Online gambling is a topic that is still surrounded by plenty of scepticism, however, it has never been as safe and as regulated as it is today. Responsible Gambling is a concept that brings under one umbrella a series of legislative measures and policies aimed at making online gambling safe. Part of the process requires online casinos to put in place a series of safeguards for the prevention of detrimental behaviour that might be a consequence of real money online gambling. In this article, we shall explore the main aspects of Responsible Gambling and how they are integrated into every online casino.
What is Responsible Gambling?
The Responsible Gambling concept applies to various gambling stakeholders, who must implement certain conditions for the protection of their players. It is aimed towards maintaining high standards and a safer user experience, whereby, vulnerable players are protected at all times.
The concept of Responsible Gambling encourages players to view gambling as a fun activity meant only for recreation and discourages the notion of gambling as a job substitute. The majority of gamblers don’t have a problem with this ideal and play for fun, spending only what they can afford. However, some gamblers find it increasingly difficult to distance themselves from gambling, allowing it to take over their lives negatively.
Gambling regulators require casino operators to adopt several principles in their services, marketing and products. These principles hit on 7 main areas of Responsible Gambling and which are very relevant for the iGaming industry:
- Prevention of underage gambling
- Protection of vulnerable people
- Safer online environment
- Privacy of personal information
- Online payment security
- Marketing that is ethical and responsible
- Protection against criminal activity
To make sure players know what is meant by Responsible Gambling, each online casinos has a dedicated page where they share all manner of information. Here players can gain quick access to problem gambling information, tips on how to gamble safely, information and tools for the protection of minors, instructions on how to use the gambling tools in the player’s account, a self-assessment test and general information on how Responsible Gambling is put into practice throughout the site. The page also includes the names and links to various professional organizations that offer various services to problem gamblers.
Do you have a potential gambling addiction?
Do you think you might have a gambling problem? The below questions have been curated to help players ascertain whether they have a gambling problem or not. Ask yourself each one and if you answer ‘yes’ we recommend checking out the list of professional organizations listed at the bottom of this page.
- Does the amount of money you’ve spent gambling incite feelings of guilt?
- Are bets of a large value the only kinds of bets to make you feel excited?
- When you lose is it difficult to stop gambling?
- Are you and your family having financial problems because of gambling?
- Is gambling harming your relationships, your job or studies?
- Are you experiencing health problems, including stress and anxiety because of gambling?
- Do you feel restless when you are not gambling?
- Do you suppose you might have a gambling problem?
Helping others with a Gambling Addiction
Sometimes it is difficult to imagine a relative or friend developing a gambling addiction, however, it happens more often then one is willing to believe. That is why it is important to know the signs of problem gambling to recognize the problem early on and reach for help for both of you. The first signs of problem gambling are usually tied with a person’s financial situation, the way they start spending their time, their mood and behaviour. To help you pinpoint such behaviour easily we are going to share with you some of the most common signs.
Mood and Behaviour
- Personality changes
- Poor work performance
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Manipulating others
- Always agitated, upset, and worried for no specific reason
- Threatening and lying others to manipulate them
- Feeling hopeless, depressed and frustrated
- Money missing from the bank
- Household valuable missing
- Always short on money even if they work
- Multiple loans
- Overdue bills
- Borrowing money regularly
- Taciturn about financial records
- Lack of food supplies at home
- Taking a lot of sick and off days
- Always late for appointments
- Unexplained absences
- Taking ages to carry out simple tasks
- Long hours gambling
The above are all indicative signs of problem gambling, however, they might be difficult to spot, especially as the gambler might try to hide them on purpose. Another telltale sign is an outburst of anger when questioned about his behaviour.
The directly impacted relative might find it hard to admit that someone they care about has a gambling addiction. This could be followed by guilty feelings and self-blame for not having realized that there was a problem in the first place. A situation like this can arise feelings of anger and betrayal. All of these emotions are completely normal in the situation and they might be difficult to deal with when trying to understand the gambler.
When approaching the gambler about his problem, it is best to try to understand his feelings and thoughts. Feelings of understanding will help forge a stronger connection that will enable you both to make a series of decisions that would help both of you in overcoming the situation.
Legal age for gambling and Protecting Minors
The main aim of Responsible Gambling is to protect vulnerable players and that includes underage people. In New Zealand, the legal gambling age is 20 years old and it is prohibited to gamble or gain access to the inside of a gambling venue. Online casino operators have a series of checks in place to make sure that no one under the legal age can access their platform and play for real money. The first of these checks require every player to input their date of birth during registration. Further checks are carried out when a player requests a withdrawal. It is a standard procedure for online casinos to require verification documents to ascertain the identity and the age of the player.
Players with underage people in their household have a responsibility to protect them as well. There are various things one can do to make sure they don’t come in contact with any gambling-related sites or advertisements. Below are some tips to help you protect the minors:
- Educate children about gambling, negative effects and legal age, early on
- Keep casino accounts login details safely out of reach
- Don’t save passwords on your computers
- Use parental control software
- Install website blocking software
The latter can be quite useful as they can be set to block gambling sites and gambling-related advertisements while your children are using your electronic devices. Some of the best software for this purpose has been tried and tested and include:
- CYBER PATROL
- Net Nanny
Responsible Gambling Tools
To help players regulate their gambling and maintain it under control, online casino operators have introduced several tools whereby players can set limits for themselves. These tools are accessible from the player account and they can be used by all players to keep track of their gambling and adjust more responsibly. Below we have listed the tools that are offered by online casinos and we shall explain each and what they do.
The deposit limit tool allows you to limit the amount of money you can deposit over different periods. Once the limit is reached, no more funds can be added to the casino account and you have to wait for a certain amount of time to go by before you can deposit again. In this way, you can control how much you are spending on gambling and it can be very useful especially if you feel you are spending more then you should.
As the name suggests this tool allows players to set limits, this time on how much they can loose over certain periods. Once the limit has been reached, regardless if you still have money in your account, it will stop you from placing any more bets. It can serve as a reality check that makes you realize how much you’re losing and establish more responsible habits.
Instead of limiting your funds, the session limit allows you to control how long you play either per session, daily, weekly or monthly. Once the time you have set up for yourself is up, you will be logged out of your account and won’t be able to log back in until the limit has been reset. Apart from serving as a reality check, this feature allows you to dedicate to gambling recreational time only and not hours reserved for other commitments.
If you think you are betting too much, this tool can be quite handy as it allows you to limit how much bets you can place. Regardless of whether you have won or lost, once the betting limit has been reached, you can only play the demo versions as the system won’t allow you to place any more real money bets. It can help you establish better control over how many bets you are placing over certain periods and regulate yourself more responsibly.
Rather than a tool, the transaction history serves as a reality check whereby players are reminded of all their account activity. The information displayed includes deposits, withdrawals, results, and bets. Players are always advised to check it out from time to time as it can give them a pretty good idea of where they are with their gambling and if they are getting carried away.
The self-exclusion tab is one of the best tools available for players, as it allows them to take breaks from gambling whenever they feel the need. Through this tool, players can close their account either for a short period or permanently, reducing the temptation of gambling again if they don’t wish too. The Responsible Gambling program encourages gamblers to take breaks whenever they feel that gambling is becoming too prominent in their lives and this tool can be very helpful in establishing those kinds of boundaries.
The self-assessment consists of a series of questions that players have to ask themselves and answer yes or no. They are thought out to help players get a picture of their gambling profile and establish whether they have a gambling problem or not. Every online casino offers some version of the same questions and some platforms even provide you with a summary at the end highlighting the negatively effected parts of your life together with advice.
The Time Alert is a notification service that pops up now and then to deliver a little reality check and is particularly useful to those who become engrossed in their gambling. The notification lets you know how long you have been gambling and any changes to your balance.
Gambling help & counselling organizations
Although gambling is a highly regulated activity, there are still risks associated with the activity that can impact players’ lives and those of their loved ones negatively. That is why these days there is plenty of help for gambling addiction, often offered by non-profit, independent organizations, who are managed by professionals dedicated to helping problem gamblers find the support they need. These organizations offer many services both online and in specialized clinics. Some of these services include providing information about responsible gambling, counselling sessions, debt-advise, forums, help-groups and even support for family members.
There is plenty of help for Kiwi players too, and below we have made a list of some of the organizations in New Zealand who support Responsible Gambling and offer related services.
NZ Ministry of Health
The New Zealand Ministry of Health offers various services related to problem gambling. The Ministry of Health participates in national awareness campaigns and education programs for the prevention of problem gambling. One particular campaign they’ve put plenty of emphases on is called Choice Not Chance! Furthermore, it offers a helpline and information services, counselling and follows up services. Players can reach out through the below contact details:
- Website – www.health.govt.nz/our-work/mental-health-and-addictions/gambling/problem-gambling-services
- Phone – 0800 611 116
Gambling Helpline New Zealand
As the name suggests this organization mans the national freephone support service for people who are negatively affected by gambling. This is a 24 hours free service offered by phone, where Kiwis can call to receive immediate support. Some of that support might involve being referred to another support agency or information services for problem gambling. The website provides plenty of information about the topic, together with a forum and self-help resources.
- Website – www.gamblinghelpline.co.nz
- 24/7 hour freephone – 0800 654 655
The Health Navigator website provides a platform where people from New Zealand can find information about health and self-care information. The website has a whole page dedicated to problem gambling with information and a list of support agencies for all New Zealand provinces and areas.
- Website – www.healthnavigator.org.nz/health-a-z/g/gambling/#Services
- Problem Gambling Foundation helpline – 0800 664 262
Oasis – Salvation Army
Oasis welcomes people from all cultures, religions and walks of life who are concerned about gambling harm. The organization offers a caring, supportive and non-judgemental environment, where Kiwi players can share their stories and find all the support they need to overcome their difficulties. The organization offers various services amongst which counselling for gamblers and their families, support and education groups, assistance with self-exclusion, and they extend their services by offering resources like food, clothes, habitation, advice, legal issues and many more. They have various offices throughout New Zealand and by visiting their site players can locate the closest office.
- Website – www.oasis.salvationarmy.org.nz
- Phone – 0800 53 00 00
Gambling Addiction Help Worldwide
- New Zealand – Gambling Helpline – 0800 654 655
- 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)