UNITED STATES—When done responsibly, gambling online can be a safe and enjoyable experience. There are a huge range of options for playing casino games online or placing wagers on sporting events and by using the right tools you can help to prevent any problematic gambling behaviors.

Firstly, what are some of the signs of harmful gambling behaviors that you can look out for?

One sign that someone’s gambling habits have gotten out of hand is if they are attempting to hide their gambling activities. They may also be neglecting other areas of their life such as their work or family responsibilities and may feel depressed.

Harmful gambling behavior can lead to large financial losses. A problem gambler might also frequently ask to borrow money from friends or family and attempt to win back their losses.

For those with a gambling problem, there are plenty of resources offering help and support. For example, an individual can install GamBlock, which works by blocking all access to online gambling providers.

Another service is GAMSTOP, using this service participants can make it so that they are unable to sign up to or use gambling accounts with any casino or betting operators. The service shares their personal details with a database of cooperating gambling providers who will then prohibit them from accessing their games.

Thankfully, most gambling operators have now put a number of measures in place to help prevent harmful gambling behaviors from developing in the first place.

One example is 888casino who have their 888+ Responsible initiative. The Swedish site complies with rules set by The Swedish Gaming Inspectorate licensing and supervisory authority and requires all players to log in using BankID.

Deposit Limits

Deposit limits are a common feature on gambling websites, they are a useful tool for all players as they can prevent you from getting carried away during all the excitement of a gambling session.

Using a deposit limiting tool, players can tell the operator the maximum they are winning to wager in a given time period. The website will then stop them from going over this account if they attempt to continue playing beyond their chosen limit.

Also, if you want to increase the deposit limit this cannot be done instantaneously and will have to wait a set period of time before you can deposit the higher amount.

Stake and Loss Limits

Many websites will also allow you to set a loss limit. Once you have lost the specified amount you will be unable to place any more bets for a set period of time. Similarly, the stake limit prevents you from betting more than you have previously agreed to in one go.

Session Time Limits

Often you can also decide how long you would like to be allowed to play for in one session, you set a time limit and then the system will stop you from continuing when that limit has been reached. Sites usually have a standard time limit in place if you haven’t selected your own.

For example, if playing continuously for over 20 minutes you may get a pop-up message asking you if you would like to take a break before playing anymore games. Session limits are really helpful for those who sometimes lose track of time and play for longer than they initially intended to.

If a player finds themselves at risk of irresponsible gambling, they can choose to take a time out. Setting up a time out will block their account on a gambling website for a set period of time, this could be one 24 hours or for weeks or months at a time.

Self-exclusion

If you feel that you need to take a longer break you can request to be excluded from a gambling site for 6 to 12 months. This works in a similar way to GamBlock but is specific to the game provider you are playing with.

Self-exclusion from a specific site can be helpful if you find yourself getting carried away with a certain game and can give you the space to focus on other things outside of gambling.

Whether you are someone who frequents gambling websites regularly, or someone who only wagers on rare occasions, all players must take precautions to ensure that they play responsibly and do not develop any harmful gambling behaviors. Taking the time to use the tools available to you will enable you to have safe and enjoyable experiences when playing online.