Responsible gambling: it’s about more than money
At Casino.org, your safety and enjoyment as you gamble online are our top priority. We want everyone to have fun playing their favourite games at the best casinos around - what we don’t want is for betting or gaming to have a negative impact on you and your life. That’s why we’ve put together some useful tools, information, tips and resources to keep you having fun while gambling responsibly.
Helping you play safe - a Casino.org commitment
Casino.org is committed to keeping you safe online, both from dangerous sites and from dangerous betting behaviours. We believe gambling is a safe and enjoyable form of entertainment when played for fun and within your means. This is why we thoroughly vet all casinos reviewed on our site with our 25-step reviews process, and have a range of guides for a variety of games. The more information you have, the better informed your decisions will be.
However, we understand that, for some people, addiction and problem gambling can kick in and lead to a range of very serious issues.
If you think you might be at risk of developing a gaming or betting problem, all of the information listed here can lead you to the information and support you need to get help.
What is responsible gambling?
Responsible gambling is when you are playing for fun, you are in full control of what you are playing and how much you are playing with, have set and defined limits which you stick to, and are not causing yourself to suffer financially or mentally as a result of your play.
If you are experiencing a loss of control and not being able to stop, feelings of depression, a strain on your finances, lying about how much you play, chasing losses, or generally experiencing negativity around your gaming, you are at risk of developing, or already having developed, gambling addiction.
7 tips for responsible gambling
To help you keep gambling responsibly, whether you prefer to play online at home or on your mobile, at a local casino or bingo hall, or wherever else you choose to play, our tips listed below will help reduce your risk of developing problems.
Set a budget and stick to it
This is one of the most important things you can do to gamble responsibly. Decide how much money you are willing to spend on gambling each week or month, and then stick to that limit.
Don't chase your losses
If you lose money gambling, don't try to win it back by gambling more. This is a surefire way to lose even more money.
Take breaks from gambling
If you find yourself gambling more than you intended, or if you are starting to feel stressed or anxious about gambling, take a break. Take a few days or even a week off from gambling to clear your head and reset your gambling habits. If you need more time, consider using gambling exclusion services to keep yourself safe.
Be aware of the odds
When you are gambling, it is important to be aware of the odds. The odds of winning are always stacked against you, so don't expect to win every time you gamble. Our truth about sports betting and truth about slots guides can give you more information on the truths around gambling to help you bet smart and reduce your risks.
Don't gamble when you are emotional
Gambling when you are feeling angry, sad, or stressed can lead to bad decisions. If you are feeling emotional, it is best to wait until you have calmed down before you gamble.
Do not gamble when you are under the influence of alcohol or other substances
Alcohol, prescription medication, and recreational drug use (whether legal or not) alters your state of mind and makes you prone to bad decisions. Unless you are calm and thinking clearly, you can and will take more risks in this altered state, which is a big problem when it comes to gambling. Always let any substance leave your system before you start to gamble.
Seek help if you are struggling
If you find that you are struggling with gambling, there are resources available to help you. In most countries with legalised gambling, there are many organizations and services offering help and support to people with gambling problems or who are at risk of developing them.
If you are finding the above tips difficult to follow, that may be a warning sign for gambling addiction. We recommend taking a free self-assessment test from a responsible safer gambling service to check your behaviours and risks of developing a problem.
Spotting the signs of problem gambling in yourself and loved ones
The truth about gambling addiction is that it can develop in anyone, especially if responsible gambling advice is ignored. If either yourself, your friend or family member likes to gamble and you are worried about problems developing, our list below should help you spot potential signs of problem gambling:
- Preoccupation with gambling. The person may talk about gambling constantly, or spend a lot of time thinking about it. They may also plan their day around gambling, or make excuses to go gambling.
- Needing to gamble with increasing amounts of money to get the same thrill. This is known as tolerance. The person may start out gambling small amounts of money, but over time they will need to gamble more and more to get the same excitement.
- Trying to control, cut back, or stop gambling, without success. The person may try to quit gambling, but they will find it very difficult to do so. They may even make promises to themselves or others that they will stop gambling, but they will eventually break these promises.
- Feeling restless or irritable when they try to cut down on gambling. This is a sign of withdrawal. When a person stops gambling, they may experience physical and emotional symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, and irritability.
- Gambling to escape problems or relieve feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, or depression. The person may gamble as a way to cope with difficult emotions or situations. They may feel like gambling is the only way to escape their problems.
- Chasing losses. This is when the person gambles more money in an attempt to win back money they have already lost. This is a very destructive cycle, as it often leads to even greater losses.
- Lying to family members or others to hide the extent of their gambling. The person may lie about how much they are gambling, how much money they have lost, or where they have been. They may also try to hide their gambling from others by gambling online or at casinos that are far away.
- Risking or losing important relationships, a job, or school or work opportunities because of gambling. The person's gambling may start to interfere with their work, school, or relationships. They may miss work or school, or they may neglect their relationships in order to gamble.
- Asking others to bail them out of financial trouble because they gambled money away. The person may borrow money from friends, family, or even strangers to cover their gambling losses. They may also max out their credit cards or take out loans to gamble.
Ultimately, if you are worried that a friend or family member might be developing, or already has, a gambling problem, it is important to talk to them about it. Avoid being confrontational where possible, but offer your support and help in finding resources and services that can provide the care they need.
If you recognize the signs in yourself, it’s important to see help immediately. Some of the resources you can turn to are:
- Gambling addiction treatment programs: These programs can provide you with the support and treatment you need to overcome your addiction.
- Gambling hotlines: These hotlines can provide you with information and support about problem gambling.
- Gambling counseling services: These services can help you understand your gambling behavior and develop strategies to manage it.
- Gambling support groups: These groups can provide you with support from people who understand what you're going through.
Getting professional help
While self-exclusion and blocking tools are a key part of combating and controlling gambling addiction, part of responsible gambling is seeking professional help and support from experts who are trained to identify problem gambling.
To help you make that first step, we’ve teamed up with addiction specialists Aaron Sternlicht, LMHC, CASAC and Lin Anderson, LMHC, M.A., Ed.M., to create an expert’s guide to gambling addiction to help you on your way to finding the professional help and advice you need.
If you feel you need more tailored advice or to speak to someone in person, fortunately most countries with regulated gambling industries also have a wide range of help and support options available. The UK is no different in this regard and there are a wide range of helplines and professional counselling services on offer.
To help you find the support you need, we’ve listed some of the most useful resources below:
BeGambleAware is a UK-based charity that offers information and resources to help people with gambling problems. They offer a self-exclusion tool that can be used to block access to gambling websites and apps.
- Website: https://www.begambleaware.org/
GamCare offers free information, support and counselling for anyone who might have problems with gambling in the UK. It also runs the National Gambling Helpline and offers face-to-face counselling, which is available 24/7 and is completely free to use.
- Website: https://www.gamcare.org.uk/
- Freephone 24-7 National Gambling Helpline: 0808 8020 133
- WhatsApp Chat (mobile only): 020 3031 8881
- Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week
Gamblers Anonymous runs local support groups that use the same 12-step approach to recovery from addiction as Alcoholics Anonymous. There are also GamAnon support groups for friends and family.
- Website: https://www.gamblersanonymous.org.uk/
- UK Phone: 0330 094 0322
- NI Phone: (028) 7135 1329
- Email: email@example.com
Operated by Gordon Moody, this is a free practical advice and emotional support service available for anyone negatively affected by gambling. It offers live support, which is a text-based service letting you speak directly to an advisor.
- Website: https://www.gamblingtherapy.org/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Social media: Twitter
Gordon Moody Association
Gordon Moody Association are a registered charity that provides residential support and treatment for anyone who is severely addicted to gambling. You will find advice, education and therapeutic support, along with information about how to take control of your gambling.
- Website: https://gordonmoody.org.uk/
- Email: email@example.com
- Other options: Live chat
National Problem Gambling Clinic
The National Problem Gambling Clinic’s (or National Centre for Behavioural Addictions) mission is to provide treatment for anyone over the age of 13 currently struggling with a range of disorders and addictions, including problem gambling.
- Phone: 020 7381 7722
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
NHS Northern Gambling Service
The NHS Northern Gambling Service provides specialist addiction therapy in the north of England, including the north Midlands.
- Phone: 0300 300 1490
- Email: email@example.com
- Social media: Twitter
- Hours: 9am - 5pm, Monday - Friday
NHS Southern Gambling Service
The NHS Southern Gambling Service offers a specialist service providing treatment to people experiencing problems with gambling.
- Phone: 02382 310000
- Other options: Self-referral form
- Hours: 9am - 5pm, Monday - Friday
West Midlands Gambling Harm Clinic
The West Midlands Gambling Harm Clinic provides specialist addiction therapy for people who have problems with gambling.
- Website: https://www.midlandsgamblingclinic.org/
- Phone: 0300 123 0996
- Social media: Twitter
- Other options: Self-referral form
The Samaritans provide 24-hour confidential emotional support for anyone feeling distressed, including over problems arising from gambling addiction. If you need someone to talk to about problem gambling, their friendly and dedicated staff will help.
- Website: https://www.samaritans.org/
- Phone (24/7 freephone): 116 123
- Welsh language support (7pm - 11pm daily): 0808 164 0123
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Freepost address: SAMARITANS LETTERS
- Other options: Self-help app
Keeping children safe
While it is illegal in most countries for children to gamble, it’s important to teach them early on about gambling and how to keep themselves safe if they decide to play when legally allowed to do so. If you’re unsure how to start and what you can do to protect them, we’ve made a list of steps you can take:
- Talk to your children about gambling. Explain to them what gambling is, and why it can be both a fun and enjoyable pastime while also potentially being harmful. Talk to them about the risks of gambling, such as losing money, getting into debt, and developing a gambling addiction.
- Set a good example. If you gamble, make sure that you do so responsibly. Don't gamble more than you can afford to lose, and don't let gambling interfere with your work, school, or relationships. Always prioritise the needs of your child over any gambling related activity.
- Monitor your children's online activity. Be aware of the websites that your children are visiting, and the games that they are playing. Many online games now include gambling elements, and it's important to be aware of these so that you can talk to your children about them.
- Talk to your children about the dangers of loot boxes. Related to monitoring online activity, it’s important to address loot boxes in video games. These are a type of in-game purchase that gives players a random chance of winning a prize. Loot boxes have been linked to gambling addiction, and it's important to talk to your children about the risks before they start buying them.
- Teach your children about financial responsibility. Help them to understand the value of money, and how to make wise financial decisions. This will help them to avoid getting into debt, and to make better choices about gambling.
- Use blocking tools to add a layer of protection. Using tools such as NetNanny (where available) to block potentially harmful sites from being accessed by children is a great way to help protect kids from problem gambling. While the industry is regulated and most markets have legal minimum age requirements for gambling, unregulated and unsafe sites exist. By installing blocking tools you can keep your child from accessing these sites in the first place.
- Be supportive. If you are concerned that your child may be at risk of developing, or have already developed, a gambling problem, be supportive and offer your help. There are many resources available to help children and families who are struggling with gambling problems and can be a big help when dealing with the issue.
You need extra protection? Use self-exclusion and blocking tools
Unfortunately, once developed, there’s no real “cure” for an addiction - you can only manage it and yourself. To help you keep on top of things, there are numerous self-exclusion tools and blocking-software options available for you to register with and install on your devices as a key part of gambling responsibly.
These essentially prevent you from registering with any new casino or sports betting site, and prevent you from accessing existing accounts if you’re already registered. Blocking software should prevent your device from being able to visit gambling sites completely.
The best tools can also provide support to people who are struggling with gambling addiction. Some tools and software offer resources such as counseling and financial assistance. This can help people to overcome their addiction and rebuild their lives.
If you or someone you know is struggling with gambling addiction, there are many reputable resources available to help. You can talk to a doctor, a therapist, or a gambling addiction support organization to get the help you need.
If you are struggling, please check the list of some of the most highly recommended self-exclusion, blocking tools, and general support options below.
It’s vital to find the service that works best for you:
Gamban is an easy-to-use application that blocks online gambling on different devices. It offers a secure and reliable option to stay away from gambling sites and apps. UK residents can get a full Gamban licence for free through TalkBanStop - a partnership between GamCare, Gamban, and GAMSTOP.
Aimed at preventing adult content being viewed by children, GamBlock should stop tech-savvy kids using VPNs and Tor browsers, which can be used to beat some blocking tools. This makes it a secure option across desktop and all mobile devices. It is a pricey option, but if you need more advanced protection methods then this is a solid choice.
NetNanny is a parental control software that can be used to block access to gambling websites and apps, as well as content that might make its way to social media sites and YouTube. It is also using AI technology to try and block content the instant before children can see it. You will have to pay to use NetNanny, with different price options depending on how many devices you need to protect.
Finding financial support for responsible gambling
As a UK resident you can also take advantage of Gambling Block - a service provided by major high street banks to help you restrict online gambling spending. While each bank might have a slight variation, the aim is the same: to block your bank account, debit card, or credit card from being able to make financial transactions with gambling providers.
The list of banks offering this service includes:
You can also find financial support through a range of safe and secure, independent advice foundations such as:
What is responsible gambling?
Responsible gambling is a set of guidelines you can follow in order to make sure online gambling stays fun and safe.
How do I gamble responsibly?
There are several steps you can take to make sure you are gambling responsibly. These include setting budgets, setting time limits, never gambling when you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs, playing purely for fun with money you can afford to lose, and never chasing losses.
What is problem gambling?
Problem gambling is a medical condition where a person can’t control their need to gamble, even when it causes them harm. This can have a serious impact on their life, and if you think you might be struggling with it, there are options listed above so you can get the help you need.
How do I spot signs of gambling addiction?
The signs and symptoms of problem gambling include a preoccupation with gambling, a lack of control in your play, chasing losses, lying about your gambling habits, developing financial problems through gambling, developing relationship problems through gambling, or experiencing emotional problems caused by your gambling habits.
Can responsible gambling help me keep track of my spending?
Yes, responsible gambling can help you keep track of your spending and finances in general. It can help you set and stick to a budget, as well introducing you to tracking tools which can help you track your monthly finances.
Do banks offer responsible gambling support?
Yes, most reputable banks do offer assistance when it comes to responsible gambling. This usually takes the form of blocking transactions to gambling sites, but some might also offer financial planning advice if you’re in debt caused by gambling, and general assistance in managing your money.
Should I teach my children about responsible gambling?
Yes, it is vital to teach children how to gamble safely if they choose to do so when the law allows them to. You should also be teaching your children about how elements of gambling have entered the video game space, with loot boxes listed as a possible route to the development of gambling addiction.