Gambling online is a great source of entertainment to be enjoyed with friends and other gamers from all over the world.
When treated with respect, it can create a thriving community that allows its users to recreate the magic of a live casino hall, from the comfort of their own homes.
Many people enjoy the thrill of playing their favourite casino games online, however, when it becomes a constant preoccupation or is seen as a way to solve serious financial problems, it goes from being an enjoyable pastime to a dangerous habit that can quickly escalate.
All good betting agencies know that they must promote the dangers of gambling addiction. If you find yourself losing interest in your other hobbies, withdrawing from friends and family and spending all your time betting, you could have a problem - particularly if you're having to borrow money to pay back debts and losses.
In this event, you should contact The National Responsible Gambling Program, which offers free support to those in need. If, however, you don't consider yourself addicted to betting, but are looking for some responsible gaming tips to help keep your hobby from becoming a problem, read on to find out more:
Firstly, it's important to begin with a realistic view of what betting will actually bring to your life.
Beware of falling into the trap of thinking it will solve your financial woes or help you pay debts and bills. Instead, try to see it for what it is: a fun and entertaining hobby.
Secondly, set money aside for gambling and don't exceed your budget. It's all too easy to chase your losses by putting more money on the table, but you shouldn't do this if you'd be putting yourself or your family in serious financial jeopardy.
Only gamble what you actually have, and never borrow money to facilitate it.
If you know you have a hard time exercising self-control when it comes to your money, it might be worth keeping a separate account for betting.
This way, it becomes easier to keep track of what you're spending, preventing you from accessing money intended for other purposes - i.e. bills or rent.
As well as allowing yourself a budget to play with, it's also important to allocate a certain amount of hours during the day/week for betting.
If you enjoy gambling, it might be easy for you to see how it could creep into your other day-to-day responsibilities and stop you considering it a treat or an enjoyable hobby.
You should also refrain from drinking alcohol when you play. Alcohol is proven to lower inhibitions, so it could impair your decision-making and cause you to overspend.
The possible exception to this rule is when you're playing as part of a group and agree to keep one another accountable. Even then, you should still try to drink responsibly.
Playing as part of a group (whether physically or as part of an online community) will help you to continue playing as a fun pastime rather than a personal habit.
Doing anything habitually alone and in secret - be it gambling, drinking or something else entirely - is one of the first signs of addiction, so keep your family or friends in the loop.
Lastly, any betting expert will tell you to play during the good times - that is, when you feel positive and happy - rather than turning to it as an escape or solution during times of emotional or financial difficulty.
By following these steps, you should be able to contain your spending and continue to enjoy gaming as a fun and fulfilling pastime.