Gaming responsibly is about maintaining proportion in your activities. This page describes how to maintain balance in your gaming and how to avoid experiencing any problems. In addition, you will learn some of the resources available to you if you have concerns about your gaming activities. For the majority of gamers, gaming is experienced as an entertaining and diverting pastime which remains enjoyable.
When thinking about responsible gaming is important to consider the approach that we take. In the first instance, it is strongly advised to establish how much you can afford to deposit. The best way to calculate this is to assess your monthly income and expenditure.
Ensure that you have allocated sufficient funds to cover your daily living expenses. This includes such things as your rent, your electricity water and gas bills, an allocation for clothing travel and any other regular expenses that you have. It is also necessary to set aside money for the unforeseen events that can arise in our lives. From the surplus that you have remaining, calculate how much money you would like to allocate to your entertainment budget.
The money that you deposit for gaming, should come from this entertainment budget. This should be money that you are happy to spend, this expense should be considered as such. You are reminded that games of chance are random in outcome. For this reason, please do not consider that money you deposit is an investment of any kind.
Gaming as a leisure activity and should always be so. Given that the the outcome of games is random, you must accept those occasions when games are lost, and treat those occasions when you win as a pleasant bonus, over and above the experience of the game itself. One of the signs of problems emerging in gaming habits is when gamers find it difficult to accept the loss of the game. Keep this consideration in mind. Gaming should always be fun and stress free. If you ever find yourself feeling stressed, irritable, anxious, worried, or depressed it is advisable to take a break from gaming and to return when you feel better. If gaming itself is the source of any of these negative feelings then this is a sign that you may need to re-evaluate how you approach games.
Let us look now at some of the best ways to approach your gaming.
Tips For Enjoying Gaming Responsibly
- Play for fun
- Don’t plan to make money using games
- Only deposit an amount that you can afford to lose
- Make sure that you have ring-fenced money that you need to meet your financial commitments.
- Manage your time appropriately. Ensure that your life is balanced between your work commitments, the needs of your family, time spent socialising, maintaining a fit and active lifestyle, and gaming. Having done so, set an optimal time limit on how long you will spend gaming. If you like, you can make use of a timer to remind you that your session is drawing to a close. Wrap up your game for the meantime, whether you are winning, or losing.
- If you have lost a game, do not try to recover the cost of playing by further gaming. That is – accept the loss of the game, and move forward.
- Avoid borrowing to fund your gaming. Similarly, do not treat gaming as a means to earn money to pay debts off.
- Understand the rules of each game you play, understand that games have random outcomes, and that you will both lose and win.
- Learn these principles, and the warning signs (detailed below) of problematic approaches to gaming, as well as the resources available to gamers whose relationship with gaming, mood and financial management merit assistance.
- Protect minors. Do not glamourise the activity of gaming,or gambling in the presence of the under-eighteens. Take appropriate steps to ensure that only you can access the site, such as loggin out when you stop your session, not saving passwords, or log-in data, on shared devices. In fact, on a shared device, it is an idea to install separate user accounts. Give children accounts that restrict access to sites intended for adult entertainment. Most operating systems permit the administrator of the device to determine the levels of access that other users have to online content, and even how much time users can spend online. Explore these options, but also consider proprietary software, such as Net Nanny (all platforms), CYBER Sitter (PC, MacOS) , or Zift (iPhone and Android phones) which offer various means to monitor,and control, the activity of those using the devices you install them to. Ensure too that no-one can use your debit, or credit, cards – as this may enable them to use your credentials to access sites or create problems with your finances. Similarly, secure your banking information against unauthorised use.
Signs of Problematic Gaming
- Having difficulty stopping your sessions, on a regular basis, is a sign that you may want to ease off a little.
- Depositing more than you budgeted for. If this becomes a frequent occurrence, then it is an indicator that you have lost the balance that comes from a responsible approach. Re-evaluate your relationship to gaming, examine anew your budget, and consider utilising a deposit limit. Set a maximum amount you can deposit either daily, weekly, or monthly.
- If you are starting to increase the amounts that you stake in order to feel the thrill again, then again, we have an indicator that the balance, which typifies the responsible approach to gaming, has been lost.
- Any conflict arising because of gaming within your family, or amongst your friends, may indicate a problem developing. For example, arguing frequently about money, the amount of time you spend gaming,or instances where you feel shame, guilt, or the need to lie to those close to you.
- Mood-related issues arising from gaming, such as depression, irritability, listlessness, loss of sleep, or self-neglect. These are also symptoms which should preclude gaming in the first place.
- Any instance of compromising your budget, by borrowing to make a deposit, delaying the payment of a bill, or cutting back on necessary expenditure, indicates an unhelpful mindset.
- Examine options on the site designed to help you keep your gaming responsible.These include deposit limits, as we have already seen.
- Additionally, you can enlist the help of the site in taking a break. This is an excellent way to pause, reflect on your practises and to make adjustments before returning. A short break lasting from a day to a month is known as a ‘Cooling-Off’ period. If you choose this option then the site’s team will exclude you from emails advising you of special offers and bonuses,for example, until you return.
- If you have talked with one of the organisations listed below, or have decided that you need more time away from gaming, then you can participate in what is known as “Self-Exclusion”. This initiative was developed in partnership with UK casinos and bookmakers, in the high street, as well as UK-based gaming site operators. The idea is that for a period of at least one year you ask that these sites, and physical locations, exclude you from participating in games of chance. This is best employed by those whose relationship with gaming shows that they have difficulty with self-discipline with regard to how they play. For further information check out Gamblock.
- Again, with appropriate advice, you may decide that additional help is required to prevent you returning to gaming before you are ready. For this case, you can make use of blocking software, such as Betfilter, or PlayScan.
GambleAware – help gamers, and their families, learn more about gaming issues, responsible gaming, and where to find support near you.
Gamcare – provide support, review software blocking and filtering options, and list a number of excellent resources on responsible gaming.
Gambling Therapy – offer free therapy worldwide, via the web, and their own app available for free via their site.