Responsible Gambling – Advice on Preventing Problem Gambling
Online gambling is a fun activity where everyone is meant to have a good time. However, there are some telltale signs a player will want to watch out for when playing.
Just like a roller coaster, online gaming has its ups and downs. One minute, you’re on top of the world winning big. But the next minute, you feel the down of a loss. Losing a little is normal in any game, but a player wants to take every precaution to keep them from “losing their shirt.”
A couple of things to take note of:
- Every person’s experience is different. No two people are alike, so different things may affect players in different ways.
- Gambling problems exist for players across the world, and do not discriminate against the type of game being played.
Here you will find information meant to help optimize your experience, while also protecting you from what could be “hidden dangers.”
What is Responsible Gambling?
When one partakes in online gambling, a player must ensure they are playing responsibly. The concept of “responsible gambling” is a set of rules and best practices regulated by state and national gambling authorities in order to protect players and create the best conditions for all online player activities.
With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you when you are engaging in online gambling:
- Gambling should never be viewed as a substitute for a job. It is meant to be recreational and for you to have fun.
- Know yourself, and set limitations accordingly. This could be in the form of monetary limitations or time restraints on how long you allow yourself to play.
- Learn from mistakes. You will suffer losses, but take that loss and learn from it to not make the same mistake on repeat.
- A strategy is not a sure-bet to winning. Every game has multiple strategies, and every player has their own strategy towards playing any game. Having a strategy does not mean the strategy will always work. Some games take skill, but all games take luck.
Probably the most important advice that can be given is to read the rules and regulations of the site you are playing on. This will give you the best information you need to make sure you are set up for success to play.
Do you have a potential gambling addiction?
If you think you might have a problem with gambling, we encourage you to seek help. Below is a set of questions meant to guide you through thinking about your potential problem and how it may be impacting you and/or your loved ones.
- Is your time spent gambling taking time away from your other responsibilities?
- Is there any discomfort and/or unhappiness in your homelife due to gambling?
- Has gambling impacted the way others view you or your reputation?
- Do you feel regret after having gambled?
- Do you ever gamble with hopes to win enough to pay off debts?
- Does gambling ever seem to cause a decrease in personal efficiency?
- After suffering a loss, do you ever feel compelled to return back ASAP to attempt to make up for your loss?
- After a win, do you feel compelled to continue playing in attempts to win more?
- Do you gamble until you have no money left to gamble?
- Do you ever borrow money from others to pay for your gambling?
- Have you ever sold any personal valuables to pay for your gambling?
- Are you reluctant to use your “gambling money” for other expenses?
- Does your gambling impact your feelings towards your own wellbeing or the wellbeing of your family?
- Do you ever gamble longer than you had originally expected?
- Do you feel the need to gamble to escape worry or trouble?
- Have you ever committed, attempted to commit, or thought of committing a crime to finance your gambling?
- Do you have difficulty sleeping or find yourself thinking of gambling while attempting to go to sleep?
- Do arguments, disappointments, or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble?
- Have you often celebrated or felt the need to celebrate “good fortune” by gambling?
- Have thoughts of suicide or self-harm ever entered your mind as a result of gambling?
If you answered yes to at least 7 of these questions and believe that you may have a gambling problem, again, we encourage you to seek help.
Helping Someone with a Gambling Addiction
Sometimes it can be difficult for people to self diagnose themselves with a problem like gambling addiction. That is why it is important to know the warning signs and recognize when someone you care about needs help.
You can use the questions above and answer them with your loved ones in mine. Distinct warning signs to be aware of:
- Mood/Behavior changes
- Financial difficulties/challenges
- Unexplained absences/large amounts of time away
Legal Age for Gambling and Protecting Minors
Regardless of what state you are in or which online casino you are using, the legal age for gambling in the United States is 21.
All online casinos in the United States require you to provide the last four digits of your social security number in order to verify your age. If a person is unable to do this, they will not be able to create an online casino account.
Players with young persons living in their households, have a responsibility to keep them protected. Below is a short list of software you might want to download to block you people from accessing such sites:
Responsible Gambling Tools
There are a variety of tools for players to have at their disposal to make sure they are playing safely and responsibly. Take a look at the tools below that can be accessed via your online casino account. If you have additional questions on how to activate these restrictions, refer to the Responsible Gambling page on your selected casino’s site.
The Deposit Limit allows you to set a specific amount on how much you are able to deposit into your online gambling account at one time. This can be set daily, weekly, or monthly and be removed as you please. This allows a player to control how much they are spending on gambling at one time.
This tool allows a player to set limits on the specific amount of money they are allowed to lose at one time, and prevents you from losing more than you are wanting (or capable of) losing. Once the limit has been reached, your account will seal itself and keep you from placing anymore bets. Generally, a request to increase a loss limit will not take effect for at least 24 hours.
Session Limits allow you to set a specific time limit on how long you allow yourself to play per session. This, too, can be set up on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Once a player has reached their time limit, they will be automatically logged out of their account and won’t be able to sign back in until the time limit expires.
The Time Out tool allows a player to set a specific time frame for them to gamble. Once you have reached your time limit, the site will alert you that you have reached your set time limit and you may either pause yourself from playing or choose to continue playing. A player can choose to pause themselves for 24 hours, a week, a month, or any other set request for up to six weeks.
The Wagering Limit tool is so that players may limit the amount they place on bets. Once the limit has been reached, players will find their means to play restricted. This can serve to help players regulate the amounts they are betting at a time.
Transaction History isn’t really a tool, but it does allow a player to view their account activity. This activity will display how much and how often a player deposits, wagers, withdraws, etc. This can serve as a useful wake up call for some players who lose track of how much they are spending or how often they are spending it.
The Self-Exclusion tool allows a player to freeze their account for a set amount of time that can be up to 5 years. Those that choose to join the self-exclusion list, will not be able to access any online casinos in the state. For those that took the test above and believe they do have a gambling addiction, this is the best option to restrict yourself from the activity.
Many online casinos will offer a self-assessment test to help players who think they might be developing a gambling addiction. Most of the questions are related to spending habits and characteristic changes that occur from gambling. Answering yes to any of these is a good sign that you might want to reach out for help and talk to someone.
Time Alert tools allow a player to set a timer to go off at a specific point to help them keep track of how long they are playing. Generally, an alert will pop-up to let you know you have reached your timer that you set. At that point, the player may either reset the Time Alert or stop playing.
Organizations that can Help and Provide Counselling
Below is a list of organizations that are designed to help those with a gambling problem. These include anonymous groups, helplines, and aid specifically for the loved ones affected by someone’s gambling addiction.
Gambler’s Anonymous has chapters all over the country and in most major cities around the world. There are no dues or fees to join. All one needs is a want to stop gambling and willingness to help others end their own gambling problem. You can see a list of all of those cities on their website at www.gamblersanonymous.org. If you feel the need to talk to someone in person, the organization can be reached by phone at (213) 386-8789
The National Council on Problem Gambling
The National Council on Problem Gambling, Inc. is located in Washington, D.C.. Their purpose is to serve as the national advocate for programs and services to assist people and families affected by problem gambling. The organization’s mission is to “lead state and national stakeholders in the development of comprehensive policy and programs for all those affected by problem gambling.” Again, if you need to speak to someone directly, they operate a 24-hour, nationwide helpline at 1-(800) 522-4700, or you can check out their website at www.ncpgambling.org.
Gambling Therapy is a site that runs online support groups, forums, email support, and online databases to help those struggling with problematic gambling and/or gambling addiction. Not everyone is willing to seek out help in person or even via phone out of fear of being identified by others. At Gambling Therapy people can receive “real time” assistance via their Live Assistance Helpline, join an online support group, or seek assistance through their 24/7 Gambling Therapy Support Forums. You can connect with this site online at their website address www.gamblingtherapy.org/en.