Rob Mabbett, Engagement Director at Better Change, shares his top tips for ensuring that your online casino play remains positive and fun at all times

Whether it is a bet on the horses, a game of bingo, a spin on the slots or the turn of a card, millions of people worldwide enjoy gambling and playing at online casinos. For hundreds of years, people have been pitting their wits against each other trying to profit by predicting the outcome of an event.

But what makes gambling so popular and why do we need to talk about safer gambling? The answer to that is risk.

Safer gambling is about managing risk, it is not about winning or losing, anyone who gambles for entertainment should do so only with money they can afford to lose. It is also not a remedy for someone who is experiencing severe harm as a result of gambling, in these cases it is always best to speak to a specialist and the national gambling helpline is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week on 0808 8020 133 for anyone who has concerns about their own or a loved ones gambling.

Ultimately, it is about understanding how gambling works and being able to select a level of risk you are comfortable with whilst at the same time still having fun. Here are some tips to help you play positively and safely.

The house always wins

Actually, this is not true! Some people do win at gambling otherwise nobody would do it. If you won £1 million on the lottery and continued playing twice a week it would take the best part of 1,000 years to lose it all. The house has an edge, it has an advantage and that is all it needs to be a profitable business.

Take a slots game, for example. All games have a Return to Player (RTP) percentage which is typically over 90% and this means that on average the game will keep less than 10% of the monies staked. The thing is, this is calculated over thousands and thousands of spins, and there is no guarantee when the game is going to “pay out”.

Whilst we are on that subject…….

The odds of winning are not influenced by the game’s history

In a game of roulette, bingo or slots, each game is independent and the odds of winning remain the same regardless of what has happened before. Like the flip of a coin, it is easy to think that a run may end or continue but the truth is every flip has a 50/50 chance of being heads, even if there have been several results of tails previously.

Believing that a game is due to pay out or a team is due a win is known as a gambler’s fallacy. If you are getting feelings like this don’t panic, we have all been there but it is probably time to take a break.

Go at your own pace

Not only are there lots of different games to choose from, but there are various ways to play each game, too. A game’s “volatility” i.e. the speed and risk level of a game, can be changed depending on the strategy you deploy.

Let’s use roulette as an example. If you have £10 to spend you may choose to put it all on one number therefore going for the highest win possible in the shortest amount of time. This is a volatile strategy; you may win big but the chances are you will lose. You may place all your budget on red or black, this is still volatile in terms of speed but less volatile in terms of risk.

A conservative strategy would be to use a fraction of your budget and place multiple bets covering a range of options – this reduces the amount that you could potentially win in one go but it will increase the longevity of your session.

Everyone has a different appetite for risk and speed, there is nothing wrong with playing a riskier game as long as you are aware of the terms of the bet. Likewise, few people will want to play slowly with very little risk as there would be little enjoyment in the game. The truth is that most people are somewhere in the middle.

Have a plan

Armed with this information, being able to find your sweet spot in terms of a level of volatility, risk and spend that you are happy with is a great example of Positive Play.

Casino games, slots and bingo all have different levels of volatility. You can usually find this information in the game’s paytable, as well as its return to player percentage. Use this information to determine if it’s the right game for you.  

The same goes for the safer gambling tools available. A lot of advice will tell you to set a spend limit, and this is fine but if you keep hitting your weekly limit within a day you may be playing the wrong game at the wrong volatility for you and you will likely be left frustrated and tempted to exceed your limit or open multiple accounts.

Instead, look at all the options available as you may want to set a time limit or only permit gambling on certain days or at certain times of the day. What’s more, it may be that you want to set a profit limit so that you walk away at a certain point if you win or you might want to take a break and activate a time out.

Using these tools is a positive way to play and is not an indication that you have an issue with gambling.

Enjoy playing your way and remember that the casino you are playing at is there to help, as are support organisations if you get into difficulty.

Let’s keep talking about safer gambling.

An important word on responsible gambling

Online casino is fun and enjoyed by millions of people across the UK. But it’s important that it does stay fun and that you remain in control of your play. Because we only partner with UK-licenced online casinos, each of the brands listed on Comparasino offers the tools you need to do this.

 

But some of these tools might be unfamiliar and it can also be tough to determine if you, or a family member or friend, could potentially have a gambling problem. That’s why we’ve created a Safe Gaming Hub where you can find information about all the responsible gambling tools offered at online casinos, how they work and which ones might be best for you.

 

It also contains insights into some of the early signs of problem play to be aware of in yourself and others as well as direct access to charities and organisations that support those with problem gambling habits.

Head to the Safe Gaming Hub