If you're gambling in isolation, do it responsibly

  • Updated
  • By Max Wright
Responsible gambling in isolation
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It’s official, the UK Government has ordered the country to stay at home unless absolutely necessary. Whilst this isn’t an official lockdown, the police have the power to fine anyone who doesn’t follow these guidelines. 

As we are all confined to our homes, some of you may have been taking part in more online bingo to pass the time, whether you’re a bingo regular or a new player. You may also be a sports fan with nothing to bet on who has been introduced to the world of mobile slot sites. If that’s the case, there’s no better time to remind you to practice responsible gambling.

Whilst gambling is a fun pastime for most, gambling addiction is a serious issue that can affect anyone. The bingo sites you play on will have responsible gambling measures in place to protect players, which are well worth familiarising yourself with. Here’s what you can do to ensure you’re gambling responsibly.

Keep track of time

You know the old saying “time flies when you’re having fun”? One minute you’re reading a book or watching an episode of your favourite show and then, next thing you know, hours have passed. It’s nice to get lost in your favourite form of escapism, especially right now when the outside world doesn’t have much to offer anyone, but it can be particularly damaging if you’re gambling.

There’s not only the financial impact of spending too much time gambling to worry about, but also the social impact too. It could drive a wedge in your relationship or cause you to become distracted whilst working from home, which could lose you your job. So what are the best ways to keep track of time when gambling?

Every online casino site should offer its players a reality check, which is a reminder that pops up at a pre-determined time to remind you how long you’ve been playing. These are handy because sometimes, when you’re really focussed or zoned out, you can totally lose track of how long you’ve been playing for. 

The good thing about a reality check is that it doesn’t force you, it just reminds you. You’re still in control and if you dismiss the reality check, it will pop up again after the time limit you set passes again. If you don’t want to set a reality check, you could simply set an alarm on your phone to remind you to log off and do something else. 

Set limits

The temptation to keep playing might be too much for some, but there’s nothing wrong with setting yourself limits to reduce the potential for harm! All online gambling sites should offer limits that you can tailor depending on what it is you want to limit. But how can you set limits when gambling and what types are there? 

Deposit limits let you control how much you’re spending on a site, these limits can be set on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. It’s good to work out how much you want to spend on gambling before you start and set these limits, that way you can’t be tempted to keep depositing to continue playing or chase losses when you’ve reached the threshold that you set.

Wager limits are slightly different in that they only limit how much you are spending from the funds in your account. A wager limit is beneficial because it stops players who are lucky enough to hit a big win from spending through their winnings chasing another bonus round.  When you’ve hit your wager limit, it’s time to cash out!

When setting a slot game to auto spins it’s good to set limits before you start, otherwise you could end up watching your balance drop down to zero! If the game supports it, set the number of spins or the maximum you want to win or lose before you start to avoid regrets.

Take breaks

Just like everything else in life, too much of anything is bad for you. Even when working, it’s recommended that you get up and take breaks to stretch your legs and give your eyes a rest, the same applies for gambling too. You could simply walk away from your PC or mobile phone, but there are other ways to separate yourself from gambling if you need them.

Setting a time out on a gambling site lets you take a break without the temptation of returning, at least not until the time limit is up. You can set your time out to be anywhere from 24 hours to a few weeks, so depending on what kind of break you need there are options.

Recently, UK banks have started to offer ways to block all gambling transactions on bank accounts. This stops gambling spend at the source and can be set to only last for a short period of time, so if you want to take a quick break from all forms of gambling, turning this switch on is hugely beneficial.

If you want to take a more serious break from gambling, you could try self-excluding from the sites you play on. A self exclusion lasts from 6 months to a year, and the only way to re-open your account is by contacting the site directly. If you play at a lot of sites however, there are options.

GamStop is an all-inclusive self-exclusion scheme that is supported by most sites that are licensed to run in the UK. Simply sign up, enter your details, set your exclusion period and you will be unable to access any gambling site that is supported. Very soon, all online gambling sites will be required to support GamStop to keep their UK gambling license, giving problem gamblers less chances to circumvent the block.

Be sure to check out our full list of responsible gambling guides, you may also find some of the following guides useful: