible Gambling Council
Australia Excellent source of resources from Gamble Aware
Australia Gambling Helpline and Website

Support organisations are perhaps best known for their work in helping people with a gambling addiction. However, an equally important aspect of their work is all about offer advice about preventing the addictions from developing by:

  • offering advice about how to keep your gambling habit under control
  • influencing gambling policy makers in government so that casinos and betting organisations are regulated in ways that discourage irresponsible gambling

Help Yourself, Help Others

By making sure that you play poker online at casinos that comply with responsible gambling regulations you are helping yourself, by making it more likely your problem will be recognised, and indirectly helping others too, by supporting organisations that take responsible gambling seriously. Here are some tips for identifying online casinos, poker apps and betting websites that discourage problem gambling:

  1. Read the terms and conditions / site FAQs – make sure the poker site or casino has a ‘self-exclusion‘ policy – this is basically a promise the site makes to prevent you from gambling if you tell it you have a problem.
  2. Make sure you understand the odds – knowing how much, on average, you will win is one of the best ways to encourage responsible behaviour. Only play at online casinos that clearly display figures for average payout percentages.
  3. Set a budget for your responsible poker play and stick to it. Your (strict) budget works in two ways: (i) you will never be gambling beyond your financial means, and (ii) you are more likely to be spending a balanced amount of time playing.

If you really want to be careful you could set a time budget as well as a financial budget to be really sure your habit stays under control and that you maintain a balanced lifestyle.

Now all we need is for casinos, poker sites and other online gambling organisations to encourage their customers to set up time and financial budgets through their websites – by making it easier to track how much we spend, they might help us eliminate this problem completely.

But I guess there will always be those of us who open several accounts at many different casinos…