Everyone who has ever played a casino game has at some point heard someone say, ‘what if you get addicted’! It’s a rather scary thing to have someone say to you, but what’s even scarier is how easy it is to brush it off. It won’t happen to me is what we all say, and for the majority of us, that’s true.
For a small percentage though, something that should be fun and light-hearted entertainment becomes more worrying, and can lead to some very difficult circumstances.
There are three things to look at when we look at problem gaming. Firstly, what does responsible gaming look like and how do we go about playing responsibly? Secondly, how do we identify when we, or someone we know, are developing a problem? Lastly, what do we do when we realise there is a problem?
What Is Responsible Gaming?
Responsible gaming is any time that you play a few games or visit a casino, or even have a good long session without breaking the bank, and without walking away broke or miserable. Gaming is fun; its entertainment and it should never be considered a way to make money instead of your job, or to supplement your finances.
In order to start on the right track there are a few things you can do to make sure you don’t get carried away. Most importantly, set a budget. Decide how much you can afford to wager, and think about whether you can still afford it if you lose it all.
Take advantage of the casinos responsible gaming measures. You can set a budget for yourself and the casino will let you know when you have reached the limit.
Lastly, make sure you’re taking breaks. It sounds so simple doesn’t it? But getting up from the table or taking a step away from the slots has the same effect as breaking eye contact with a really good sales person. You suddenly realise how close you were to spending more money!
How to Identify Problem Gaming
Gaming becomes a problem when it makes your life unmanageable. Imagine for a moment that instead of the word gaming you replace it with going to the movies. Gaming is entertainment. So ask yourself a few questions. Does going to the movies mean I didn’t see my kids this week? Did I spend so much money going to the movies I couldn’t afford to pay my utilities bill? It suddenly becomes clear how we apply different rules in our heads just because there is a chance of winning money.
So how do you identify the signs before it’s too late? The first thing to look out for is how you talk about gaming to your friends or family. Have you been completely honest about your losses and wins? It may be worth thinking about that a bit. As soon as you find yourself hiding the truth, or even lying about your gaming, whether it’s regarding the wins versus losses, or even about how much time you have spent gaming, warning bells start to ring. Would you lie about going to the movies a lot?
The next thing to think about is how you think about gaming. Is it something you think about constantly? Has the idea of the next game ever kept you awake at night? When we have a healthy hobby it is fun to think about, and we look forward to the next time we get to do it, but it should supplement your life, not consume it.
The biggest warning sign of all is when you are spending more than you can afford. Would you go to the movies every night if you hadn’t paid the gas bill? As soon as you realise you are spending more money than you can afford on your entertainment, you need to take a step back and have a look at your spending.
What to Do Next
Get help. That sounds a bit blunt, but really it’s the best thing to do. Whether you ask a family member or a professional, stepping away from a bad habit or a compulsive gaming problem, can be really tough, and it’s hard to see a clear way through. At Ruby Fortune we have self-exclusion options, so you can easily prevent yourself from visiting again. We also all have great links to helpful websites, helplines, and guidelines on how to get back to a healthy place and we encourage you to always play responsibly, just like any decent online casino should!
Most importantly, while you are getting the info you need, the help you need or are simply investigating the option stop playing. If it all works out, you can always come back to the casino eventually. So take a step back, and evaluate. Remember, it’s just like going to the movies.