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Gambling responsibly online

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We’ve all heard horror stories of people becoming victims of identity theft by using unscrupulous online casinos. Additionally, because the mechanisms of electronic gambling aren’t plainly visible to us, there’s also the possibility that these games are simply taking our money while offering no chance of winning. In spite of this, there are also many Australians who spend their free time gambling online without a problem. If you would like to enjoy the thrill of playing casino games from the comfort of your own home without having to worry about being swindled, you needn’t fear. There are a number of ways for you to be certain that you’re dealing with a safe, fair company.

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Determining whether you have a gambling addiction

People play games primarily for relaxation and entertainment, though nobody can deny the excitement and self-fulfillment one experiences in winning games at the same time. Slots machines, whether they are the hand-operated apparatuses found in casino lobbies worldwide or their online counterparts played on a PC, deliver unparalleled entertainment after a day’s work or during a much-needed vacation. Jackpots, especially those from online progressive slots, make it more attractive. Apparently, for many players, the need to play slots machines has become more than a habit, regardless of how much they win or how big they lose.

Addiction to slots machines is a form of gambling addiction or compulsive gambling. Persons who are addicted to gambling are unable to control the impulse to use their funds to bet. They continue to do so even with the awareness that it is already affecting themselves or the people they are close to. There are currently two compulsive gambler types. The action gambler loves the risk associated with playing and the chance of winning a jackpot. Escape gamblers, on the other hand, play to forget problems.

Slot addicts are often classified under escape gamblers. However, it is also true that people are often lured to play slots machines because of the illusion that they can win with low risk and large payouts.

Early symptoms of slots addiction include playing more often alone or in secret and unnecessary borrowing of money. When a person starts to neglect work or family responsibilities and there is noticeable realignment of finances, it is best to have that person undergo treatment before it gets worse.

There was a time when treating gambling addiction meant avoiding places of gambling. However, simple avoidance is much harder today when new gaming platforms have emerged especially the Internet and now even with mobile phones. The first step then must be to admit that there is a problem. Gamblers must also correctly identify the source of the problem; it is not the environment or how people around them are influencing decisions. They themselves are the root of the issue. Other forms of treatment will only be laid to waste if a gambler does not want to be helped.

Picking the right casino

First and foremost, you should do everything you can to investigate the casino’s reputation. If they’ve been around for a long time, there’s probably a good reason for it. Casinos that build a reputation of having a safe and fair gaming experience tend to build and maintain a loyal base of players. If the company appears to have just sprang up recently, however, it makes sense to err on the side of caution. Gambling is about taking chances, but not the type of chances that involve needless risk.

It is worthwhile to consult others before using a new online casino. If you have friends who gamble online without incident, you should ask them if they’ve heard of the company, and if they trust it. In addition to asking your friends, reading online reviews of the casino is a great way to find out whether or not they have a good reputation. I recommend simply going to your search engine of choice and typing the name of the casino followed by “reviews.” This will generally yield a number of results that link you to reviews by users just like yourself. These reviews are very helpful for understanding the type of experience that the casino offers. If the casino is unsafe or dishonest, you can be certain that people will be complaining loudly.

In addition to finding out about a casino’s reputation through reviews and word of mouth, there are also more official ways to determine whether or not a casino is safe and honest. Most trustworthy online casinos are audited by independent testing agencies, such as the London-based firm, eCOGRA. Casinos that pass the stringent review process of these agencies will usually display an agency seal of some kind, such as the eCOGRA Safe & Fair seal of approval. To be extra safe, you can check the agency’s website to confirm that the casino did in fact pass the inspection. Casinos that are accredited by such agencies will also offer something called a payout report. In a payout report, you can see the percentage of money paid back to players in relation of the total amount gambled. To put it in simple terms, if a casino’s payout for slots is 99 percent, then for every dollar spent on slots, 99 cents were won. You can use this information to be sure that the games aren’t rigged to make you lose.

Online gambling, while occasionally risky, can be a very enjoyable and sometimes profitable activity. If you always remember to read online reviews, search for accreditation such as the eCOGRA seal of approval and read the payout reports, you have nothing to worry about. Have fun, play smart and be safe.

Warning signs

Warning signs that can signify a serious problem:

  1. Gambling more than you can afford to lose, or more than you consider acceptable for entertainment purposes.

  2. Gambling as a form of escapism or as a result of depression.

  3. Losing interest and/or neglectiing your family, friends, and other interests.

  4. Lying to others about the amount of time and money you spend gambling.

  5. Reluctance to spend money on other forms of entertainment or goods you normally enjoy, in order to have more to gamble.

  6. Criticism from others about your gambling habits and/or behavior.

  7. Depression and/or mood swings that relate either directly or indirectly to gambling activity.

  8. Feelings of disappointment, frustration, and despair after or about gambling.

  9. The use or consideration of criminal activities, lying, cheating, and/or theft to fund your gambling activity.

  10. Marked urge to gamble following arguments, disappointments or other negative events.

If you feel you or someone you know may have, or may be at risk of having a gambling problem we strongly encourage you to seek information, advice and assistance from a recognized authority on problem and compulsive gambling.

Responsible gambling includes dedicated effort on the part of both casino and customer to prevent the possibility of underage gambling. If your computer is shared by friends or family under the age of 18 we strongly recommend the use of Netnanny or other similar program to prevent access to sites intended for adults. Additionally, it is the responsiblity of the player to maintain the confidentiality of all account numbers, usernames, passwords, and other private information.

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