When the Fun Stops, Stop!
For the majority of people, maintaining control when entering their local casino or online alternative is no issue at all. They deposit their cash, pick up some chips and ride the roller coaster until fortunes or losses have been crystallised. However, a small minority need the adrenalin rush that is triggered when you engage in risky behaviour on repeat. For these individuals, a winning run might be squandered as ever bigger wins are desired, or when a series of losses are incurred players might “chase” these in the expectation that an upturn is just around the corner.
Always remember that casinos are in business in large numbers because they consistently take a slice of your cash. The odds of making any sort of profit by beating the house are long. All casino games should be consumed as entertainment, with a win seen as being an unexpected bonus.
How to gamble in a responsible way
We are all at risk of developing unhealthy gambling habits. However, if we incorporate just a few changes, we can all ensure that a gambling session remains fun every time.
Our top 12 tips for gambling safely include;
- Setting a deposit limit
- Following time limit recommendations
- Never viewing gambling winnings as a form of income
- Not chasing losses
- Viewing game outcomes in isolation
- Staying in the moment, so gambling doesn’t become a habit
- Not betting when tired
- Never betting more than you can afford to lose
- Never betting when you’ve had a drink or taken drugs
- Not betting on events just to qualify for a bonus
- Seeking out help if your gambling is becoming a problem
- Finding alternative hobbies for a balanced lifestyle
Signs that you have a gambling problem
It is sometimes difficult to tell if your gambling behaviours are becoming harmful, although there are some tell-tale signs that you and your loved ones should be looking out for.
- Gambling when you cannot afford to do so
- Borrowing money to gamble
- Struggling to reduce your levels of gambling
- Lying about your gambling behaviours
- Feeling the urge to gamble when you are with friends and family
- Gambling becoming more important than personal relationships
- Denying that you have a gambling problem
- Gambling being your first thought daily
What to do next if you think you have a gambling problem
Once you realise that you have a gambling problem there is help available to change your mindset, so that betting no longer has a hold over the rest of your life. Whether you live in Canada, India, Ireland, New Zealand, or the UK, support is out there to allow you to self-exclude from all gambling sites and to seek therapy if required.
The online casino industry in Canada is highly fragmented. Each province is responsible for licensing casinos and applying regulations that relate to problem gambling. This list includes the ALC (Atlantic Lottery Corporation), BCLC (British Columbia Lottery Corporation), the OLG (Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation) and the WCLC (Western Canada Lottery Corporation). Although none of these regulators currently has an equivalent to GAMSTOP, the UK-based self-exclusion agency, they do make self-exclusion policies a factor in the licensing process.
For example, the OLG requires that its licensed casinos must provide access to responsible gambling materials and signpost further help for those in need. Additionally, all OLG sites must advertise self-exclusion options, where the minimum period of exclusion is at least six months in duration.
It is advised that Canadian players play at casinos where self-exclusion rules must be adhered to.
However, it is not illegal for Canadians to access offshore casinos that often hold a gaming license that has been issued by the Government of Curacao. Rules on self-exclusion are generally more relaxed at Curacao-based venues. If you develop a gambling problem while playing at one of these sites your welfare may be at risk as self-exclusion might not be an option.
The Responsible Gambling website provides links to charities and mental health groups across Canada that can assist you if gambling is becoming an issue.