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South African’s Guide To Responsible Gambling

Gambling responsibly is something we always encourage. There’s a difference between gambling responsibly and problem gambling, and in this guide, we’re going to show you what these differences are and how you can ensure you always have fun and put your well-being first. 

What is Responsible Gambling?

Responsible gambling means playing in a safe and controlled way, ensuring that your gambling remains a form of entertainment rather than a source of harm. Gambling should always be fun and never a way to make money or escape your problems.

The key principles of responsible gambling include:

1. Informed Choice

You need to be fully informed about the risks associated with gambling and understand the odds and potential outcomes of your bets. The best South African online casinos and sportsbooks will always be transparent about how much you can win and lose so that you can choose your risk level.

2. Knowing When To Stop & Seek Help

When gambling starts to negatively affect your life, it’s important to know that you need to stop and seek help. Numerous resources, such as helplines, counselling services, and support groups, are available to assist you in managing your gambling behaviour.

3. Self-Awareness

You should be aware of your gambling habits, including the time and money you spend on gambling activities. Recognising the signs of problem gambling, such as chasing losses or gambling to escape problems, is crucial for maintaining control.

4. Setting Boundaries & Limits

You should always establish boundaries and set personal limits on the amount of money and time you spend gambling. This helps to keep you accountable and ensures that you don’t spend money you can’t afford to lose. It also ensures that you don’t get too caught up in your gambling activities and neglect other areas of your life. 

Responsible gambling also involves the role of gambling operators and regulatory bodies in creating a safe gambling environment. This includes enforcing regulations, providing resources for problem gamblers, and promoting public awareness about responsible gambling practices. By adhering to these principles, responsible gambling aims to balance the enjoyment of betting real money with the need to protect you from its potential harm.

Tools for Responsible Gambling

To ensure responsible gambling, there are various tools you can use to maintain control and enjoy gambling as a form of entertainment rather than a source of stress. Here are some top tools to help you gamble responsibly:

Reality Checks

Reality check reminders can help you stay aware of the time and money you spend on gambling. These are periodic notifications that pop up while you are gambling to remind you of how long you have been playing and how much you have bet.

Self-Assessment Tests

Online self-assessment tests can help you evaluate your gambling habits. These tests ask questions about your gambling behaviour and provide feedback on whether your gambling is within safe limits or if you might need to seek help.

Self-Exclusion Programmes

If you find it difficult to control your gambling, self-exclusion programmes can be a valuable tool. These programmes allow you to voluntarily ban yourself from accessing gambling sites or entering gambling venues for a specified period.

Setting Limits

All licensed and regulated South African online casinos and sportsbooks allow you to set personal limits on your deposits, losses, and time spent gambling. By setting these limits, you can prevent yourself from spending more money or time than you intended.

By using these tools, you can enjoy gambling in a way that is fun and controlled, ensuring it remains a positive activity in your life.

What is Problem Gambling?

Problem gambling is also known as gambling addiction or compulsive gambling and is when your gambling behaviour begins to disrupt your life. It's not just about losing money; it can affect your relationships, work, and mental health. Understanding the signs of problem gambling is crucial for taking steps toward regaining control.

The Signs of Problem Gambling

One of the first signs is when you find yourself spending more time and money on gambling than you planned. You might start chasing losses, believing that the next big win is just around the corner. This can lead to a vicious cycle where you gamble more to try to recover lost money, which usually leads to even greater losses.

You might also notice that you're thinking about gambling constantly, even when you're not playing. This preoccupation with gambling can make you neglect responsibilities at home, work, or school. Relationships with family and friends may become strained as they notice the changes in your behaviour and the financial strain caused by your gambling.

Another red flag is using gambling as a way to escape from stress, anxiety, or other problems. While gambling might provide temporary relief, it often exacerbates these issues in the long run.

If you find yourself lying about your gambling habits, borrowing money to gamble, or feeling anxious and irritable when you can't gamble, these are serious signs that you need help.

Recognising these signs is the first step toward recovery. Resources such as helplines, counselling services, and support groups are available to help you manage and overcome problem gambling. Taking action now can help you regain control and restore balance in your life.

Tips to Avoid Problem Gambling

To avoid problem gambling, it's essential to adopt healthy habits and strategies that help you stay in control. Here are some practical tips to keep your gambling experience positive and enjoyable:

  • Avoid Chasing Losses

Accept that losing is part of gambling. If you lose money, don't try to win it back by continuing to gamble. This can lead to bigger losses and more significant problems.

  • Balance Gambling with Other Activities

Ensure that gambling is just one of the many recreational activities you enjoy. Engage in other hobbies, spend time with family and friends, and participate in activities that don't involve gambling.

  • Budget Wisely

Only gamble with money you can afford to lose. Avoid using money meant for essential expenses, like bills, rent, or groceries. Treat gambling as an entertainment expense, similar to going to the movies or dining out.

  • Don’t Gamble Under the Influence

Don't gamble when you're under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as these can impair your judgement and lead to risky decisions.

  • Seek Help if Needed

If you ever feel that your gambling is getting out of control, don't hesitate to seek help.

  • Stay Informed

Understand the games you're playing and the odds of winning. Learn about how gambling operates so that you can have reasonable expectations and avoid falling for the promise of sure wins.

  • Set Limits

Decide on a specific amount of money and time you can afford to spend on gambling before you start. Stick to these limits and never exceed them, regardless of whether you're winning or losing.

  • Take Breaks

Regular breaks can help you stay mindful of how much time and money you're spending. Set a timer if necessary, and use breaks to reassess your gambling behaviour and ensure you're staying within your limits.

By following these tips, you can enjoy gambling responsibly and prevent it from becoming a problem in your life.

Resources for Problem Gambling

If you or a loved one has a gambling problem, you are not alone! 

These resources in South Africa provide essential support and treatment if you’re struggling with gambling addiction, and they promote healthier gambling habits and recovery.


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What is responsible gambling?

Responsible gambling refers to policies and practices that work to minimise the negative effects of gaming. They include keeping control of gambling activities, understanding that there is risk involved, setting limits on money and time spent, and seeking help when you know you need it. 

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How can I tell if my gambling is becoming a problem?

If you’re spending more time and money on gambling than you intended to, neglecting your responsibilities, gambling with money earmarked for something else, and experiencing stress or anxiety because of your gambling, you may have a problem. 

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What resources are available for gambling addiction in South Africa?

South Africa offers several resources for those struggling with gambling addiction, including helplines, counselling services, and support groups. The National Responsible Gambling Programme (NRGP) provides a helpline and access to professional treatment services. You can also get help from the South African Responsible Gambling Foundation and Gamblers Anonymous.

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How do self-exclusion programmes work?

Self-exclusion programmes allow you to ban yourself from accessing gambling in any way, shape, or form for a preset period. You can arrange this using a regulatory body or gambling operator in South Africa. 

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What role do gambling operators play in promoting responsible gambling?

Online casino operators must promote responsible gambling tenets and provide information on the risks of gambling. They must also provide self-exclusion options, spot signs of problem gaming, and support public awareness campaigns.

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