Casino games include games such as slots, bingo, blackjack, poker, roulette, and craps. Many of the games are pure games of chance, but some card games involve skill as well. The outcome of online casino games is determined by a Random Number Generator or RNG for short, which ensures that the result is completely random and cannot be foreseen in advance. The RNG programs online casinos use are audited, tested, and reviewed by independent companies to make sure they work as intended and produce fair results for everyone.
The other term you should be aware of is the Return to Player or RTP. This shows the percentage of money that on average is returned to the players, so what remains short of a 100% is the casino’s house edge. Most slots and other casino games average out at about 97% but there is variation between games. Keep in mind that the RTP is determined after millions of test spins, so you cannot determine how much money you would make or lose in a single gambling session.
a Gambling Problem
Gambling is an activity that millions of people find enjoyable, whether they buy a lottery ticket once a week or indulge in a few hours of playing online slots. But as it carries a monetary risk and the feelings involved in winning and losing money can get quite overwhelming, it is best fun when kept under control. This means that you should pre-set the time and the money you are willing to invest and stick to those rules you made before commencing gambling.
Some people develop problem gambling and gambling addiction, and it can affect anyone regardless of their gender, age, employment, or financial status. These people feel an uncontrollable urge to gamble, feel unable to stop, and often hide their behaviour from their loved ones by lying. Here are some questions you should ask yourself to determine whether you are at risk:
- Do you hide your gambling? Can you truthfully discuss about the time and money you spend on gambling, or do you feel the need to hide anything because you are afraid your loved ones would disapprove? Consider why you are keeping the behaviour secret. Maybe you disapprove of your own actions?
- Are you neglecting other parts of your life? Do you still take care of work, your family, and yourself and give every aspect of your life the time it deserves? If you choose gambling over socialising or cannot meet your work deadlines because of time spent gambling, the behaviour is causing problems. Also arranging everything else to accommodate as much gambling as possible is a sign of gambling addiction.
- Would stopping gambling upset you? If you only feel joy from gambling and the thought of stopping for even a few days or weeks makes you angry or upset, gambling is starting to take over your life. You should always have other hobbies and interests that give you happiness.
- Are you gambling to earn money? As you probably know, gambling is not a source of steady income. As gambling is always a game of chance to some degree, you are at risk of losing money. You should only ever gamble with money that you can afford to lose if luck is not on your side.
- Are you breaking the limits you set to yourself? Part of responsible gaming is to choose the time and money you are willing to spend and stick to the rules you created before you started and when you were calm. If you play over the money limits you set yourself, that money comes out of other necessities you require, such as food and rent.
- Are you chasing losses? If you start to gamble with the intention of winning back what you lost, you might lose control over your gambling. Previous losses should never be considered as the reason to start playing again.
Can I Do to Combat Problem Gambling?
If you or your loved one is concerned about your gambling behaviour, there are multiple things you can do to take a time out and prevent problem gambling becoming any worse.
Take a self-assessment test
On many problem gambling support websites and on some online casinos you can fill out a self-assessment test which will score your behaviour patterns related to gambling and will offer you guidance on whether there is any issue for concern. Taking these tests will not save your results or sign you up to anything, so feel free to take them as often as needed.
Most online casinos in the world and practically all casinos operating in Europe will offer their customers the option to self-exclude themselves. This means that by pressing a button or contacting the customer service, you can have your account temporarily or permanently frozen. You can determine the self-exclusion time yourself, but it usually is at least six months – shorter self-exclusions are known as time-outs. During this time, you cannot access your account, nor can you ask for the customer service to reopen it either. This may apply to multiple casinos that work under the same main operator. Self-exclusion is the best long-term break to tackle moderate to severe gambling problems.
For minor to moderate problem gambling, a shorter time-out might be beneficial. You can ban yourself from using your casino account from 24 hours to a few weeks. Time-outs can be especially helpful if your feelings get overwhelming or if you have other important life events coming up and you do not wish to be bothered even by the opportunity of gambling.
Set deposit limits
Almost all online casinos allow you to set yourself monetary limits which help you control your gambling. The deposit limit will only allow you to deposit a certain amount per each day, week, or month. By predetermining your gambling budget in advance, you can stay in control of your funds.
Use loss limits
Similar to deposit limits, you can also set yourself loss limits for a time frame, which can be a day, a week, or a month. If your losses ever exceed the limit, the casino software will no longer allow you to play until the limit resets.
Unsubscribe from promotional offers
If you find it hard to let promotions and offers pass you by, unsubscribing from the online casino’s mailing list will help you keep your gambling under control. Many offers will still be available to you when you log in and check out the front page, but at a time of your own choosing and not because you were tempted by promotional e-mails.
Contact customer support
If you need some personal support or if you are unsure what responsible gambling tools your online casino offers, contact the customer support. All customer service agents are trained to spot problem gambling and help you manage your gambling habits. Many online casinos have a live chat option, so you can get answers right away.
If you feel like you need help from a professional or if you wish to talk with others who know what you feel from first-hand experience, seek out one of the many problem gambling support sites. Here are some organisations to get you started:
- GamCare – The largest support organisation that offers information, support, advice, and counselling free of charge.
- BeGambleAware – Another well-known organisation that offers personal and confidential support over the phone or online. Their site offers plenty of information and tips to keep gambling under control, and also offers all services to people who know someone with a gambling problem and are concerned.
- Gamban – This application is a tool that blocks access to gambling sites and apps. It is secure, easy to use, and always kept up to date. It is very handy for those who have problems fighting the urge to stay away from gambling.
- Gambling Therapy – This service offers free support and advice on a global scale. They have forums and a live chat where you can talk with both professionals and others affected by problem gambling.
- Gamblers Anonymous – GA is a support group established and ran by people who have had problems with gambling addiction. They have plenty of meetings where you can attend and receive help from others who have been in the same position as you. The fellowship they offer to everyone attending helps people stay accountable and receive emotional support.
- BigDeal – BigDeal is an organisation specifically for young people. It offers advice and support to youngsters dealing with gambling problems or who are concerned about a loved one’s behaviour.