A Complete Guide to Gambling Safely and Responsibly
The topic of gambling responsibly, especially on the Internet, is something that goes very deep for many people. In this guide, we break down everything there is to know about staying safe on the Internet when you’re playing in online casinos and how you can maximize your chances of gambling responsibly.
An Introduction to Safe and Responsible Online Casino Play
Any time you’re doing anything involving transfers of money on the Internet, you have certain precautions that you need to take to be safe. When you add gambling of any kind to the mix, then the situation becomes even more complicated very quickly.
While there are several layers of complication to this dynamic, there are plenty of relatively simple things that you can do to mitigate the risks.
On top of all of this, there are concerns that some players may have about gambling responsibly in terms of avoiding problem gambling behaviors and making sure that they are managing their money in a way that effectively manages the risk of this sort of situation. Thankfully, preventative measures for these two sets of issues dovetail together very nicely, and it creates a scenario where you can often have solutions that effectively kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.
Starting With Basic Principles
We have a number of basic principles that we’re going to start with in this guide. These are general concepts that will guide more specific actions and recommendations that we cover down below when we look at these principles and their implications. While there are some exceptions to the following rules, they are not common. This means that if you stick to these basic principles, you’ll really maximize your chances of keeping things going how you want.
- Be more careful than you think you need to be.
- Prepare for the worst case scenario.
- Assume someone is trying to get into your accounts.
- Have a plan for if you want to stop playing but can’t.
These four principles are what we’re going to focus on here, and in what follows, we’re going to look at the implications of each of them and what you can expect when applying them.
1. Be more careful than you think you need to be.
Of all four of the principles that we have put forward here, this is the most important one. As human beings, we tend to have this bias toward thinking that what we have in front of us right now is fine. A part of this is procrastination, and another part is that it lowers our general stress and anxiety.
The problem with this approach is that it puts you in a position for problems to creep up on you without you realizing it until it’s too late.
If you throw a frog in boiling hot water, it’ll jump out immediately. However, if you put it in cool water and slowly turn up the heat, it will stay in for a very long time. The idea we’re getting at here is that it’s easy to mistakenly be that frog in the pot that’s slowly getting hotter if you aren’t actively paying attention and being careful.
A good example of being more careful than you think you need to be is changing the password to your casino account and email on a regular basis. Once every couple of months is probably plenty, but it’s really easy to get caught up in this idea that, because nothing bad has happened so far that you can tell, you shouldn’t worry about changing your password.
The problem with this line of thought is that when you finally notice that there’s a problem, it’s because it’s entirely too late. Your account will have been compromised, and you could find yourself with a serious issue on your hands in terms of funds being taken from your account or otherwise.
2. Prepare for the worst case scenario.
One of the things that really gets us is routine. We’re used to having a routine when we play, for example. We like to log in, settle in the way we usually do and go to the games that we usually do. While this routine is something that’s helpful and comforting for us, it comes at a cost.
A major cost is that we tend to prepare less for bad circumstances than we should. When bad things happen, we’re often caught unaware and unprepared as a result, and that means that things end up being a lot worse than they really need to be. The solution to this is to consciously and intentionally prepare ahead of time for worse case scenarios and to take whatever precautions that are needed.
Here are some types of scenarios that you might consider preparing for:
- Your account password is stolen, and someone gains access to your account.
- Your preferred payment options will no longer work for your favorite casino.
- You realize that you have lost a lot more money in a month than you thought.
If you plan ahead for these types of things, even if you think the chances of them are slim to none, then you’ll give yourself peace of mind in knowing that you will not be caught by surprise.
3. Assume someone is trying to get into your accounts.
We don’t secure our accounts based on the premise that no one is trying to get into them. If that was the case, then we wouldn’t even use passwords. Instead, we want to operate on the premise that someone is or will eventually try to get in, and we want to make it as difficult for them as we reasonably can.
Along these lines, we can think from the attacker’s perspective of what he or she would try to do to get into our accounts.
For example, you might consider that someone could put a keylogger on your computer to steal your password and personal information. To counter this, you could check your computer with a virus scan regularly. If it’s on an automated schedule, then that’s even better.
For another example, someone might try to use your email address to reset your password through the password recovery features that virtually all online casinos have available. You could counter this by using a special email for your online casino play that you do not use for anything else. If they never know the email, then they can never use it against you.
These are just some examples of how you can apply this principle from a practical standpoint.
4. Have a plan for if you want to stop playing but can’t.
This one is really uncomfortable for people because the vast majority of people can’t imagine that they would have an issue with problem gambling. The problem is that they never realize it until it’s too late (see the above), and then they are stuck without a plan for dealing with it.
Understand that problem gambling can only be tackled with a full and comprehensive plan.
While the overwhelming vast majority of players will never have any issues of the type, the fact of the matter is that these types of things can happen. What’s worse is that when they do happen, they don’t come all at once. It’s an issue that creeps up on you (see the above frog analogy) until it’s too late.
You can keep this from happening with a bit of effort. Checking your betting and payment history each week to make sure that you didn’t spend more than you meant to is a good place to start. Having a large-scale, monthly overview where you sit down and look at how much your gambling is relative to your overall budget can help as well.
Finally, you want a concrete plan of who you’re going to call and what you’re going to do if you decide that you need to stop playing but have trouble actually going through with it.
The bottom line is that there is a lot that you can do that will make your online casino play much less stressful in terms of safety and prevention when it comes to problem gambling. There is nothing you can do to make everything 100 percent certain that you won’t run into these types of issues, but as the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Overall, if you follow these four principles that we have laid out here, then you’ll be in much better shape if something happens.