The two most issues people have revolve around safety in gambling. Many new players are often concerned with online casino security issues, and then in general there is the concern that gambling can become addictive. The first is actually not a big issue – all you need to do is choose a licensed casino. The most common ones are issued by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission, Gibraltar, Curacao, Malta, Kahnawake and the UK Gambling Commission. An online casino holding any one of these licenses will have up-to-date security technology and be a safe place to play, although the licence from the UK Gambling Commission is known as the toughest one and if you’re playing from the UK, then you should strictly play at casinos with this license. In practice, most casinos will not let you play for real money if they don’t have a license that is valid in your country. I’ve listed below some casinos that are licensed and abide by the strictest regulations, so you don’t have to sweat over this.
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As mentioned, a licensed casino is always a safe bet, because the casino must meet minimum standards in order to obtain a license. Getting down to the details, casinos should use a random number generator (RNG) to ensure truly fair results in its games. Additionally, you can also check to see the casino’s publicly audited results that show the Return to Player rate (RTP) – in simple language, it means the amount of money a casino pays back to its players through wins. The higher the RTP, the better.
Furthermore, look for the eCOGRA seal. This is only granted to online casinos that have player protection, and abide by fair play and responsible operator behaviour codes.
The online casino landscape isn’t always rosy. But that’s to be expected – it involves money and there are bad people in the world. There are lots of fakes out there that try to impersonate more reputable casinos. Sometimes the seals are just images pasted on the website without actual approval. I will go into further detail in this article about how to spot rogues. But as a general rule of thumb, try to play at casinos that have been reviewed.
Now the second concern – the possibility of getting addicted to some gambling. Much like drinking, while many people like to drink, not everyone is an alcoholic. And as with most things, this may require a bit of self-control.
5 Tips to Prevent Gambling Addiction
- Make a budget with what you can afford to lose.
Calculate how much money you can afford to play with – that is what you can afford to lose completely, in the worst case scenario. Go in expecting worse, and know where your limits are. From there on, everything only gets better. And while I’m at it – never ever borrow money to gamble. Remember this is just a game.
2. Don’t chase after losses
Beginner players are particularly prone to this. But most of the time, people get into trouble when they start chasing after losses and lose track of their budget. Sometimes you just got to chalk it up and call it a day and start fresh.
3. Set Limits at Your Online Casino
Sometimes it helps to have someone enforce a little discipline. Most online casinos will allow you to set limits to your play to prevent addiction, because it’s not actually in their interest to see people destroyed – it’s not just bad for their conscience, but it’s also really bad for business in the long term. So casinos will often let you set deposit limits, loss limits, or time limits, that will automatically block you from playing further when you exceed them. For example, you can set a maximum that you are allowed to bet per week – and if you exceed it, you will have to wait until the following week. Usually you can set up limits from your casino account, but if not, just contact the casino’s customer service.
4. Only play when you can think straight.
In other words, don’t gamble under the influence. It’s not so much of an addiction issue itself but gambling drunk is practically a recipe for disastrous loss because you won’t stop while you’re still ahead of the game. Similar, gambling when moody or depressed is an equally bad idea.
5. Self-exclude and/or seek help.
When it gets really problematic, you can sign up for self-exclusion at your casino by contacting the customer service. You can request to be blocked for months, a year or to close your account forever. However, do note that it does not prevent you from signing up at other online casinos. So it’s also worth looking into professional help. In the UK, GamCare (http://www.gamcare.org.uk/) is a centralised source for gambling addiction support. There are phone lines and chat rooms with advisors you can speak with. The UK Addiction Center also has several prorgrammes, and the Gordon Moody Association offers intensive rehabilitation programmes as well as online advice for those outside of the UK.