Online slots are an increasingly popular form of entertainment and most who play, do so for fun and within sensible limits. Some people, however, do develop a problem and due to the nature of slots that can rapidly become a very expensive problem. If you or someone you know does any of the following (either online or in a betting shop or casino) it is time to seek help.
- Neglects work or family responsibilities in order to play slots
- Chases slots losses with increased amounts per spin or extra deposits
- Plays slots with money that was supposed to be used for something else, or on a credit card that isn’t paid off in full
- Borrows money or sells things in order to play slots
- Covers up the amount of time and/or money spent on slots play
- Has tried and failed to stop or cut down on slots play
- Feels bad about their slots play or their losses
Although slots have a high RTP, it is possible to get carried away and spend a lot of money very quickly, especially if you play high variance slots. Online slots sites provide a number of safety measures you can take advantage of to help prevent this from happening.
1) Preset limits – Online slots sites allow you to set daily, weekly and/or monthly limits on deposits, wagers, losses and/or playing time. These could be either preset for the whole period (e.g. the spend amount you set for the month could not be overridden during the month and next month you would be able to set a fresh limit) or have a cooling off period before they could be reset (e.g. 7 days’ notice required of changes to limits). Different sites offer different facilities (check out their Responsible Gambling page before signing up to find out what is available).
2) Temporary time out – Some sites offer this informal, short term cooling off period whereby they will render your account inaccessible for a few days..
3) Self exclusion – this is a formal process and when you self exclude your account is frozen, any monies returned to you, and you are prevented from reactivating it, or opening an new account there or at any other associated site for a minimum of 6 months. The site also undertakes not to send you any marketing material during the self exclusion period.
How you can help prevent underage gambling
Online slots sites are required to exercise due diligence to prevent any accounts being opened by anyone who is not old enough to gamble. In the UK you must be 18 or over to play slots for money (or any other form of gambling apart from the lottery which has a minimum age of 16). What they cannot do is detect and prevent the usage of legitimately opened accounts by underage friends or family members. If children or teenagers have access to your computer, phone or tablet there are some precautions you should consider to safeguard against this
- Log out of your slots account when you have finished playing or need to leave the device unattended
- Don’t have your user name and password saved in the browser or written down anywhere obvious
- Think about installing blocking software to stop specified users from accessing adult sites
Organisations that can help with problem gambling
Gamcare or phone their National Gambling Helpline 0808 8020 133
Gambleaware – an information site
Gamblock – blocks access to gambling sites
Betfilter – blocks access to gambling sites
The Big Deal – for young people
Gambling Therapy Helpline – for expats
Gordon Moody Association – residential program for those with a very severe gambling problem
Gamanon UK – for family members
Royal College of Psychiatrists – official advice leaflet and link to video