Gambling on real money poker is supposed to be a fun pastime. The thrill of potentially winning some money should be the amusement. Everyone wants to win but if you’re depending or relying on winning to make ends meet then there is a problem. Also, gambling shouldn’t consume your day – it should complement your day. Gambling tech and online real-money poker platforms should play their part in stopping addiction.

Deposit Limits

Any online casino or online poker operator that’s reputable should have deposit limits. These keep everyone (not just addicted gamblers) safe from spending too much money. While they can’t stop people from logging on to the apps and being addicted – these can stop the inflicted from losing more money from their addiction. Most of these only allow certain amounts of money to be deposited into an account within a predetermined time which helps with budgeting.

Time Limits on App Usage

Another great tool for app makers is to include the option of a time limiter or exclusion duration. Responsible gambling tech companies should allow users to set pre-determined time limits on the app per day or week so that they only have a certain amount of time to play. Or if they need to remove themselves for a longer period, put the app in a lockdown status so that the user is excluded from using it. Addiction is hard to beat, and the remedy is not always black-and-white. Much like substance abuse, going cold turkey can lead to serious repercussions.

Support Articles and Access to Help

Outside the primary gambling sections of any real money poker site or application, there should be helpful resources. These can be arbitrary hyperlinks or detailed articles on getting help but any reputable site that cares about its customers (and not just their money) will have some kind of access to help for those who are suffering from gambling addictions.

The biggest brands like PokerStars have a whole dedicated section to Responsible Gambling where it has multiple resources for players to get the help they need. Any site regulated by the UK authorities will typically have a good amount of help. However offshore casinos don’t have the same guidelines to follow and don’t usually have the same level of support – if any at all.

Participate in Safer Gambling Campaigns

Online poker and all online gambling platforms have the opportunity to participate in safe gambling campaigns. In the UK the Gambling Commission runs the ‘When the FUN stops STOP’ campaign which promotes gambling for pleasure but suggests to cease when you’ve had your fun. Many operators now feature this message alongside their advertising and on their websites to ensure the message is heard.

Mid-Session Reminders and Alerts

If you’ve ever binge-watched something on Netflix for an excessive amount of time you’ll have probably seen the little pop-up that appears to ensure that you’re still watching the show – as well as reminding you that you’ve probably been sat down for quite a while. So, why don’t poker operators do the same? Well, some do. If you’ve been in the same poker room or just on the app for an extended period, then you’ll get an alert telling you so. Even if it’s just a friendly reminder, it could help someone realise that they need to log out.

Heavy Losses Warning

Okay, this is a contentious idea… but it serves a purpose for all parties. If a player takes multiple heavy losses at the table it’s in everyone’s interest to let them know it’s okay to leave or at least give them the option to do so. While cutthroat operators would simply want to extract every dollar out of the player, those who treat their customers with respect will do better in the long run as players will trust the brand more.

Blocking Devices and User Information

One idea for the future would be to ensure that users can’t simply circumvent the restrictions on one poker platform by simply signing up and playing on another. The advent of a poker passport would allow all sites to prohibit excessive play or all play via identifiable device IDs or unique user IDs. While an overhaul of the way poker accounts are made and regulated could be expensive it would certainly be an efficient way that the responsible gambling tech companies could help prevent addiction.

Safer and More Control Than Ever?

The flip side of the situation is that online gambling should be safer and more accessible than ever, and players should be able to maintain more control than ever when they play on real money poker sites. If you want to try real money poker, click here for the top 10 poker sites, but remember to take a step back and think if you start to lose and feel you’re losing control of the situation.