Responsible Gambling

Casino games are a great source of entertainment, but they can have adverse effects if you don’t approach them with the correct mindset. This article provides valuable advice on how to gamble responsibly by:

  • Giving You Practical Tips For Gambling Responsibly: Discover effective strategies for managing your gambling habits and ensure they remain fun and under control.
  • Explaining Early Warning Signs: Learn about the potential dangers of gambling and how to recognise early signs of a developing gambling problem.
  • Providing Contact Details To And Professional Counseling: Find out where to seek help if you or someone you know needs support with gambling-related issues.

What You’ll Learn On This Page

What Is Responsible Gambling?

The promotion of responsible gambling signifies a commitment to ensuring your safety and well-being, by implementing measures to help you prevent gambling-related harm.

It upholds fairness, protects vulnerable individuals, and promotes a secure and transparent gambling environment.

These are the core principles of responsible gambling practices that licensed online casinos must follow:

  • Fairness and Transparency – Casinos may only offer fair and transparent games, providing you the chance to win and fostering trust in the gaming environment.
  • Age Verification – Casinos must prevent minors from gambling by enforcing strict age verification processes.
  • Self-Exclusion – Casino sites must offer you the option to self-exclude yourself from their sites if you feel you’re losing control.
  • Gambling Limits – Online casinos must provide tools that limit how much money and time you spend on their sites.
  • Advertising Regulations—Casinos must adhere to strict marketing practices that prevent them from making misleading claims and targeting vulnerable age groups.
  • Support Resources – Provides resources and support if you may develop gambling problems, offering assistance and information on how to seek help.
  • Legal Compliance – Casinos must comply with national and international laws and regulations in all relevant jurisdictions.

Responsible Gambling and Gambling Licenses

Responsible gambling obligations vary based on the licensing authority.

This is precisely why it’s good to know the main authoritative bodies and their licensings’ weight:

  • UK (UKGC): The UK Gambling Commission enforces strict responsible gambling practices. Operators must verify player identities, set deposit and withdrawal limits, and provide comprehensive responsible gambling tools, including self-exclusion and cooling-off periods.
  • Malta (MGA): The Malta Gaming Authority regulates online gambling and emphasizes player protection, responsible gambling, and compliance. Licensees must offer tools like self-exclusion and deposit limits.
  • Curaçao: The Gaming Control Board regulations are more lenient, with fewer mandatory responsible gambling measures. Operators must meet basic requirements, but player protection tools are less comprehensive.

UKGC Licensing Requirements

For a casino to operate in the UK, it must comply with the following responsible gambling practices outlined by the UKGC:

  • Verification requirements: UK casinos must verify all customers’ ages and identities via mandatory Know Your Customer (KYC) processes.
  • Responsible gambling tools: Casinos must provide a set of comprehensive gambling management tools such as reality checks, gambling limits, and time-outs.
  • Advertising restrictions: The CAP Code mandates that gambling ads shouldn’t attract children or young people by mirroring or being linked to youth culture. Moreover, ads mustn’t feature individuals or characters who are likely to be emulated by minors under 18 years old, or who have a strong appeal to that age group, including sports figures and celebrities.
  • Cooling-off periods are enforced: After your self-exclusion period ends, you must have a one-day cooling-off period and contact the operator via telephone or in person, to ensure you’ve carefully considered your decision to resume gambling.

MGA Licensing Requirements

Many casinos are licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority, which has outlined the following responsible gambling practices:

  • Verification requirements: Similar to UKGC, the MGA requires all licensed casinos to verify their customers’ identities via mandatory KYC processes.
  • Responsible gambling tools: The MGA mandates that online casinos provide gambling limits and cool-off periods. Moreover, MGA-licensed casinos must provide you with self-assessment tests and support services for problem gambling, to guarantee that you have access to all the necessary resources to gamble responsibly.
  • Advertising restrictions: Ads are regulated to prevent targeting minors by implementing restrictions on where and when they can be displayed, and prohibiting marketing content that might appeal to children.
  • Cooling-off periods: Typically range from a few days to several months. You can choose a duration that suits your needs, with the option to extend the period if necessary.

Curacao Licensing Requirements

Curaçao is the laxest of these three licensing bodies, with minimal responsible gambling obligations and less emphasis on player protection.

  • Verification requirements: You must undergo a verification process to ensure compliance with anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing (CFT) regulations. This includes providing identification documents and proof of address.
  • Responsible gambling tools: By collaborating with organizations like Fundashon pa Maneho di Adikshon to combat gambling addiction, Curacao-licensed casinos provide resources and tools you can use to manage your gambling behaviour and seek help if needed.
  • Advertising restrictions: Marketing campaigns must avoid appealing to individuals under the legal gambling age and must include clear warnings about the risks associated with gambling.
  • Cooling-off periods: These range from a day to three months. During this period, your account is temporarily deactivated, and access to gambling services is restricted. The account will automatically reactivate once the period ends.

How to Gamble Responsibly

Responsible gambling is crucial to ensure that the experience remains enjoyable and doesn’t negatively impact your life.

Here are some tips to help maintain a healthy mindset:

  1. Set a budget for your gambling and stick to it: Be disciplined about how much money you spend gambling. Set aside a gambling budget you can afford and ensure you stick to it. If you find yourself dipping into funds you hadn’t allocated for gambling, you may very well be on your way to developing a gambling problem.
  2. Set time limits for your gambling sessions: Time flies when you’re having fun. Decide on what’s a reasonable amount of time to spend gambling and use responsible gambling tools to track the time you spend playing.
  3. Don’t chase losses: You should look at losses as a calculated expense for your gambling entertainment. Never keep playing to recuperate losses. If you catch yourself thinking along these lines, you’re definitely developing an unhealthy mindset towards your gambling.
  4. Only gamble for entertainment purposes: Never view your gambling as a potential source of income. The house always wins, and you must view your gambling as an expense.
  5. Never gamble when you’re upset or stressed: If you get upset or stressed while playing, it’s time to take a break. You’ll never make rational decisions when you’re upset.
  6. Don’t gamble under the influence of alcohol or drugs: Gambling under the influence is a big no-no. Alcohol and drugs impact your decision-making ability, and mixing them with gambling is asking for trouble.
  7. Seek help if you feel gambling is becoming a problem: If you start noticing you’re developing unhealthy gambling habits, you must act sooner rather than later. Tackling a potential problem before it spirals out of control can save you a lot of grief and give you the best chances of full recovery.
Top Tip

Age and Jurisdiction Restrictions

Remember, all forms of gambling are strictly for adults. Age verification processes can vary depending on jurisdiction, ensuring only those of legal age participate. It’s your responsibility to check the legal age in your area to comply with local laws.

For example, in most of Europe, the legal gambling age is 18. In Quebec, Alberta, and Manitoba, you can gamble at 18, while in the rest of Canada, the age is 19. Always verify the age requirements specific to your jurisdiction.

Take Control Of Your Online Gambling Experience

Take control of your online gambling by using the responsible gambling tools provided by reputable casinos. Many casino sites will allow you to set these limits in your account setting, while others will ask you to contact customer support. Let’s look closer at the various limits.

Deposit Limits

Limiting the amount of money you can deposit into your casino account is an efficient way of ensuring you don’t spend more than you can afford.

  • Limit how much you can deposit daily, weekly or monthly.
  • You can reduce the limit at any time. When you increase a limit, it’ll take at least 24 hours for the casino to implement the new limit.

Time Limits

Another effective way of curbing your gambling is to limit the amount of time you spend at an online casino.

  • Specify how much time you want to be allowed to play daily, weekly or monthly.
  • When you reach the limit, you’ll be logged out of the casino and will not be allowed to log back in until the limit has reset.

Loss Limits

This limit allows you to deposit as much as you like, but you won’t be allowed to play when you’ve lost a specific amount.

  • You can freely decide how much you’re willing to lose during a specific timeframe. You can set the weekly to apply daily, weekly, or monthly.
  • The limit applies to your net losses. This means it’s relative to the amount of real money you’ve deposited and doesn’t factor in wins or wagered bonuses. If you start the set period with $100 in your cash balance and have a weekly loss limit of $50, you won’t be allowed to play when your balance is $50.

Wager Limits

This limit doesn’t consider how much you deposit or lose but rather how much you spend. It’s a good way of ensuring you don’t play more than you initially intended.

  • Decide how much you should be allowed to bet daily, weekly or monthly.

Reality Checks

Reality checks pause your ongoing session and force you to actively choose if you want to continue playing. You can set these to appear at time intervals of your choosing, ranging from one minute to two hours.

These pop-up windows provide a transparent summary of your gambling activity by showing you the following information:

  • Total logged-in time.
  • Total funds wagered.
  • Net winnings and losses.

Cool-Off Periods

Cooling-off periods serve as a temporary break from gambling for a short period and range from 24 hours to a few months.

They’re beneficial because they’re a tool for:

  • Give you the chance to step away, clear your mind, and gain perspective.

Self-Exclusion

Self-exclusion enables you to voluntarily exclude yourself from gambling activities for a specified period, providing a structured and effective means to prevent excessive gambling.

This tool is valuable because it’s:

  • All you have to do is register for the self-exclusion program directly on the site.
  • Based on your individual circumstances. You can self-exclude for a week, 30 days, 6 months, or even a year.
  • Under no circumstances will you be allowed to log in and play until the self-exclusion has expired.
Top Tip

Learn How To Customise Your Safer Gambling Experience

We make sure to prioritize gambling safety by implementing self-exclusion options, responsible gambling tools, and educational resources. Visit our dedicated page Self-exclusion and Responsible Gambling Tools and Online Casinos for in-depth information on setting limits, recognizing problem gambling signs, and accessing support services.

How to Recognise Gambling Addiction

Gambling addiction is a disorder characterized by the uncontrollable urge to keep gambling despite the serious repercussions. It can lead to severe personal, financial, and social problems.

A few telltale signs of gambling addiction would be:

  1. Preoccupation with Gambling: Constantly thinking about gambling and planning the next session.
  2. Increasing Bets: Needing to bet more money to achieve the same thrill.
  3. Unsuccessful Control Efforts: Repeated, unsuccessful attempts to reduce or stop gambling.
  4. Restlessness or Irritability: Feeling restless or irritable when trying to cut down on gambling.
  5. Escaping Problems: Using gambling as a way to escape problems or relieve feelings of helplessness, guilt, or anxiety.
  6. Chasing Losses: Returning another day to win back money lost.
  7. Withholding the Truth: Lying to family members or others to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling.
  8. Jeopardizing Relationships: Risking or losing significant relationships, job, or educational or career opportunities.
  9. Relying on Others for Money: Seeking financial help from others due to gambling losses.

If any of the above symptoms seem a bit familiar or reflect your own gambling habits, it’s time to call it quits and seek support. We also highly recommend you read through our article Common Signs of Problem Gambling, where we go into further detail about how detrimental addictive behaviour can be.

How To Treat Problem Gambling

Treatment of problem gambling greatly depends on the severity of the issue. Once you acknowledge you need help, assessing your gambling habit is the next step.

Based on your self-evaluation, you can:

  1. Talk to a Friend or Family Member: Sharing your concerns with someone close can provide immediate emotional support and help you feel less isolated.
  2. Make Use of Self-Help Resources: Utilize online resources, books, and tools designed to help you understand and manage your gambling behaviour.
  3. Join a Support Group: Groups like Gamblers Anonymous offer peer support and shared experiences to help you on your journey to recovery.
  4. Go to Therapy: Professional counselling, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), can help address underlying issues and develop healthier coping mechanisms.
  5. Seek Financial Counseling: Seek advice from a financial counsellor to manage debts and create a sustainable financial plan.
  6. Take Medication: In some cases, medication might be prescribed to treat co-occurring mental health conditions like depression or anxiety.
  7. Sign Up for Rehabilitation Programs: Enroll in an outpatient or inpatient rehabilitation program for structured and intensive support.

If you’re still unsure of how to deal with your compulsive habit, we suggest you read through our helpful article How to Deal With Problem Gambling, which lists effective ways of tackling the issue.

Responsible Gambling Resources

If you or someone you know is struggling with gambling addiction, there are numerous helpful resources that are easily accessible:

  1. Responsible Gambling Council – Aims to prevent problem gambling and reduce its impacts. It provides research, education, and awareness programs to promote responsible gambling practices.
  2. International Centre for Responsible Gambling – Focuses on funding research to identify and combat gambling addiction. It offers valuable insights, scientific research, and best practices for prevention and treatment.
  3. Gambling Therapy – Provides online support and resources for anyone affected by gambling addiction. Services include forums, live support groups, and a wealth of information to aid in recovery and support loved ones.

See our Directory of Resources and Organizations That Can Help Problem Gamblers for a more extensive list of organizations that can help you both online and near where you live.

Top Tip

Worried About Your Gambling Activity?

Remember that admitting you have a gambling problem is the first step to recovery. Check out our guide on how to deal with problem gambling to learn more about how to best seek help and deal with a problem that’s manifested.

FAQ

Yes. Every licensed and trustworthy online casino should have the necessary tools and resources available to not only promote but implement practices for responsible gambling.

The most commonly used and effective problem gambling programs include GamStop, GamCare, BeGambleAware, and Gamblers Anonymous.

They’re usually found at the footer of a casino’s site, on a page that’s generally called ‘Responsible Gambling’. You’ll find everything you need to know about the tools offered by the casino and instructions on how to use them.

This depends on the casino. Some sites offer a certain level of flexibility, but the majority state that once limits are set, they cannot be altered unless there’s an exceptional reason.

The fact that you’ve recognised you gamble ‘quite a lot’ may already indicate an unhealthy relationship to gambling. Remember, gambling addiction can happen subtly, eventually having consequences on your employment, finances, reputation, and relationships. Tread cautiously.   

There’s no clear-cut answer for this, as it varies for each person. If you’re spending more than you can afford to lose or using money meant for regular living expenses, this could be a sign of a gambling problem.