Despite the scepticism still surrounding it, online gaming has never been as safe and well-regulated as it is nowadays.
A lot of the actions taken by online casinos to protect players fall under a concept known as Responsible Gaming. This refers to a set of measures and policies aimed at making online gambling a secure experience that safeguards any detrimental consequences that might arise once someone plays with real money online.
In this article, we shall be outlining the main aspects of responsible gaming and how they are integrated into every reputable online casino.
What is Responsible Gambling?
Responsible Gambling is a concept that unites under one term several policies and conditions relevant to numerous gambling stakeholders. Its purpose is to offer a safe user experience while making sure that the highest standards are put into practice for the protection of vulnerable players who might be susceptible to problem gambling.
The Responsible Gambling framework encourages players to treat gambling as a leisure activity and not as a way to make an income.
While the majority of people gamble for fun and spend only what they can afford to, others start playing more and spending more, until gambling stops being fun and becomes an addiction.
This kind of addiction influences their personal lives negatively and impacts their loved ones in harmful ways.
Legal frameworks require online casino operators and game providers to implement the principles of Responsible Gambling in their services, products and marketing. Seven Responsible Gambling areas directly impact the iGaming industry, where safety matters the most:
- Prevent underage gambling
- Protect vulnerable players
- Online Payment protection
- Safe online environment
- Privacy of personal data
- Ethical and responsible marketing
- Safeguards against criminal activity
Every online gambling platform must provide a Responsible Gambling page as a point of reference for all players.
The content and information of each page vary from platform to platform but in most cases, each one shares the same kind of information: advice, tips, a self-assessment test, information about minors protection, information about gambling tools, and how Responsible Gambling is implemented within the site.
At the end of the page, players can find a list of non-profit organizations dedicated to supporting problem gamblers.
Do you have a potential gambling addiction?
Do you suspect that you have a gambling problem? The below questions have been thought to help players establish whether they have a gambling problem or not. If you answer ‘yes’ to anyone, we recommend you to visit one of the help organizations at the bottom of the page.
- Do you have feelings of guilt when you think about the amount of money you’ve spent gambling?
- Do you feel excitement only when you place wagers of a large amount?
- When you experience a loss, do you find it difficult to stop gambling?
- Is your gambling causing financial problems in your life or your household?
- Is gambling having a negative impact on your relationships, job or studies?
- Are you suffering from health problems, including stress and anxiety because of gambling?
- Do you experience restlessness when you are not gambling?
- Do you believe that you might have a gambling problem?
Helping someone with a Gambling Addiction
Are you worried that a family member or a friend might have a gambling problem but you are not sure what to look for?
Knowing the first signs of problem gambling can be the first step in helping a loved one overcome an addiction and getting help for both of you.
Usually, the first signs are connected to a person’s financial situation, mood and behaviour, and how they spend their time.
There are many things to watch out for and below we shall take a closer look at what these first signs could be:
- Money missing from the bank or wallet
- Household items and valuables missing
- Shortage of money, despite having a stable salary
- Having several loans at once
- Unpaid Bills
- Regularly borrowing money
- Secretive about financial records
- Lack of food at home
Mood and Behavioural signs
- Performance at work is affected
- Changes in personality
- Becoming withdrawn from loved ones
- Manipulative behaviour
- Being agitated, upset and worried for no particular reason
- Using threats and lies to manipulate others
- Feelings of hopelessness, frustration and depression
- Spending longer hours gambling
- Taking a lot of time to complete simple tasks
- Secrecy and unexplained absence
- Always arriving late for appointments
- Taking a lot of days off from work in order to gamble
Although all of these are telltale signs of problem gambling, in most cases it is difficult to recognize the problem as the above behaviour might be hidden.
The gambler might lie, hide his feelings and thoughts, and might even exhibit anger when questioned about his behaviour.
For the relative, it might be difficult to accept that someone you love has a gambling addiction. Recognizing the problem might instigate feelings of guilt and blame for not having recognized the problem earlier.
There could also be feelings of anger, hurt and betrayal. It is normal to feel all of these emotions, and it might be difficult to deal with them while at the same time trying to understand the gambler.
Understanding the gambler and what he might be going through can help strike a connection. Feeling understood, the gambler might open up about his feelings and what has been going on. Together you can decide about the next step and maybe reach out for help.
Gambling Legal Age & the Protection of Minors
First and foremost, responsible gaming is aimed at protecting vulnerable players from irresponsible gambling behaviour.
This includes the strict prohibition of underage gambling; only adults that are 18 or over are allowed to play for real money at online casinos in the UK.
Operators make sure of this by requiring players to enter their birth date when they register, and by verifying this data against a personal identification document once the players attempt to withdraw their money.
The responsibility, however, does not lie solely with the operators, but gamblers have an equal share in it if underage people are living in the same household.
There are a few tips they can follow to ensure that minors don’t come in contact with any gambling related material:
- Keep login details out of reach
- Educate children from an early age about gambling, legal age and potential harm.
- Don’t save passwords on your computer
- Use parental control on your electronics
- Install website blocking software
Website blocking software is one of the most effective ways of protecting your children especially if they share the same electronic devices.
These clever tools block access to gambling sites and make sure that no gambling-related advertisements come up when your children are online. There are various tools you can use like CYBER PATROL, GamBan, GamBlock, BetFilter, Net Nanny and CYBERsitter.
Responsible Gambling Tools
For effective Responsible Gambling, online casino operators have introduced some period tools for the players’ use to help them regulate their online gambling.
They are meant to establish limits and keep track of the betting. Below we are going to take a look at what these tools are and how they work.
The deposit limit tool is a clever setting that allows you to limit the amount of money you can deposit in your account.
The limit can be applied daily, weekly or monthly, with the purpose of not allowing you to deposit any more funds if you reach the limit until a certain time has elapsed.
This particular tool can help you avoid certain gambling pitfalls, especially if you feel you are already spending too much money on gambling.
As opposed to the deposit limit, the loss limit tool limits how much you can lose on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
The purpose of this tool is to stop you from placing any more bets once the limit has been reached, thus stopping you from losing any more money.
It can be very handy if you feel you are starting to lose more than you can afford.
The session limit button allows you to decide beforehand how long each session should last.
Once the time is up, you will be automatically logged out of your account and won’t be able to log back in until a certain amount of time has elapsed.
This is a great way to stick only to the time you have at hand instead of getting carried away and possibly forgetting important commitments.
This tool lets you control how much money to stake on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
Once the limit you set yourself is reached the feature won’t let you place any more bets until a certain amount of time has passed and the limit is reset.
It is ideal for those players who have trouble stopping when they should.
This feature provides you with a summary of all activity in your account.
The information is quite detailed and includes information about withdrawals, deposits, bets, results, and pending wagers.
The purpose of the transaction history is to help players keep tabs on their gambling activity and stop themselves from getting carried away.
Players who believe their gambling might be getting out of hand are always encouraged to take a break.
The self-exclusion tool allows you to close your account either for a temporary period of time or permanently.
During the period the self-exclusion is active, players are unable to log into their account or place bets of any kind.
The self-assessment consists of a set of questions where players have to indicate how they feel to get a picture of their gambling profile.
Once the self-assessment is completed, each player will get a summary highlighting the part of their life that is affected negatively by gambling. It would also include tips on which tips could be useful for safer gambling.
As the name suggests the Time Alert is more of a notification rather than a tool.
It pops up from time to time bearing information about changes in your balance and the length of your gaming sessions.
It is meant to provide a reality check now and then to help players regulate themselves if they need to.
Problem Gambling Support
Responsible Gambling is considered of the utmost importance and that is why there are plenty of organizations promoting Responsible Gambling and offering related services.
Below we have put together a list of the main organizations in the UK, together with their website and contact details.
Each website hosts plenty of information about problem gambling and the services they provide for players and their families.
Some of these services involve counselling sessions, debt-advice, forums, self-help groups and information for affected family members. These organizations are made up of professionals who are dedicated to helping problem gamblers overcome these difficulties.
UK players now have an excellent platform to rely on when it comes to addressing their gambling habits.
The BeGambleAware website provides information to help players make informed decisions as they play.
There are a live chat function and helpline as well as information, tips and a therapy app to prevent gambling problems from developing or worsening.
- Website – www.begambleaware.org
- 24/7 Freephone – 0808 8020 133
- Live Chat
Founded in 1997, GamCare is an organization that aims to provide information, advice and support to people experiencing a gambling addiction.
GamCare operated the UK national helpline and amongst its services offers treatments to problem gamblers and their families.
The organization is very active and aims at providing gambling-related-harm education and prevention.
- Website – www.gamcare.org.uk
- Freephone – 0808 8020 133
Gambling Therapy offers a safe platform where gamblers and their loved ones can participate in online groups, forums, make use of a resource database and receive email support.
The organization offers various services:
- Multilingual live support
- Online gambling therapy support groups
- 24/7 gambling therapy support forums
- Individual email support
- Website – www.gamblingtherapy.org
- In-site Live chat
- In-site email
Unlike the other organizations, Gamblers Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women connected through a similar problem gambling experience.
Gamblers Anonymous allows them to share their own experiences, hopes and strengths while trying to help each other overcome similar obstacles.
The Gamblers Anonymous platform comes equipped with a forum, a chat room, relevant information, and a meeting finder
Gambling Addiction Help Worldwide
- UK – BeGambleAware – 0808 8020 133
- USA – The National Council on Problem Gambling
- USA – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
- Argentina – Juego Responsable – 0800-333-0333, WhatsApp 011-1524416058
- België – VAD – 02 423 03 33
- Brasil – Jogadores Anônimos – (11) 3229-1023
- Canada – ProblemGambling – 1-866-531-2600
- Chile – Psicólogos Ludopatía Chile – 9 222 3860
- Deutschland – Spielen mit Verantwortung: Glücksspielsucht – 0800-1 37 27 00
- España – FEJAR – 900 200 225
- France – IFAC – + 33 (0)2 40 84 76 20
- Italia – TVNGA – 800 55 88 22
- Nederland – AGOG – 0900-2177721 (€ 0.10 per minute)
- Norge – Hjelpelinjen – 800 800 40
- Österreich – Spielsuchthilfe – (1) 544 13 57
- Portugal – Jogo Responsável – 213 950 911 (SICAD – Serviço de Intervenção nos Comportamentos Aditivos e nas Dependências)
- Schweiz – Sucht Schweiz – 021 321 29 11
- Sverige – Stödlinjen – 020-819 100 (09:00 to 21:00)