Responsible Gambling | Gambling Addiction Help & Recourses
Playing at online casinos should be fun, and for most people, it is. Unfortunately, this is not the case for all players. For some, the entertainment value diminishes, and the person develops an unhealthy relationship with gambling.
What is Gambling Addiction?
Gambling addiction is like any other type of addiction. The person no longer enjoys gambling but feels unable to stop. Like addictions to alcohol, drugs, sex, shopping, or gaming, the person continues these activities even though they might be harmful to them, be they physical or mental addictions.
It’s also important to remember that there are several levels of gambling addiction. Some people might have a problematic relationship with gambling without it completely taking over their lives. At-risk players are found in much greater numbers than those that have already developed a serious addiction.
Responsible Gambling at Online Casinos
All licensed and reputable online casinos take responsible gambling seriously. That casinos offer help to players with a problematic relationship with gambling is something all regulatory authorities within the iGaming industry mandate as part of their licencing agreements. Some regulators are stricter than others, but they all require some level of commitment from their licensees to prevent harmful gambling on their casino sites.
For example, players residing in New Zealand will often play at casinos licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority.
This gambling authority requires all casinos to offer tools and settings for self-exclusion, time-outs, and gambling limits.
They also require each operator to have a dedicated, responsible gambling person or team and that all employees at the casino undergo mandatory responsible gambling training.
Offering help to players that contact the casino or actively and voluntarily set gambling limits to their account is one thing, but casinos do more. They also actively work on identifying players with unhealthy gambling patterns. The responsible gambling team can then reach out to these players and proactively offer help and support.
Do I Have a Problematic Relationship with Gambling?
It might be difficult to come to the realisation that one has a problematic relationship with gambling. Many players won’t realise this or be willing to admit it to themselves before gambling addiction has turned into a big problem.
Some people will quickly develop a gambling addiction, while others might develop this over a long time. The sooner one realises that one has a problem, the easier it might be to stop gambling, so looking out for the early signs is important.
Below we’ve listed some of the signs you should look out for to see if you’re at risk of becoming a problem gambler:
- You think more about gambling than you did before. This can be thinking of the wins you’ve got, the losses you had, or when to play next.
- You play more than you did before. If you find yourself playing for longer sessions or more frequently than before, this is an early warning sign.
- You’re increasing your bets as small wins are not giving you the same satisfaction as they used to. You, therefore, up the bets to get bigger wins that give you the same thrill that smaller wins used to.
- You play for more money than you had initially planned. This can be no matter if it’s money you can’t afford to lose or money you simply hadn’t planned on playing for. Even players that can comfortably afford to lose a lot of money can have a gambling problem.
- You prioritise gambling over other activities. Instead of spending time with family or friends or engaging in your hobby, you might choose to stay home and gamble by yourself.
- You deposit more in order to win back the money you have already lost or increase your bets so you can get a big win to cover your losses.
- You think about how you can get money to play more and might contemplate getting a credit card, a loan, or even doing something criminal to fund your gambling. Planning in advance how much of your next salary you can spend on gambling is also not a good sign.
Keep in mind that some of these points alone will not determine if you have a gambling problem, but they should be taken as a sign that assessing your gambling habits will be a good idea. If you recognise some of the signs above in yourself or someone you know, you should get help.
Where Can I Get Help to Stop Gambling?
There are several organisations and help groups that can help you when you want to stop gambling. Most recourses are free, and you can get help both locally and online. Here are some of the organisations and websites you can reach out to:
Which Resources Do a Casino Offer?
Online casinos offer several different ways in which you can limit your gambling or activate settings for alerts related to your playing session. Some casinos even require you to set limits to your account before you can start partaking in their services.
We’ll now describe some of the tools available to help you play responsibly at an online casino.
Most casinos offer several limits you can choose between or combine. These are the common ones and how they work:
- Wagering Limit
This limit dictates how much you can wager. It does not count how much you win or lose, only the total of the bets placed.
- Loss Limit
This limit will stop you from losing more. It has nothing to do with a deposit limit or wagering limit, as it only counts the total losses.
- Session Limit
This limit will restrict how long you can play before being logged out of your account.
- Deposit Limit
This limit will not allow you to deposit more money once you’ve reached the limit you’ve set.
The different limits can be applied on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. You get to choose the exact limit that you prefer. Changing the limits downwards will take effect immediately while increasing your limits will take effect after a cooling-off period of up to a week.
If you want to take a break from your gambling, then you can pause your account. Taking what’s called a ‘time-out’ will stop you from logging in to your account for a set number of days or months.
An option for self-exclusion will be available, and this is a like a time-out, just for a longer period of time. You can self-exclude for anything between 3 months and several years.
If you’ve set an account restriction to your account and want to reopen it again, then this can be done in some circumstances. You will have to wait some days or a week in what’s called a ‘cooling-off’ period. If the time you set has elapsed, some casinos will automatically reopen your account, while other operators will require that you contact them and confirm that you want to open your account again.
Self Assessment Tests
You will find a self-assessment test at most online casinos. This is a test you can fill out, and based on the results, it will tell you if you’re an at-risk player. Even if you don’t feel that you have a problematic relationship with gambling, it can be a good idea to complete this test regularly. That way, you will be alerted if your gambling habits change over time.
Underage Online Gambling
Combating Gambling addiction is the most important factor for anything related to responsible gambling, but a close second is preventing underage gambling. In most countries, including New Zealand, the age limit for participating in real money gambling is 18 years.
To ensure that all who gamble at an online casino are old enough to do so, all players are asked to enter their date of birth when signing up. It is, of course, easy for a young person to enter another year for their birth, so that’s why a verification will also be asked for. When the casinos request a KYC verification (to establish who the player is and where he or she lives) a copy of an ID will have to be submitted, and this is how they verify the age of the user.
If you suspect or know that an underage person is gambling online, you should contact the casino operator immediately.
Block Access to All Gambling Websites
If you want to restrict your access to all websites that offer gambling services, then installing Gamban is the easiest way to do this. You can choose to install this on your computer as well as on your mobile devices. There are even iOS and Android apps you can download.
Unfortunately, Gamban is a paid service, and thus nothing you can get for free. However, the price is very reasonable, and it will, for most people with a gambling addiction, be a well-worth investment. A monthly subscription costs around €3, while an annual subscripti0n is priced at €30. Some casinos will sponsor Gamban subscriptions for their at-risk or problem gamblers.
You can find out more about the Gamban service here: https://gamban.com/