As with anything, online gambling can become addictive, arguably even more so than it's brick and mortar counterpart simply because of its accessibility. However, online casinos are aware of this problem and have many responsible gaming protocols in place to protect and help players.
Responsible gaming is a wide-ranging concept that encompasses a large number of policies and requirements that not only affect the players themselves, but also the casinos offering their services. By having these policies in place, players are afforded nothing but the very best quality of gaming, including this much-needed player safety against the dangers of gambling – both on and offline. SuperLenny believes gambling should be a fun hobby and, whilst most people can treat it this way, there are a few who can’t. Keep reading to find out how to prevent problem gambling.
What does responsible gaming seek to achieve?
Before we dive into the ways that operators help to protect against irresponsible gaming, it’s important to note that both the operators (the casinos) and the software providers have many provisions and services in place to help those players who might be struggling with addiction. The providers support operators so that both parties will comply with legislation as well as technical demands. When it comes to responsible gambling, there are seven different areas that the online gaming community focuses on when trying to help.
- These seven areas include the ability to protect any player that may seem to be vulnerable when playing online.
- It helps in preventing underage gambling and bringing other issues to light. There are also numerous safety measures against criminal behaviours online as well.
- Information privacy, online transaction protection and a secure playing environment are other ways that the industry seeks to keep everyone protected.
- Lastly, casinos and providers are required to provide ethical marketing that does not promote too strongly the more addictive side of online gambling.
Protecting vulnerable and underage gamblers
For any casino, it is vitally important any vulnerable players are protected. In the case of underage players, casinos have a set of stringent sign-up regulations and identification protocols designed to prevent young people from being able to participate.
When it comes to underage gambling, Lenny does not condone this at all; in fact, SuperLenny frowns upon anything that’s illegal. Make sure you are always playing within the confines of the law and your legal jurisdiction and never assume anything. Good, honest and legal fun is the only way
For other vulnerable gamblers, there are numerous methods such as self-exclusion, transaction limits, playing time limits, reality checks and more that can be put in place to prevent players spending too much – these will be discussed in detail later in this article.
Being safe online is key to everyone having fun. With this firmly in mind, casinos are obligated to ensure that players’ personal and private data cannot fall into the wrong hands. Most good casinos will be protected by SSL encryption protocols that can detect and prevent any unwanted attacks or criminal activities from gaining access to the banking details of players.
When it comes to protecting yourself here are some tips for online safety
- Only play at licensed casinos
- Protect your financial information
- Do not leave a casino website or app open when you are finished playing
- Keep track of your online sessions
How can players be responsible?
Even with the casinos being as responsible as possible, it’s also important for the gamblers themselves, and those around them, to recognise the signs that there might be an issue. As most sites will state, gambling is supposed to be fun. The following are signs that are indicative of problem gambling.
- Playing when intoxicated
- Playing for longer periods of time than usual
- Gambling whilst at work
- Increasing spending to cover losses
- Becoming stressed or irritable during or following gambling activities
- Chasing losses
If players are finding they have problems gambling, there are numerous options open to them, outlined below.
Reality checks and self-exclusion
One of the first things players can do is to use a casinos reality check software. A reality check can be set on your account to remind you how long you have been playing. This will also help you to manage the amount of time you are playing online.
How to set up a reality check at a casino
- Go to ‘My Account’
- Look for Responsible Gaming
- Find & click ‘Reality Check’
Don’t forget: Customer support can also be contacted if players are unable to do this for themselves.
If things are progressing on a downward path, players can choose to make use of the self-exclusion option. This involves players contacting the casino and having themselves limited or banned from that casino. The closure period can vary between six months to a few years to permanent. If this is put in place, players will have no access to that particular casino and, in some cases, any casino that is linked or affiliated with that one. This self-exclusion decision can be reversed down the line but often provides players with a much-needed break. Players can find out more on the UKGC’s guidelines.
In some cases, a player, or their family and friends, may feel that things have gone too far. This is where professional help can be sought to get to grips with the problem. There are several organisations dedicated to this very issue that can provide much-needed help and support through what can be a tough time for the player as they struggle with their addiction. Most online casinos will have direct links to a number of sites that can help players with their gambling issues.
GamCare, Gamblers Anonymous and Gambling Therapy all offer excellent support to players around the world. They offer help and counselling to those players that are having issues – in many cases, they are ex-gamblers themselves and have created this important network to assist others.
Gambling is fun, and it should stay that way. For most of us, it is a highly enjoyable pastime that we can dabble in, as and when we feel like it. For those that find gambling presents a challenge and a dangerous playing ground, there are numerous ways to protect themselves from falling into the trap of addiction. From self-exclusion through to gambling counselling, someone is there to help on every step of this journey. Be aware of the options available and enjoying (responsibly) what online gaming has to offer.