Gambling via online casinos has never been easier in states where they are regulated and available. So, just to be clear, not yet in Illinois. Only Illinois online sportsbooks are currently legal
When Illinois online casinos are legal, all you will need is an Internet connection and a computer or mobile device. You can sign in, set up an account and be pulling on a slot machine or sitting at a blackjack table in a matter of minutes. And, you can gamble anywhere in Illinois.
But since it’s so easy to play, it can also be easy to play too much. There’s where responsible gambling comes in.
Gambling addiction is a real thing that impacts a large segment of our population. According to the National Council on Problem Gaming, two million adults in the US meet severe gambling criteria in an given year.
Online gambling comes with certain safeguards to keep gambling habits from getting out of control, but the burden falls on you to take advantage of these resources.
It may sound incongruous, but gambling providers want to make sure that those playing online are doing so safely and responsibly. Customers who set up voluntary limits play longer, and it’s better for the industry overall if players are protected.
Be smart with your gambling
We are all tempted by the lure of easy money. Once only allowed in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, gambling is now everywhere in America. There are Illinois sports betting websites with big prizes just for signing up, and promotions that keep you coming back for more.
We can’t stress this enough: you need to be smart with your gambling habits.
Online casino players can be spoiled by all the different options they have in front of them. They can click from game to game to find one they like and start playing.
Players may win, but they may also lose, and this is where it gets hard. Players have to recognize that the whole reason they should be in an online casino is to have a little fun, let off some steam, and maybe catch a hot streak.
Your gambling habits should be seen as another entertainment expense, like attending a concert, movie or Broadway show. Once the movie ends, you don’t go back to the ticket counter and hand them more money, so why would you do that gambling?
How the industry sets limits
Online casinos and sportsbooks let you set limits when you sign in to your account. These can be:
- Deposit Limits: How much you can put into your account in a certain timeframe.
- Loss Limits: How much you can lose before getting kicked off.
- Time Limits: How long you can stay logged in and play.
- Betting/Wagers Limits: A pre-set self-limit on how many bets you can make and how much those bets can be.
The online casino wants you to set these limits for yourself. They won’t do it for you. You have to take the responsibility seriously.
States like Illinois, also have exclusion lists. These are lists that you voluntarily sign up for that prohibit you from entering a bricks-and-mortar casino or gambling online. But these lists are not 100% bulletproof. One of the drawbacks of gambling online is the veil of anonymity. You can set up multiple accounts at different online casinos to avoid triggering the punishments from being on an exclusion list.
There’s also downloadable software you can put on your computer, like BeGambleAware and BetBlocker, that can be used by gamblers to self-regulate.
Know when to say when
A lot of times when you walk into a bricks-and-mortar casino, you have a dollar figure in mind of how much you’re willing to lose. This is usually all the cash that you’re bringing in. What analysts have discovered is it might also be smart to think about just how much you’re willing to win.
While online casinos can help you set a loss limit, you can personally set what is called a “win limit.” Hopefully, you hit a run of good luck and come away with a couple hundred bucks, or maybe you just want to double your money.
Where people run into trouble is when they lose and they start “chasing losses.” If it’s not your day at the slot machines or blackjack table, accept it and move on. Losing money is never a good feeling, but don’t make a bad situation worse by putting down more money.
Online gambling is a gateway to exciting games with good prizes and we are all looking to test our luck every so often, but betting smart is good for the casino industry and good for you most of all.
Where in Illinois you can get help for problem gambling
If you do develop a problem, here’s some resources for getting help.
The NCPG lists a number of places in Illinois where you can get help for problem gambling, including:
National Problem Gambling Helpline
Illinois Council on Problem Gambling
Self help resources
• Gamblers Anonymous (www.gamblersanonymous.org)
Is fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from a gambling problem.
• Gam-Anon (www.gam-anon.org)
Is a self-help organization for the spouse, family or close friends of compulsive gamblers.
• GamTalk (www.gamtalk.org)
Is a 24/7 moderated online peer support forum.