The first reaction of players to problem gambling is that it will not affect them. Most probably it will not, but this does not help players who get trapped in problem gambling. So it is important that all online casino players acquaint themselves with problem gambling issues. This section will help them.
As always, prevention is better than cure. In the Responsible Gambling section we suggest determining online gambling budgets and adhering to them. Both the money and time spent on online gambling need to be factored in. You can set the deposit and wagering limits using facilities that our featured online casinos allow. Keep a look out for problem gambling symptoms using the simple self-assessment test that checks out various factors that can go wrong. In the unlikely event that the issue turns out to be more serious, you should take a break from online gambling and take remedial action with professional help.
- Problem gambling is an affliction like substance addiction that compels players to gamble more that they ought to. Professional assistance is available for problem gambling.
- All players are advised to take the problem gambling self-test every quarter at their online casinos to make sure that they are not drifting into problem gambling.
- For problem gamblers, online casinos provide cooling off periods and self-exclusion facilities that they should activate as and when needed.
- Players should gamble in a responsible manner by systematically arriving at their gambling budgets and implementing them by setting deposit and wagering limits.
What is problem gambling?
We strongly recommend that you should treat online gambling as an entertainment activity. Just as you budget funds for other entertainment expenses like movies and eating out you should spend budgeted amounts on online gambling. The difference is that in online gambling you can and will win money back at times. But you will also lose at times and you should be comfortable with both outcomes.
Problem gambling sets in when winning becomes an obsession and you cannot tolerate losing. You are compelled to keep gambling either to win more or recover your losses. You start spending more money and time on online gambling than you have intended to and certainly more than you can afford. It is easy to realize that problem gambling will have an adverse impact on an inflicted player’s personal life.
A lot of research is being carried out on problem gambling, much of it under the oversight of the European Commission. Problem gambling is an illness just like substance addiction. Less than 1% of the population suffers from of problem gambling. But if you get affected by it then these statistics do not help. Like any other illness, if problem gambling is detected early then it is easy to cure. So every online casino player must be alert to the symptoms.
Identifying Problem Gambling
An online casino player will get the gut feeling that something is wrong. You feel uneasy when you are not gambling. However, the immediate tendency is to dismiss this feeling. Then your family members and friends would begin to tell you that you are gambling too much. Rather than depending on this, you should periodically take a problem gambling self-test at least once every six months if not once a quarter
The problem gambling self-test is a series of questions devised by experts. You will find the test in the responsible gambling section of all the Dutch online casinos that we have recommended. The questions make you aware of the time and money spent on online gambling, the financial implications of your online gambling and the affect it is having on your personal life. If you answer yes to any of the questions then you immediately need to take measures to counter problem gambling. A sample of the questions is given below.
- Are you spending more money on online gambling than you budgeted?
- Are you spending more time on online gambling than you intended?
- Do you borrow money in order to gamble online?
- Are you diverting funds from household budget to online gambling?
- Are you neglecting your family and friends because of online gambling?
- Is online gambling causing anxiety or lack of sleep?
Solutions to Problem Gambling
The first step is to accept that you have a problem. There are some immediate steps you should take, which are facilitated by all our recommended online casinos. The first of these is opting for a cooling off period from your online casino. Most online casinos will give you a choice in the cooling off period that may range from a few days to a few weeks or even more. Go for the longer period. At some online casinos you can activate this yourself. At other online casinos you have to request customer support. During the cooling off period you will not be able to log in to the online casino.
If the cooling off period has not helped then you should take the more drastic step of self-exclusion. This means that you are asking the online casino to prevent you from logging in permanently. You should simultaneously seek professional help on problem gambling.
Problem Gambling Help in The Netherlands
Gambling Therapy and other similar organizations offer professional help to online casino players afflicted with problem gambling. They are sensitive to the requirement of anonymity and confidentiality. So you can start your sessions with a counsellor through e-mail or preferably live chat. Most problem gambling assistance organizations host online forums where you can anonymously interact with other players with problem gambling issues. Knowing that you are not alone will give you the confidence and courage to fight.
When the player has gained confidence in the process they can shift the counselling to face to face sessions. The player will be taken through discussions involving factors that triggered the problem gambling behaviour, finding solutions to the financial issues that have arisen and preventive methods that the player should adopt for the future.
The key to the entire issue is to start online casino gambling in a responsible manner. All our featured online casinos have a section on Responsible Gambling at their web site, which is a must read for all players. We recommend the following procedure
The first step is to determine how much you can spend on online casino gambling without it disrupting your life. You start with your monthly income and reduce your set expenses, amount you want to invest in savings and make provisions for larger expenses like holidays and contingencies. What you are left with is your entertainment budget. How much of it you want to spend on online gaming is your call.
The best online casinos allow you to limit your deposits and betting. You can check at the web site or with customer support how to go about it. Once you set the limits then the online casino will not allow you to deposit or wager more than that.