These days we’re inundated with adverts for online gambling, whether it’s placing a bet on a football match or signing up for a poker tournament at an online casino. It won’t have escaped your attention that those adverts also come with a whole load of fine print as well as warnings to players to be careful and play safe.
While strict regulations and customer reviews mean that the chances of you wandering into an online casino that’s not on the level are relatively slim, there are still plenty of risks for the unwary player that range from not checking the terms and conditions to not setting clear boundaries.
Gambling online is a hugely entertaining pastime and it can be a nice way to boost that paycheque at the end of the month, and it’s important that it stay that way. To avoid losing the fun and risking your wallet or your mental health, here a few tips to make sure that you’re being responsible when you play.
Talk to people who already do it
Online poker is having a bit of a boom period right now, but we’ve all got a friend, relative or housemate who have been playing it for years and the chances are that, in their time of hustling into the small hours, they’ve picked up a few tips along the way. They might also have some guidance on what’s worked for them over the years and they’ll be able to help steer you away from making any rookie mistakes.
Staying in contact with them is a good way to make sure you’re keeping your new hobby fun and social, rather than hunkering down in your bedroom with your headphones on and sweating out another hand. And, if you’re planning on betting some big money, it helps to have someone there who can offer advice and support, and someone who can share the joy of victory with you! If you’re starting to worry about telling them how you’re doing, it might be time for a rethink.
What can you afford to lose?
Online casinos offer a whole range of different stakes and if you want to dip your toe in by betting a pound or two on video slots, that’s not going to be a problem. There are free card games to help you practice before you put money down, there are demos, and there are low stakes tables and spins on all the major games like poker, roulette and blackjack. And, of course, there are high stakes tables if you’re feeling flush and confident.
Everyone puts a bet on hoping to get more than their money back, but before you get started, make sure you think seriously about how much money you’re going to be able to spend or lose. It’s not always easy to have an honest conversation with yourself about your finances, but it’s much, much better to do it ahead of time before you find yourself watching money fly out of your account.
You still need to sleep
Making a budget is important, but making a schedule is too. Video games can be seriously addictive (we’ve all had that moment where we’ve been playing FIFA and suddenly realised that the sun is coming up), and when the online casino is on your phone it can be easy to lose track of time.
It’s always tempting to think “one more spin” or “just another hand,” but if you want to get the most out of gambling online, you’re going to want to take regular breaks and stop playing while you’re still enjoying yourself. As a recent study showed, time spent playing video games can benefit mental health, so be kind to yourself, keep it fun and don’t push it too far.
Do your research
While you might just want to jump into online gambling with both feet, the fact is that the more preparation you do ahead of time, the more you’ll get out of it. If you want to play video poker, take the time to learn the differences between the online and casino versions.
If you’re looking to play slots, this post breaks down a range of UK based slot sites with reviews, break-downs what each one has going for them, and the most popular games. Rules for each game may vary from site to site, to be sure to read the fine print when you log on.
From the most popular casinos to the odds on the games you want to play, it’s so important to make sure that what you’re getting is what you want to get out of it.
Check your mood
A lot of this article has been about preparation, and that’s very easy to do ahead of time, but this next step is a little harder to plan. Experts have warned against gambling when you’re upset or inebriated, as an unstable mood can lead to choices that you regret later on.
It’s much harder to stick to the limits you set for yourself when you’re not actually feeling like yourself, so before you log on and put some money down, just have a think about whether you’re in the right place mentally to be making those bets. Even the simple act of asking the question might just save you a lot of grief.
Generally speaking, if you’re gambling at one of the more popular online casinos, the chances are that everything is above board and that your information is safe. However, it always pays to be over-cautious in these matters, and there are some simple steps you can take to put your mind at rest.
Choose a licensed casino that has clear rules and regulations. These sites should have a track record that’s easy to find and customer reviews that are recent and genuine, not the easy to spot fakes from about a decade ago.
If in doubt, go looking for feedback. The online gambling community is like any other community: quick to react to negative experiences. If every review is absolutely glowing, however, you might want to proceed with caution as you may have stumbled across a site covering their tracks.
It’s also very important to make sure you have anti-virus software installed, keep changing your password regularly, and only enter sensitive information directly onto the encrypted site rather than sending it over email.