Feature Article
Clara Madeira10th Jul 2023

How To Gamble Responsibly At Online Casinos in 5 Steps

Responsible gambling should be at the forefront of your mind when signing up to an online casino. To keep playing for an extended period, it’s essential to keep your spending in check and understand the potential risks involved. This article stresses the importance of gambling responsibly and offers 5 expert tips to help you stay in control.

5 Important Tips To Help You Gamble Responsibly

We believe that gambling should not only be fun, but safe also. As seasoned players ourselves, we’ve taken the time to list five recommendations that can help you remain in control whilst playing at an online casino.

Only choose to play at reputable online casinos that prioritise the well-being of their players. They should demonstrate a commitment to responsible gambling by providing helpful resources – such as information on how to identify a potential problem – as well as links to external support websites.

Additionally, they should offer tools that can be used to manage and limit play, whilst also ensuring you have an easy route to close your account or take a break accessible at all times.  

Licensed Operators Only

Make sure your selected casino has obtained an appropriate licence from a reputable gaming authority. This demonstrates their commitment to providing a secure gaming environment which includes offering responsible gaming tools to all players. 

At AussieBonuses, we only list brands who are fully licensed so we know our players are in good hands. These include casinos regulated by the UKGC and MGA, as well as the Curacao eGaming body, Gibraltar Gambling Commission and Alderney Gambling Control Commission.  

Responsible Gambling Tools

As noted, any respectable casino will provide certain tools that can be used as protection when accessing their services.

Here’s what you can expect to find:

  • Self-Exclusion: If you feel you need a break from gambling, you can request to be excluded from one or more casinos for a specific period. You can either request to be excluded permanently due to suspected gambling problems, or for a set duration such as 3 months.
  • Deposit Limits: To help manage your budget, you can set a deposit limit within a certain timeframe. This is a very useful tool for those who want to avoid overspending. Resetting this limit can take between 24 hours and 7 days.
  • Time Limits: You can set a time limit on your gambling activity, either for a single session or over a certain period. When this limit is reached, you are frozen out of your account and cannot log back until the period resets.
  • Loss/Wager Limits: Loss limits set a restriction on how much you can lose during the specified period, whilst wager limits do the same but with the sum of your total bets. They are useful tools to avoid exceeding your gambling budget.
  • Reality Checks: You can set up an on-screen notification that pops up after a specified period. This reminds you how long you’ve been playing, how much you’ve wagered and your current profit/loss margin.
  • Cool-off Period: If you’re concerned your gaming sessions are becoming too much, you can suspend your account temporarily. This allows you to take a breather and regain some much-needed composure before resuming with a clearer mindset.

When you engage in online gambling, it’s crucial to keep your emotions in check and not let aspirations overshadow rational thinking. Acknowledge that the chances of making a respectable living from playing casino games is extremely slim.

By recognising that the casino’s inherent house edge will come into play over the long term, you should realise the chances of sustaining profit are lowered if you don’t manage your playing sessions efficiently.   

Don’t Bank on Winning! 

Gambling is a form of entertainment, not a business venture, and by no means reliable as a primary source of income. Of course, it’s more than possible to win – we wouldn’t recommend casinos otherwise – but note that professional casino gamblers are few and far between.  

Keep Your Play Restrained

It’s crucial to keep gambling as what it’s originally intended for – a pastime. Develop other hobbies and interests so gambling doesn’t become your sole source of enjoyment. Likewise, maintain social relationships so you aren’t constantly focussed on where your next fix is coming from. 

The obvious advice here is never bet more than you can afford to lose. Set a budget for gambling purposes and stick to it, never exceeding this amount under any circumstances. This also applies if considering borrowing funds from friends or family – a sure way to dig yourself a pretty deep hole. 

Take a moment to examine your finances and only allocate gambling funds after essential expenses have been planned out. By doing this, you will remove the likelihood of getting into major financial trouble. 

Establish Limits

Setting limits is a simple and effective way to establish a budget for your gambling. The best Australian online casinos allow you to set deposit or spending limits that prevent you from exceeding a predetermined amount without your consent.

Monitor Your Spending

Another effective strategy is to track your spending. Various casinos offer this service within your casino account section, providing real-time updates of your total wagering and profit margin. By visualising your outgoings, this will help reel in excess spending before it gets out of hand.

It’s key to recognise that online casino games are designed to make a profit over the long-term… for the casino itself that is. Once you understand this, you’ll be able to adopt effective ways to place bets and develop a clear exit strategy to secure a positive return. 

If you are unable to accept you may sometimes lose in the casino, this can lead to detrimental negative reactions – namely in the form of loss chasing. Sticking with a conservative budget allows you to cope with short-term deficits much better and deter potential gambling issues taking hold. 

Sensible Playing Techniques

Although playing slots essentially comes down to luck for the most part, you can affect the return-to-player (RTP) of some table games such as blackjack and poker. Studying optimal strategy guides will increase your chances of winning over long-term play – allowing you to stick within your budget and not constantly hit the ‘deposit’ button.

Preferable Game Selection

Should you only play high-risk games, such as jackpot slots, then your chances of consistently winning are severely diminished. This can lead to regular losses and a spiral of desperate bets in an attempt to win everything back. To help with this, our RTP and volatility guide can help you pick out the best types of games to play. 

Problem gambling can be very deceptive, and you may not realise you have a problem until it’s too late. It’s vital to understand the signs of problem gambling so that you can take action before the consequences become too severe. 

If you are aware of the warning signs, you can seek help and take steps to manage your gambling behaviour, reducing the impact on your life and those around you.

Typical warning signs include: 

  • Obsessive Thinking – You find yourself preoccupied with gambling, thinking about your next bet or recalling past gambling experiences in your daily life.
  • Lack of Control – Even if you know that it’s not the best decision and you can’t afford it financially, you feel an irresistible urge to gamble.
  • Increasing Involvement – You notice an escalation in the amount of time and money you spend on gambling, cutting into personal and professional life.
  • Financial Problems – Your gambling habit is causing you significant financial difficulties, leading to borrowing funds or even resorting to illegal activities to fund it.
  • Relationship Issues – You may neglect responsibilities to friends and family, or lie about the extent of your gambling.
  • Negative Emotions – After gambling, you likely will feel ashamed, guilty, angry or anxious instead of satisfied.
  • Withdrawal Symptoms – You may feel irritable and restless when taking a break from gambling. You can’t stop thinking about when your next bet is coming.
  • Chasing Losses – To recover losses, you may find yourself gambling excessively to win back lost funds, usually leading to even greater losses.

Key Takeaways

Let us break down the key points we’ve already outlined:  

  • Before you start gambling online, make sure to plan out how much you will spend and an effective exit strategy over the short and long term. 
  • Reflect on your gambling experience and ask yourself if it was enjoyable and made you happy. If not, consider taking advantage of responsible gambling tools or reconsidering gambling altogether.
  • Avoid gambling under the influence of alcohol or when feeling sad, angry, depressed, or anxious. Remember that gambling is entertainment and should be treated as such.

Responsible Gambling – Why It’s So Important 

It’s crucial to understand what the concept of responsible gambling is – especially when it comes to the enticing world of online casinos. The chances of getting carried away whilst playing an exciting real-money game are amplified without recognising its importance.

In essence, responsible gaming refers to the concept of maintaining control while engaging in gambling activities. In the context of online casinos, it involves providing resources and tools for players to manage their behaviour, such as self-exclusion options, spending limits and appropriate messaging.

Although modern-day players tend to be aware of the dangers of irresponsible gambling, some of us may not be fully knowledgeable on its full negative potential. Therefore, we’ve listed a brief summary of the potential triggers to look out for. 

Problem Gambling 
Problem gambling is often considered the initial phase before addiction takes hold. It manifests itself when a person’s gambling activity starts to have adverse effects on their private life, not only their finances.

It is possible to have an unhealthy relationship with gambling without being addicted. Irresponsible gambling can impact personal relationships, work responsibilities and your bank balance without necessarily developing into a full-blown addiction.

Gambling Addiction 
Gambling addiction is the consequence of untreated problem gambling. It is also known as ‘compulsive’ or ‘pathological’ gambling and occurs when a player’s behaviours transform into a psychological disorder. 

Individuals with gambling addiction experience an overpowering urge to gamble, despite the potential adverse outcomes. This compulsion becomes their central preoccupation, leading to significant financial, emotional and social problems.

Cognitive Transformation into Gambling Addiction

The Brain’s Gambling Fuel
Gambling triggers the release of happy chemicals in the brain, known as dopamine, which creates a rush of pleasure and makes it more alluring. The experience of gambling now feels thrilling and motivating, eliciting feelings of euphoria – especially upon hitting a big win. 

Chasing the High
As players continue to gamble, they may develop a tolerance to the dopamine release associated with it, as is the case with any drug. As this pattern progresses, the less sensitive their brain becomes to its positive effects. Now, the desire to chase intense dopaminergic highs persists, creating a cycle of increased craving and diminished reward.

Losing Self-Control
Excessive dopamine release can impede the functioning of the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for self-control and emotional regulation. At this stage, problem gambling can transition to gambling addiction as the ability to resist is diminished, thus leading to compulsive behaviour.

Gambling and Stress
Persistent gambling can cause structural alterations in the brain, including heightened sensitivity of the stress response system. Consequently, losing a bet can trigger the release of cortisol and adrenaline which are linked to an increased risk of anxiety and depression.

Associated Patterns
Our brains learn by association. The urge to gamble may become associated with a smell, sound or environment – all of which may trigger a powerful desire to gamble. For example, this could be after returning home from a night out in the pub with friends. Unlearning these maladaptive behaviours can be incredibly difficult.  

Expert Advice
Clara Madeira
Clara Madeira

Help Is Always There!

Should just one of the above warning signs be affecting you in any way, we’d strongly recommend seeking advice from an official gambling support group in Australia. They’ll have all the resources you need to spot potential warning signs and receive professional help if needed.

Common Pitfalls

An important reason to be aware of the signs of problem gambling is that they can stem from cognitive biases inherent in our psychology. Our brains are not always rational and do not consistently act in our best interest. Awareness of these biases is crucial to avoiding their influence. 

Several cognitive biases are particularly relevant to problem gambling.

These include:

  • Loss Aversion – We tend to feel the pain of losing more acutely than the pleasure of gaining something of equal value. This can lead to an excessive focus on recouping losses, known as chasing-losses’. 
  • Near-Miss Effect – Almost achieving a desired outcome can motivate us to continue, even though the odds of success remain the same. For instance, narrowly missing a win may create the illusion of being closer to a win than we actually are.
  • Gambler’s Fallacy – This bias arises when we believe that previous outcomes can influence the likelihood of future, independent events. For example, believing that the colour ‘red’ on a roulette wheel is more likely to appear on the next spin because it hasn’t done so in

Conclusion

Maintaining a responsible approach to online gambling is crucial for both your enjoyment and personal well-being. It’s essential to prioritise responsible gambling practices to ensure a positive and sustainable experience. By following the tips provided, you can effectively manage your spending, understand the potential risks and maintain control over your gambling activities.

Remember, gambling should always be seen as a form of entertainment and not a guaranteed source of income. Set realistic expectations, establish personal limits and never chase losses. By adopting these responsible gambling habits, you can enhance your online casino experience while safeguarding yourself against potential harm.