Gambling can be a great way to pass an afternoon or evening as long as the gambler can afford to lose whatever they take with them to a casino. However, problems start to arise when the gamblers start streaming to the ATMs to get money from their bank accounts and cash advances from their credit cards. Now, problem gamblers have new problems with online casinos popping up all over the Internet, and now all they have to do is to log into their computers and find an online casino that will give them what they perceive to be a good chance at winning. The real problems with online casinos are that they cannot be trusted to use random generators like the land-based casinos use in their slot machines, and since almost all of the online casinos are based overseas, when problems do arise getting compensated is a multi-year, and very expensive task.
Problem gamblers usually think that the slot machine that they were playing on was about to pay off when they run out of money, or that the table they were playing on was about to turn around and start paying off, so they diligently line up at the ATM, or re-enter the online casino’s cashier to make another deposit, usually using one of their credit cards. Gambling on credit is just wrong at so many levels. Problem gamblers personify all of the negative aspects of casinos, and gambling in general, as they take gambling to new heights and end up losing everything just trying to break even.
Online casinos push problem gamblers to invest more money into their habits by offering match bonus offers where the gambler is given a bonus in the form of a percentage of their deposit; make a deposit of $500 and get $250 free to increase your playing power, or deposit even more and get an even bigger bonus. If they were to offer this at land-based casinos, they would be full year round with problem gamblers; the problem is that when using online casinos, the concept that it is real money that they are losing escapes them.
However, one major problem with the match bonuses that online casinos offer gamblers is that they come with sometimes overly large play through requirements, which mean that the gambler has to make a certain amount of wagers in order to cash out any winnings, or even what remains of their balance once they decide that they have had enough; problem gamblers are being forced to play more in order to get what little money they have left in their online casino account. If the gambler has $1,000 left in their account, which they started with $5,000 and got a $2,500 match bonus for they would have to make at least $75,000 in wagers in order to cash any amount of money out. Many online casinos have much larger play through requirements, some over 100 times the bonus money given but the average is about 75 times the bonus money given.
Gamblers and especially problem gamblers should be given the opportunity to cash out any portion of the money that they have deposited, with no play through requirements. It is understandable that the online casinos would want gamblers to make a large number of wagers in order to cash out winnings since those winnings were won with the power of the bonus money that they were given by the online casino when they made their deposit(s). However, there should be a clause that the gambler can cash out all of their deposits at any time, even if they have to accept a clause that they never gamble again at that online casino or even at any of that online casino’s sister sites.
All casinos, land-based and online alike have self-exclusion programs where gamblers can sign up and the next time they arrive at the casino they would not be allowed in. This is a great program for gamblers who know that they have a problem, but it is a band aid solution for problem gamblers as the damage has already been done by the point that they ask for help from the casino. The excitement of winning can soon outweigh the need to win back what the gambler has lost, and all of a sudden they are gambling their futures away, as well as the futures of their marriages and jobs, just for the chance to win back what they have already lost.
Aside from spending a lot of money just trying to break even, problem gamblers now have the Internet to worry about as well, as if driving to one of the ritzy casinos was too time consuming. Now, all gamblers have to do is log into their favourite online casino and spend their futures away, not knowing that many of the games could be fixed by not using random generators. Let’s be realistic, people do not gamble hoping to win a hundred dollars, they gamble trying to win big; they want to win new car money not toy car money and breaking even is never good enough.
One of the biggest problems that gamblers face when playing at online casinos is figuring out which online casinos are legitimate and offer gamblers a chance at winning as there are way too many sites that use nefarious means to take gamblers’ money away from them. There are websites that offer lists of online casinos that have had either personal or government agency complaints listed against them, as well as those that have a lot of complaints filed against them with regulatory bodies, banks and online casino rating websites. There are websites that offer advice for problem gamblers but the real problem remains that problem gamblers only realize that they have a problem after the damages have been incurred.
Many countries have regulations that disallow people from using their credit cards to fund their online gambling habits and thereby building up major debts that they will not be able to pay back. Bankruptcies follow problem gamblers like rainbows follow a rainstorm; they are usually there and the only thing standing in the way of seeing them is a person opening their eyes. However, there are now ways for people to circumvent these laws and deposit money from their credit cards to online sites that then transfer their money into the gambling sites, like Entropay, MoneyBookers and InstaDebit.
Once a problem gambler realizes they have a problem they can have all of the online casinos exclude them from being able to use their sites simply by clicking on a link provided to them in the casino’s lobbies. But again there is a problem here, as the problem gambler has to log in to the casinos in order to setup personal exclusions and thereby exposes them to more gambling as they may take one last stab at winning the big one.
Until gamblers have the option to exclude themselves from all gambling sites with one single, irreversible click of their computer mouse key, they only have the power of self-control to stop the money bleeding. The problem is that their lack of self-control is what got them into major losses and debts in the first place. Until people are limited to a percentage of their monthly income for gaming purposes there will always be bankruptcies and other financial and personal ruinations for people who gamble, either online or at a real casino.