My Responsible Gaming Habits – How I Stay in Control When I Play

Responsible Gaming Tools, Tips, Resources - MGJ
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It’s Important to Keep Real-Money Gaming Fun

I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts that at some point I would touch on responsible gaming and how I personally stay in control of my online gambling.

Well, here it is! 😁

Just remember, what I do isn’t necessarily what you should do or what will work for the type of playing experience you want.

I Set and Follow My Own Online Gaming Rules

  • I play only at home – I limit my online gambling to my home. I don’t play during my commute, on work break, in a waiting room, or anywhere else. I always want to play in a distraction-free and comfortable environment.
Responsible Gaming - Setting a Manual Timer on Phone - MGJ
  • I set my own personal timer – Yes, I actually set a 60-minute timer⏱️(sometimes 30-minutes depending on how long I choose to play) on my phone when I sit down to play. No matter what’s happening in a game, when that timer goes off, I finish the round I’m playing (win or lose – real money or not) and sign off.
  • I don’t gamble every day – For me, a big part of responsible gaming is not gambling online every day. I enjoy it twice, and occasionally three times a week if I have a holiday. I want gambling, just like video gaming🎮, to remain a fun pastime. I don’t want it to become a habit.
  • I avoid the gamble feature on slots games – Some slots have a special feature that lets you gamble wins immediately after you’ve won, known as a “Gamble Feature” or “Gamble Bonus”. In case you don’t know what this is, in games that have this feature, if you spin the reels and hit a winning payline, you then have the option to “Collect” your winnings or “Gamble” the full amount (or sometimes part of the amount) you won for the chance to double your money in a 50/50 coin flip-style game. However, if you play and lose in the gamble feature, the money you won from the winning payline will be lost. This feature thankfully isn’t permitted in Ontario online casinos. If it was though, personally, I don’t need to add even more risk to my game. I’ll collect what I win, thanks👍.
  • I don’t use auto-spin for slots – Auto Spin or Auto Play (in case you don’t know) allows a player to place the same bet on a game consecutively and automatically, a set number of times (e.g. 20 times in a row). In other words, the reels keep spinning automatically, game after game, without you having to do anything. This is another feature that is not permitted in Ontario online casinos. Again, I’m fine with this. Personally, I like to spin the reels manually🎰. Not only do I feel like I’m participating in the game when I do, but when I manually place a bet and spin each and every time, I lower the risk of accidentally risking more than I want. It seems silly, but it’s surprisingly quite easy to lose track of your budget playing slots, if you’re not careful😵.  
  • I play sober – I’m not about to lie to you and say I’ve never had a drink 🍸 and gambled at the same time. I have done this when I’ve gambled at a local land-based casino. That said, it’s not the best idea and it’s really something I avoid when I gamble online in the comfortable setting of my home.  I want to always be in control when I’m spending my money. Alcohol loosens inhibitions🥴. The more I drink, the easier it is to be carefree and make choices I would normally think twice about before making. Playing sober and responsible gaming go hand in hand in my world.
  • I play when I feel normal – I avoid gambling if I’m in a bad mood, if I’m in too good of a mood, or if I’m anxious, frustrated, or feel the need to escape. Being emotionally balanced and level-headed is as important to me as being sober when I play.

I Make Good Use of the Responsible Gaming Tools Available

All legitimate online casinos should have a responsible gaming section. This is a section that is dedicated to providing tools, tips, information, and resources to help you to stay safe as you play on their site. I always look at what is available in this section, make use of the tools and inform myself about the resources.

Responsible Gaming Tools, Tips, Resources - MGJ

Currently the tools I use are:

  • Time tracking – A timer is on every game that I play. It’s useful to glance at it from time to time to remind myself how long I’ve been playing.
  • Setting Limits
    • Deposit limit – Currently, I set a maximum total deposit amount per week (though day and month deposit limits are also an option, and I can have all available limits active independently and at any time). Once I’ve reached the limit I set, I won’t be able to make any more deposits until the period I’ve selected is over (so for me, that would be the following week).
    • Loss Limit – I set a limit to the amount I can lose weekly. Just like deposit limits, I can also set daily and monthly loss limits.
  • Take self-assessment tests – Every once in a while, I take a self-assessment test just to make sure I still feel the same way about gambling. It’s a quick test (takes a minute or less to do) and it asks a series of yes or no questions (e.g., “After a win, did you have a strong urge to return and win more?”, etc.) It’s important to be completely honest when answering the questions. My answers have always been “No”, but if I were to ever answer “Yes” to one of them, I would seriously think about restricting my gambling activity.

Other responsible gaming tools that are available (and should be available) though I have never used them and hope to never use them (though I’m glad they are there) include:

  • Taking a break – a cooling off period where you can lock yourself out of your account for a block of time (e.g., 24 hours, a week, a month, or longer).
  • Self-Exclusion – Restricting access to your account for a minimum of 6 months up to 5 years.

As for resources, the ones listed at the casino I play at include:

Software to block gambling access

I personally haven’t used either software, though I am thinking of using NetNanny when my niece and nephew come to visit in the summer (just to be safe).  If you’d like to learn more about either software, I’ve hyperlinked them.

Online Blackjack - American Blackjack GVG - MGJ - Image 6

Advice and Support (for players from Ontario)

Responsible Gaming Keeps Gaming Fun

I genuinely believe that responsible gaming is what helps to keep gambling fun. I think anyone who chooses to gamble online, at a land-based casino, with friends in their own home, or any venue for that matter, should do so responsibly. In other words, we should always do our best to be self-aware and exercise self-control when we risk our hard-earned money. 

Every one of us has limits, should know our limits, and stick to them. As fun and thrilling as gambling can be, it does involve risking money and should be taken seriously, always. If we’re not careful to give ourselves a reality check every so often, any one of us can transition from having casual fun to forming problem gambling habits such as playing too much, risking too much, chasing our losses, trying to beat the casino, or making gambling a priority over things in our lives that are actually important.

Know Your Limits - Responsible Gaming - MGJ

Ultimately, I know that my opinion about responsible gaming and the choices I make to stay in control is not what everyone else believes or might choose to do. But I don’t make decisions based on what other people do, I know myself and my limits, and do what’s best for me.

I hope you do what’s best for you too, so your gambling experiences will always be safe and enjoyable. 😀

Until next time, good luck and have fun!

Mia 👩‍💻

P.S. Wishing all my Canadian readers 🇨🇦 who celebrate Victoria Day, a safe and happy May long weekend! *All links included in this post are for information purposes only.

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