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Responsible Gambling Canada

Here, you’ll find some of the more popular questions about responsible gambling in Canada, including:

Popular questions about Responsible Gaming in Canada

Responsible gambling is promoted by an industry initiative in Canada to encourage healthy gambling habits. The main goal is to ensure that appropriate safeguards are in place to promote the wellbeing of people and communities where gambling is taking place. As part of this, the Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) was set up as a non-profit organisation. The RGC has been involved in promoting responsible gambling in Canada for over 35 years. Work is undertaken by the RGC through partnerships with industry players to ensure that responsible gambling is promoted throughout the industry.

Responsible gaming is important because it places the welfare of the individual at the centre of attention. By ensuring that individuals are protected and are having their best interests looked out for, we can ensure that gambling takes place in a safe, healthy and responsible way. The key is to ensure that gambling doesn’t have a detrimental impact on the welfare of either individuals or the wider community.

Generally speaking, the legal gambling age in Canada will vary depending on the province you are in. The majority of provinces permit gambling from 19 years of age. There are a number of provinces where you can gamble from 18 years old, however, including Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec.

Also known as compulsive gambling, a gambling addiction is generally taken to be when an individual has an uncontrollable urge to gamble regardless of the impact it is having on their life. If not identified, a gambling addiction can have serious consequences for the individual

How is it defined?

A gambling addiction is officially defined as an impulse-control disorder, meaning that it shows up in individuals when they are unable to control an impulse to gamble. The key thing to look out for in a gambling addiction is a total inability to control your urge to gamble whenever it strikes you, despite the impact it might be having on your life.e health and welfare of you and those around you.

It is estimated  that each problem gambler costs Canadian taxpayers CA$19,272. These costs include addiction treatment, higher policing, social service costs, bankruptcies, substance abuse treatments and higher insurance costs.

Exact figures on problem gambling are hard to come by both because they are generally self-reported by gamblers themselves, and because the numbers vary so greatly across the various provinces. A 2014 report noted that there were 159,000 people identifying as problem gamblers in British Columbia alone. Another report indicated that around 2% of gamblers surveyed across Canada identified as being problem gamblers, while a later report noted that this was higher for Ontario, at around 3.2% of surveyed gamblers. Given how much these statistics vary across Canada, we can see how difficult it is to find an exact figure.

There are a number of signs and behaviours that may indicate that an individual has a gambling addiction or is prone to problem gambling. These include:

  • The individual preferring to gamble instead of doing something else. 
  • If they are constantly late for work or school obligations due to time spent gambling.
  • If they are unable to keep up with bills and other routine expenses due to money spent gambling.
  • If they spend excessive amounts of time on their phone/computer using gambling apps.
  • If they have exhibited dramatic mood swings.
  • If they appear anxious or agitated when they aren’t gambling.

While these are not conclusive signs, if an individual exhibits a number of these at once, it is a good indication that they may be suffering with a gambling addiction.

On average, a Canadian household spends around C$800 a year gambling (this includes sports betting)

Like many other types of addictions, treating a gambling addiction is no easy matter and treatment will depend on the individual. Once the individual has identified that they have a problem and has got in contact with their doctor, there are a number of treatment options available. The most important step, however, is that the individual acknowledges that they have a problem and chooses to get help.

The following treatment approaches are the most commonly used:

  • Therapy: behaviour therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy are two of the most popular options. Behaviour therapy uses gradual exposure to help you manage your urges, while cognitive behavioural therapy focuses on identifying the negative thought patterns that lead you to gamble, replacing them with positive and healthy ones.
  • Medications: antidepressants and mood stabilisers may be used to treat particularly strong compulsive gambling addictions. However, they tend to be limited to the most extreme cases.
  • Self-help groups: self-help groups are a popular option for those who are willing to share their struggles in a group setting. Usually, these group sessions are run by a trained professional who encourages individuals to talk to each other about their problems and to develop strategies to better manage the addictive behaviour.

The best way for Canadian casinos to help players is to have a responsible gambling programme in place. This includes not only developing a comprehensive strategy but also bringing this to players’ awareness when they use the platform.

Some initiatives that casinos have implemented, and that have proved successful in promoting responsible gambling, include making it easy to put spending and usage limits on individual accounts, as well as by making it easy for individual users to track their time spent on the website. This works by allowing players early on to identify when they might be using the platform too much and then providing them with the tools to manage their time spent on the platform

Canadian online casinos can put in place a number of measures to help limit individuals’ use of their online casino account. This includes spending limits and time restrictions, which allow players to set limits on how much they can spend on the platform in a defined period. These sorts of limitations are very easy to implement and give individual players the ability to control their gambling in a way that is not too forceful or obtrusive. Casinos can also help to limit gambling by making information on responsible gambling initiatives readily available and easy to access. When it comes to combating problem gambling behaviours, promotion goes a long way.

Please read below for a list of some of the organisations dedicated to providing individuals who think that they might have a gambling addiction with appropriate resources:

Covid-19 effects on gamblers in Canada

A  poll from Abacus Data surveyed 1,500 Canadians between May 7 and 12. It revealed the following insights:

SuperLenny notes that this increase was seen online in the following areas

Slots : + 25%

Other casino games: +3%

Sports Betting: -31%

Poker: +38%

Responsible gambling: Lenny’s thoughts

While we here at SuperLenny think that online casinos and gambling are one of the most fun, exciting and enjoyable pastimes around, we also recognise that not everyone out there is able to enjoy this hobby in a safe and responsible manner. Although rare, some individuals will struggle to control their gambling habits, which will affect other areas of their life, including their work life or personal relationships. As such, it is incredibly important for casinos to ensure that they have player welfare at the centre of everything they do. When it comes to encouraging responsible gambling, online casinos can do this by adhering to the best practices promoted by the Canadian Responsible Gaming Council, which have been formulated to ensure that gambling has a minimal impact on the health and wellbeing of players and the communities to which they belong. Online casinos want to provide an environment that is safe to play in, and they can do this by making player welfare a priority and by providing players with the information and tools to identify when they might be developing a gambling addiction.


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Self-Help Gambling Tools

Canada Safety Council

Gamblers Anonomous

Lucas Collins
Lucas Collins

Casino Specialist

Lucas is an editor and copywriter at SuperLenny Canada. He graduated from the University of Winnipeg, with a Bachelors in English. One of his passions is creative writing and this helped him being able to take on various freelance writing jobs. It is thanks to this that Lucas has many years of experience in the gaming industry and knows exactly what Canadian players want to see when it comes to casinos, sports and betting sites.