Gambling is meant to be fun, but if it stops being fun, you have to stop gambling and seek help. Reading the contents of this webpage may be your very first step to getting help.

This page provides exhaustive information about the following:

  • Everything you need to know about responsible gambling
  • Signs of problem gambling
  • How to gamble responsibly
  • Support for SA problem gamblers

Responsible Gambling – Everything You Need to Know

Responsible gambling refers to all the social responsibility initiatives that the gambling industry, including lawmakers, regulators, operators, and software providers, takes to make sure that gambling establishments, products, and services are fair and honest and to make consumers aware of gambling-related harm.

If that sounds confusing, let us break it down.

  • When you play responsibly, you have fun and stick to your bankroll limits.
  • When an online or land-based casino supports responsible gambling, it makes you aware of the harm associated with gambling, guides you to non-profit organizations that provide support for problem gambling, and encourages you to use player protection tools to gamble responsibly.

The strict gambling regulations of jurisdictions that grant licenses to online casinos require them to support responsible gambling. That’s why we encourage our South African players to play at online casinos that have a section for responsible gambling.

Licensed online casinos encourage their players to gamble responsibly and tell them everything they need to know about the subjects of problem gambling, gambling addiction, and responsible gambling.

As part of their responsible gambling policies, they offer the following gambling management tools to help customers stay within their bankroll limits.

Self-assessment Test: You can take a self-assessment test to measure the extent of your control over your gambling activities. This test or a link to it is available in the responsible gambling section of your online casino.

Setting Limits: All licensed South African online casinos encourage and allow their players to set the following limits:

  • Deposit Limits: Set daily, weekly, or monthly limits on the amount of money you can deposit.
  • Win/Loss Limits: Set limits on the amount of money you can win or lose in one gambling session.
  • Gambling Session Limits: Set limits on the time you can spend at the online casino.
  • Betting Limits: Set limits on the amount you can bet per spin or round of the games.

Reality Check: On your request, online casinos give you reality checks periodically, letting you know exactly how much money you have won or lost and the length of your gambling session.

Cooling-off or Time-out: Take a break from gambling activities for a few hours, days, weeks, or even months. You won’t be able to log into your account during the time-out or cooling-off period.

Self-exclusion: Request the online casino to exclude you from its services for a few days, weeks, months, or even years. You can also request permanent self-exclusion if things get too bad. You won’t be able to log into your gaming account after that, and the online casino won’t send you any promotional emails or text messages.

In addition, South African online casinos that support responsible gambling guide their players to non-profit organizations that can give them the required support. If you are no longer having fun while gambling, get in touch with customer support and they will help you.

Signs of Problem Gambling – How Problem Gamblers Behave

Problem gambling refers to any gambling behaviour pattern that can have a negative impact on your life.

Watch out for the following problem gambling signs in yourself or in someone you love:

  • Spending too much money or time at online or land-based casinos
  • Getting into pointless arguments with friends and family members after a gambling session
  • Chasing your losses with the desperate hopes of winning them back
  • Feeling guilty after a gambling session
  • Borrowing or stealing money for gambling
  • Selling assets to raise money for gambling
  • Using funds saved for purposes such as education, groceries, medical expenses, and so on for gambling
  • Using illegal ways of raise funds for gambling
  • Gambling during work or school hours
  • Hiding gambling problems from near and dear ones
  • Withdrawing from social life
  • Giving up previous interests, hobbies, and passions
  • Refusing to spend time with family members and friends

If this is you or someone you know, you must get help at the earliest possible.

How to Gamble Responsibly

You can avoid problem gambling by gambling responsibly. All responsible gamblers consider gambling to an entertaining activity, not a way to raise quick funds or make a living. They are aware that the house wins in the long run and stay in control of their gambling activities.

How do you gamble responsibly? Here are a few tips to help you:

Never Exceed Your Gambling Budget – We all know that the jackpots are huge, but that is no reason to wager all your money on them. Setting limits is important if you don’t want to leave the casino broke and dejected.

Use the online casino’s player protection tools to stick to your gambling budget. Set daily, monthly, and weekly deposit limits to avoid depositing more than you can afford. Also set gambling session limits and win/loss limits to establish control over your gambling activities.

Doing the above ensures that gambling continues to be a fun activity.

Consider Gambling as Entertainment – As we have already mentioned, you should understand that gambling is a fun activity. So you should never gamble to earn a living. Instead, you should gamble only with money you don’t mind losing and have fun while doing so.

Avoid Chasing Losses – A responsible gambler knows exactly when to quit. Establish a gaming session limit and stop playing when you have lost or won a specific amount. Chasing your losses doesn’t guarantee a win; on the contrary, it leads to loss and frustration.

Understand that Gambling Games Are Luck Based – Almost all gambling games, with the exception of poker and blackjack, are based on luck alone. You will win only if you are lucky. No strategy on earth can help you win at casino games.

Don’t Use Borrowed Funds – We do not advocate using credit cards as a deposit option unless you have perfect control over your gambling activities. When you fund your account with a credit card, you are using borrowed money, and one of the basic principles of responsible gambling is to gamble only if you can afford it.

Don’t Gamble to Deal with Life Problems – Gambling does not solve serious life problems. So do not gamble if you are struggling with addictions, breakups, or mental health issues. Also, avoid gambling when you are drunk or in a bad mood.

Take Help if Required – Have you lost control over your gambling activities? Has it stopped being as fun or as entertaining as it once was? This is a sign that you need help.
Talk to a customer support agent about it. Or confide in a friend or family member. There is plenty of support for problem gamblers and gambling addicts. So you shouldn’t hesitate to get help.

Help & Support for SA Problem Gamblers

South Africa’s gambling industry has grown steadily in the past few decades. The number of casinos in South Africa is the largest in the continent, and not all of them are legal. Plus, South African players can choose from several offshore online casinos that accept them and allow them to wager in ZAR.

While it has boosted the economy and created jobs for the local people, it has also led to problem gambling and gambling addiction. More than 70% of young South Africans say that they gamble to make money and the rest say that they either succumb to peer pressure or live in a family of gamblers.

Do not despair if you have a problem with gambling. Just visit one of the non-profit organizations we have listed below to get all the support you need, free of cost.

South African Responsible Gambling Foundation (SARGF)

A non-profit established in June 2000 in response to the increase in problem gambling and gambling addiction among South Africans, the SARGF functions through its flagship program National Responsible Gambling Programme (NRGP).

As it is a public-private initiative, it operates with the help of funds obtained from gambling sites, land-based casinos, bingo halls, and other gambling establishments. As a non-profit organization devoted to preventing and treating gambling problems, the SARGF has already helped more than 18,500 problem gamblers through various treatment methods.

All the services at SARGF are available round the clock and free of cost. These services include inpatient and outpatient programmes along with telephonic and face-to-face counselling by qualified professionals. Depending on your progress, you may have to undergo up to 10 counselling sessions.

If your condition is severe, you may have to take inpatient services at SARGF, and this may last up to 28 days. The SARGF assigns you to highly qualified clinicians, psychiatrists, and psychologists who will work with you till you are ready to go home as a new person.

Contact details of the SARG:

  • Telephone Numbers: +27 11-026-7323 (office), +27 21-674-5830 (international)
  • Address: Sunnyside Ridge Office Park, Building B, 1ST Floor, 32 Princess of Wales, Parktown, Johannesburg

National Responsible Gambling Programme (NRGP)

If you need gambling help, simply dial the NRGP’s toll-free line 0800-006-008. It is available round the clock and offers assistance in nine different languages.

The NRGP receives thousands of calls every year and many of them are specifically related to problem gambling issues. Its national network comprises hundreds of qualified professionals who provide free counselling and treatment services to thousands of problem gamblers. The NRGP refers some of them for inpatient treatment and treats most of them over several outpatient sessions.

Recovery Direct

Launched to overcome the flaws in plans and programs to help people suffering from stress, anxiety, and addiction, Recovery Direct is a treatment and care centre comprising a large network of specialists in personal growth and mental health issues. They work in collaboration to meet the inter-related issues of the people who approach them for support and assistance.

Contact details of Recovery Direct:

  • Telephone Numbers: The helpline 087-378-1330 is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Whatsapp number 079-235-7415 is available for calls round the clock.
  • Email: Send an email to enquiries@recoverydirect.net.
  • Online Contact Form: It is available on their website: https://www.recoverydirect.co.za/
  • Address: 8 Klein Constantia Road, Klein Constantia, Cape Town, South Africa

Gamblers Anonymous SA

As its name suggests, Gamblers Anonymous SA allows you to receive treatment for problem gambling anonymously through a 12-step recovery program. Anybody who wishes to stop gambling can join Gamblers Anonymous. The organization has no membership rules.

Contact details:

  • Hotline: 072-055-8942 for Western Cape
  • Online Contact Form: You will find it on their website.