What Is Responsible Gambling and Why Is It Important
Look at any advertisements on television or magazines, or have a peek at any reputable casino, and they all seem to talk about one thing - responsible gambling. What does this mean?
In short, responsible gambling is many things. It is a series of decisions that players make to ensure that they do not get into trouble when betting online. It is an array of tools provided by a casino to help you stay on the straight and narrow when gambling. Responsible gambling can also be a collection of protocols, procedures, and rules that a casino or sportsbook must adhere to, to maintain its gambling license and reputation. We will look at all these definitions in this guide.
Ultimately, we should begin with the most basic steps - the responsible gambling actions you must take to ensure that you do not end up in trouble. These involve no tools or resources - just pure common sense and a touch of will power.
To ensure that you are betting responsibly, we would urge you to do the following:
This sounds like a lot of work. However, the casino or sportsbook you choose to play at (providing it is a reputable one) will have tools to help you accomplish this. Let us look at those next.
Learn to Use the Tools of the Trade
While not every casino or sportsbook will carry all the following tools, the most reputable betting sites and new casinos will offer a good number of them. We strongly suggest that you explore these options and learn to use them regularly. If implemented correctly, they can become a sort of silver bullet to help you avoid falling into trouble.
The KYC Process
Another aspect you may wish to consider when betting online is the KYC process. The Know Your Customer process is used to prevent money laundering, as an age verification process (to prevent underage gambling) and protect against identity fraud. Most reputable casinos now demand that their players go through this process. It is as much about protecting the casino as it is about protecting the player.
A KYC process will usually last around 24 hours, and it requires you to submit documents that attest to your identity, residence, and proof of payment. You can submit documents (often via customer support but sometimes through a dedicated page) that verify that you are the player who you claim to be. Driving licenses, bank statements, identity cards and passports, as well as medical and utility bills, can all be used to clear this hurdle.
Once you have verified your betting account, there is little to no chance that an imposter can pose as you, at least not at your chosen casino or any run by the same operator. Moreover, the casino also knows that you are not engaged in underage gambling or money laundering. It is a win-win scenario for both of you.
How Licensing Authorities and Regulators Are Changing the Game
Responsible gambling has become a focal point in the online betting world in the last few years. One of the main reasons for this is that the licensing authorities and bodies are cracking down on blacklisted, rogue, and wayward casinos. Bodies such as the renowned UK Gambling Commission and the Malta Gaming Authority are renowned for being super strict regarding regulation and responsible gambling. Any casino which does not fit their lofty requirements could end up losing their license.
Licensing authorities and regulators have pushed responsible gambling to the forefront in a number of ways:
These measures, coupled with the responsible gambling tools listed above, appear to be making a difference in reducing problem gambling.
Start by Choosing the Safest Casinos
As well as using the tools listed above, you can also do yourself a solid by staying away from dodgy casinos in the first place. Avoiding blacklisted (sites whose practices are not up to scratch) and rogue (unlicensed casinos) is easy to do. Online casino reviews are usually an excellent place to start if you want to learn whether a casino is safe.
You can look for the licensing information, regulatory details, certifications, and security options a casino has before you sign up to play there. By only placing with the best sites that offer responsible gambling tools, you can cut down the risk of falling into the bear trap even further.
Self-Assessing Your Gambling Habits
Sometimes you can do all the right things but still end up in trouble. Every player is different and may assess whether they have a problem gambling differently from others. However, the hallmark and tell-tale signs are usually the same. Most casinos will provide you with a series of tools to self-assess yourself. You do not have to take their word on it, though. Here are some questions you can ask. If you find that the answer to most of them is “yes”, it may be time to seek help or stop playing.
You must be honest and truthful. The answers to these questions could go on to help you out of a hole.
If in Need - Help Is Available
What if you are already in trouble? Fortunately, it is not too late. The first thing you need to do is assess how severe your problem is. If it has the “potential” to become one, we will strongly suggest setting up the responsible gambling tools listed above and then taking a hiatus for a few weeks or months to clear your head.
If you find yourself in deeper trouble, it is time to use the problem gambling programs affiliated with all top casinos. You can head to their websites via links at the casinos and sign yourself up for their programs. Once activated, you will be blocked from all gambling sites which are part of that program (not just your own) for six months or several years.
- Which problem gambling programs are the most common?
GamStop, GamCare, BeGambleAware and Gamblers Anonymous tend to be the most common and effective problem gambling programs.
- Should I join a problem gambling program?
If you choose to do this, there is a chance that casinos will not allow you back even after your isolation is over. Therefore, you should join these programs if you want to quit all (well, most) casinos for good. Otherwise, responsible gambling tools such as self-exclusion periods should work fine.
- How can I find out which responsible gambling tools my site offers?
At the bottom of most casinos, there will be a link to the responsible gambling tools page. There you can find out what tools your casino offers and how to use them.
- Can I discuss responsible gambling options with customer support?
Yes. A casino’s customer support team is there to assist you with this. If you are already experiencing problem gambling issues, you may wish to seek professional help from the programs listed above, though.
- Can I alter my limits once I set them?
That varies from site to site. Some have a degree of flexibility in this, but most are clear when they say that once you set your limits, you are not going to be able to change them, at least not without an excellent reason.