There is nothing like the fun and exhilaration of putting a few pounds on a horse, backing your side with a bet or having a few pulls on a slot machine. But the difference between a pleasurable gaming experience and one remembered as a nightmare is usually based on the level of responsibility you bring to the racetrack or table, rather than your skills or gambling expertise. In this guide we will provide you with five important tips for ensuring a responsible gambling experience – and avoiding a fiasco.
In gambling, a bankroll refers to how much money a player sets aside and intends to play with. In a real casino, it usually means how much money a person brings with then, however, in an online casino – where a credit card is only a step or two away – it is more of a psychological limit. The limit is then: how much money a player is willing to use – and even lose – at the gambling tables without adding more.
By setting a bankroll amount in advance, players can control how much money they can gambling with, thus avoiding going into a financial “hole” that can be very hard to get out of. The size of a player’s bankroll will vary, but it is often dictated by the type of game he or she is playing.
No-limit poker, for instance, can drain a bankroll quickly, especially if a player bets wildly or doesn't have a lot of experience. On the other hand, playing blackjack in a conservative way – following basic blackjack strategy – can extend your bankroll for hours. In general, the goal for managing your bankroll is to place bets that are big enough to maximize your winnings, but small enough to minimize the risk (especially when Lady Luck is not in your corner).
Some gambling experts believe that extending a bankroll is a matter of mathematics: to play slots for three hours – with bets up to a dollar, for instance – you should be able to bet about 200 times to make your money last. Bets of different denominations influence bankroll longevity differently; the higher the bet denomination, the lower the number of bets you can place with your bankroll, and the shorter the session. In addition, when playing slots, you should know in advance the “volatility” – or risk factor – of the game you’ve chosen.
Slots have a range of volatility levels - low, medium or high. Low volatility slots pay out more often (with lower bets); however, high-volatility slots pay out bigger sums of money. With low-volatility slots, the payouts may be frequent but they are too small to lead to an impressive windfall; however, the flow of small wins can fool a player into continuing to bet beyond the end of a bankroll, which is the intrinsic danger of this type of slot.
The three most important rules for managing your bankroll is, first of all, to set aside money – preferably in a separate account – just for gambling. This is the money you can responsibly play with – your bankroll. This ties into the second golden rule of bankrolls: gamble only with money you can afford to lose. Don’t “bet the farm,” or your mortgage, or your daughter’s university fund. Gambling is a leisure activity (unless you’re a professional) and the money you use should never be critical to your quality of life or your family’s future.
The third hard-and-fast rule of bankroll management is Avoid the Reverse Withdrawal. To "reverse a withdrawal" means to change your mind after you make a request for withdrawing funds from an online casino. This can happen when there is a significant time difference between making a request to withdraw funds and when the casino actually transfers the money out of your online casino account.
The way to resist reversing a withdrawal is to play in casinos that do not have pending periods – requests for withdrawals and actual withdrawals are close to simultaneous, giving you no chance to change your mind. Another option is referred to as “withdrawal flush,” which means that the amount you want to withdraw will not be available for reversing. You may have to make a special request for this option from the casino, but it will help safeguard your money and is well worth the effort.
Most people who choose to play at an online casino consider it a form of entertainment; however, even a leisure activity can get out of control, and if that happens to you, there are ways to control your casino account so that the potential problem does not escalate to unmanageable proportions.
Keep track of the amount of money you spend and do not “chase” your losses. If things start getting out of hand there are ways to control them, most of which are self-imposed options. You can, for instance, reduce your deposit limits to restrict your spending, or you can impose a “self-exclusion” from a casino. This means voluntarily taking a break from gambling. Most online casinos offer self-exclusions of varying lengths, ranging from 24-hour cooling-off periods to permanent stops. Casinos that honor a request for self-exclusion will not attempt to contact the player with promotions or emails in order to give the player more of a chance to step away and re-establish account control.
The top casinos post information about problem gambling right on the home pages of their sites, with links to problem gambling organisations. Betway Casino, for one, also has a page dedicated to responsible gambling. In addition to taking a break or total permanent exclusion, Betway can also provide gamblers with a statement of activity over the last 30 days. This is helpful for keeping track of monthly betting.
While everyone is looking for a sure thing in an online casino, the responsible gamer knows that it doesn’t exist. While in some games, like Blackjack, the odds can be tilted slightly in a player’s favour by adhering to a strategy, other luck-based games, like slots and roulette, are purely a matter of chance and no “sure-fire” betting system can help a player come out ahead.
One of the most popular betting systems for chance-based games (one that has snared many an unsuspecting gambler in its net) is the Martingale System. The principle of this centuries-old system is simple: Every time you lose a bet, you double your next bet. The theory is that eventually, your bet is likely to win and when it does, it will cancel out any losses. However, in reality, it is much more likely that you will lose several bets in a row and run out of betting money incredibly quickly after you’ve doubled it all away.
Another betting system that is pure myth is known as the Gambler’s Fallacy, which claims that an event, say a jackpot coming in, that has not taken place recently becomes “overdue,” and therefore is now more likely to happen. The biggest fallacy here is that a player is bound to win eventually. In reality, every bet is completely independent of the bet that preceded it or follows it. So no matter what happened before, your gamble has the same chance of losing, no matter how many losses you have already experienced. The best way to avoid the pitfalls of fool-proof systems is to bet sensibly and responsibly, always within your limits and not to listen to anyone who claims to have a “system” that will never fail.
When you have an account with an online casino you should take measures to protect your password so that minors in your household cannot access your casino account. If you are truly concerned, cancel your account so that no one in your household – including you – can gamble online. Even if you believe that such measures are not necessary, talk with your children about irresponsible gambling and discuss the risks of gambling activities. Set clear rules about online gambling, and explain the consequences of your teen’s behavior.
Be on the lookout for signs that your teenager – or you, for that matter – may have a gambling problem. Symptoms can be problems at school or work, emotional troubles, substance abuse, physical changes, etc. Keep tabs on your teenager to see if he or she is gambling instead of doing other, more constructive things, such as studying or participating in sports. If you begin to be suspicious, look for money issues including sudden requests for more spending money or a request to borrow money.
Many experts say that talking to your kids about gambling responsibly, such as the importance of setting limits and taking breaks, will influence them to act responsibly towards their own gambling. If that doesn’t work, however, it’s important to monitor your teen’s computer, smartphone, and other digital devices, looking for gambling apps. Try to handle the problem before it gets out of control.
The UK Gambling Commission, which is currently the UK’s main gambling regulatory body, is focused on keeping the local gambling market safe and trustworthy for players. Statistics indicate that more and more minors have become victims of gambling addictions; in most cases they are not even aware of the negative consequences of gambling. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, seek out help and advice on gambling matters.
Among the organizations that can assist are Gambler’s Anonymous and Be Gamble Aware (BeGambleAware.org), which gives advice on gambling and staying in control of how much time and money you spend. PaddyPower offers some excellent advice. Remember that unless you are one of the few professionals, gambling is not your work. You have a job for making money. Gambling is entertainment. Likewise, do not gamble when you are feeling angry or sad. Gambling is a fun way to spend some time, it’s entertainment and as many online casinos and gambleware.co.uk point out, when it is not fun, it’s time to stop.