iGaming has become one of the most popular leisure uses for an iPhone. From Candy Crush to Call of Duty, there is a huge variety of ways to pass the time on simple, downloadable games straight from the App Store. But perhaps the most popular type of gaming enjoyed on a mobile device right now is online gambling. Anyone over 18 can play for free or for real money on a massive range of table games like blackjack, roulette and craps, or video slots accessible directly through your mobile browser.
But this type of entertainment comes with a warning – gambling can be highly addictive. There are many stories in the media about the dangers of betting online. So, for those looking to gamble on their iPhone, here is a guide to help you play safely. If you are planning to make any bets through your mobile then we recommend you read this article first.
Only Play at Licensed Sites
Gambling is regulated in the UK by the Gambling Commission. It is illegal to take bets in the UK without first being granted a license by this organisation. And before the license is granted a company must be audited to ensure they are offering safe, fair and secure gambling. Amongst other things the audit process includes checks to see that customer balances will be ringfenced to ensure they are protected in the case of the operator going bankrupt, checks to ensure all game suppliers working with the operator are fully licensed as well, and checks to ensure Responsible Gambling tools are available in each player account.
Tools like these allow the customer to set their own limits on deposits, wagering and losses, as well as shut access to their account for a ‘time out’ period to cool off, or self-exclude entirely if they wish to remove themselves entirely from a gambling platform.
All UK-licensed casinos and sportsbooks must display their license number on their website or app so it’s easy to tell if they are legit or not. You can also find lists of the latest licensed betting sites, casinos and new slot sites on consumer review blogs too. These also provide impartial opinions on the latest betting sites in the UK so they are worth reading before you spend any money.
In short, if you bet at a site that isn’t licensed, then you risk losing your money on rigged software or spending money with an operator who is not following responsible gambling rules, so the first step to safe gambling is to check for that license number.
Choose Safe Apps From the App Store
If you have ever downloaded an app from the App Store – and almost all of us have – then you will know that there is a huge choice available. Whilst 99% of apps are safe and good quality, occasionally a bad one will get through. This becomes a problem when you are making purchases or depositing to an account as you risk losing money or having your financial details compromised. To avoid this, do a sense check by looking at the reviews of your gambling app before you download it. If enough people are giving it the thumbs up then you should feel at ease to go ahead and install it.
Set Your Budget Sensibly
Next, always remember that gambling is entertainment, not a way to earn money. The games and the odds are always set in favour of the house, or the bookie. That is how they make their money, so don’t expect to win every time!
So, treat your betting this way and set yourself a budget for each day, week or month and stick to it. If you win, great, you can carry on betting. But if you lose, walk away rather than chasing down your losses which can lead to more frustration and financial problems.
Set Your Stake Level Sensibly
When you have decided what your budget is, keep this in mind when choosing how much you will stake with each bet. If you want to get more enjoyment out of your gambling then make your money last. Some video slots have stakes as high as £100 per spin. If you budget for the month is just £100, then clearly you don’t want to play at this level. Set the stakes to 10p per play and you’ll get more enjoyment, even if the wins are smaller each time.
Play Games You Understand
It goes without saying that you should only bet on sports or casino games that you understand. Some table games, like Baccarat or Craps, have rules that only the initiated will know. How much you bet may depend on a previous event that impacts the odds of the next one. Simple games like online slots are a good place to start because they are fixed odds machines and therefore don’t require a strategy.
The same goes for sports betting – don’t place money on obscure Olympic sports that you have never heard of in the hope of winning! Of course, you need to understand why your bet didn’t come in or it’s no fun!
Use a Recognised Payment Service
Before you can place a bet you will need to deposit some funds into your casino or sportsbook account. There will be various ways in which you can do this from simple debit card transactions to eWallets like Paypal or Skill. Some operators even take Apple Pay now too. Whichever you choose, make sure it is a service that you recognise and that is itself regulated. Licensed casinos should only offer these payment gateways and there should always be at least one that you are comfortable using. In short, don’t sign up to use any payment option that you haven’t heard of before.
Seek Help If You Are Gambling Too Much
Finally, we should re-iterate that whilst gambling online is a safe and fun hobby for most people, there is always a small percentage of players who get hooked and spend more than they can afford. If you feel that you are spending too much time or money gambling online then you can seek help from one of the many charities in the UK that provide support and information to help tackle addiction. You can find out more about these on the Gamcare.org website.
Above all, if you choose to gamble online, make sure that it is for fun only. So play safe and good luck!