No matter the culture or time period, humans have always loved gambling. Whether it’s rolling dice or betting on sports outcomes, gambling is a treasured pastime that many of us enjoy all the time. But there are guidelines for responsible gaming that every bettor should follow.
For all the fun gaming can provide, it can also be a little too tempting. This can lead to gambling addiction or cause gaming to interfere with daily responsibilities and overall wellness. In fact, it’s estimated that about 1% of all US adults have a “severe” gambling problem.
Because gaming is both fun and potentially risky, it’s important to understand responsible gaming and to make sure you practice it for your own wellbeing.
What Is Responsible Gaming?
In a nutshell, responsible gaming means partaking in gambling activities without letting it affect your overall livelihood or preventing yourself from losing too much money. Practically speaking, responsible gaming includes:
- always betting less than you can afford to lose
- setting limits on gambling activities
- avoiding gambling activities when other responsibilities are more important
In a way, responsible gaming means recognizing one unavoidable truth: the house is designed to win. This applies to casino games, sportsbooks, and any other kind of betting activity you can enjoy. Betting establishments of all kinds attract bettors knowing that some of them will win, but most of them will lose. This ensures that the betting establishments in question can make a profit and stay in business.
With this in mind, anyone partaking in a gambling activity should do so first and foremost from the perspective of fun. Responsible gaming means gambling for the sake of the thrill and excitement inherent in the activity, not because you actually expect to make money.
In fact, one of the biggest parts of responsible gaming is expecting to lose. But if you practice responsible gaming regularly, this won’t be a problem because you’ll never bet too much on any wager.
Why Is Responsible Gaming Important?
Responsible gaming can help adults enjoy regular gambling activities without experiencing the consequences of gambling addiction. This, in turn, allows people to acknowledge and enjoy that part of their personalities, as well as keep up with their social circles and favorite pastimes, without having to “quit” entirely.
The consequences of gambling addiction or irresponsible gambling can be severe and include:
- losing money that you need to pay for serious bills, like your mortgage or rent
- spending too much time away from friends or family
- going into significant debt in order to pay for gambling habits
Responsible gaming can help gaming enthusiasts avoid all of these potential pitfalls.
Best Personal Practices For Responsible Gaming
Responsible gaming is a joint effort between both players and gambling institutions. Players can take responsible gaming into their own hands by adopting some smart practices. Here are a few examples.
Players who enjoy gaming all the time can help themselves by setting strict budgets. For example, with online casinos and sportsbooks, players can train themselves to only deposit as much as they can reasonably lose.
Furthermore, some mobile sportsbooks have deposit caps that players can engage at any time. These will prevent players from depositing more cash beyond a set limit even if they want to.
Similarly, online and brick-and-mortar gamblers can often benefit from setting time limits. This prevents them from spending too much time at the local casino or staring at their smartphone screens all day.
Avoid Chasing Losses
“Loss chasing” (where a player continually bets more and more money trying to make up for progressively mounting losses) is always a bad habit. It’s important for players to stick to their time and budget limits even if they have a rotten day and lose everything after a few hands or rounds.
Use Recording Apps And Functions
Some of the best online casino apps and online sportsbooks will have time recording functions that can tell you how long you spend on your app or activity. This can help you avoid spending too long on gaming and help you get back to the rest of your life.
Gamble In Short Bursts
Players who have trouble quitting while they are ahead might benefit from gaming only in short bursts or time frames. This prevents their minds from setting into routines, which may make it more difficult to quit when it’s time to go home.
Enjoy Small Wins
Remember, the fun of gaming is found in the experience itself, not actually winning big (which will rarely, if ever, happen). Instead, it’s a better practice to enjoy any small wins you might experience. Small wins are basically a bonus to the main joy of gaming on your favorite app or at your favorite casino.
How Can Gaming Outlets Prioritize Responsible Gaming
Gaming outlets can also contribute to responsible gaming practices in a variety of ways:
- For instance, some online casinos and sportsbooks have automatic timeout features that will kick players off of their apps if they spend too long in a single day
- Retail casinos, horseracing tracks, and other brick-and-mortar gambling establishments will often cut off players who are intoxicated or who seem like they’re not in the appropriate mental state to enjoy gaming maturely
- Many gambling organizations are required by law to limit advertisements, preventing minors and other vulnerable groups from being exposed to gaming activities before they can control themselves
- Of course, minor gambling is strictly forbidden under any circumstances. Common gambling ages of 18 and 21 can be found throughout the US
Gaming outlets like casinos and sportsbooks often adopt these practices because they want their patrons to have a good time and come back for more. This doesn’t happen if their most common patrons lose all of their money.
It’s especially recommended that you only use gambling apps and websites that give you options to limit your deposit amount, deposit frequency, and time spent on the app. The best apps will have a variety of safety measures to help prevent you from spending too much money, even while intoxicated (though it’s a good idea to never gamble while drunk).
If you don’t know whether a casino or online sportsbook as any user controls or safety features, check out the “responsible gaming” section of their site or contact their customer service team. They should be able to give you information about what tools are available to you.
If a particular site doesn’t have any controls, look elsewhere.
Players also always have the power to practice self-exclusion.
This allows players to prevent themselves from gambling at all for a certain time period by voluntarily putting their names on lists kept by individual casinos or sportsbooks (or their parent companies).
Players who have difficulty limiting themselves with gambling will do this so that casino authorities, for example, don’t let them in the door or let them place a wager. Self-exclusion is offered as an option in all US states that have legal gambling of any type.
Consider this as a drastic option if other safety resources or self-control strategies don’t work well enough to prevent you from spending too much money on gambling activities.
Responsible Gaming Resources
Players can also contact a variety of responsible gaming resources if they’re having trouble keeping limits on their gambling time.
If you’re struggling with a gambling addiction, it’s imperative that you get help right away. The consequences of gambling addiction compound every day that you wait. Getting started is as easy as calling the National Council on Problem Gambling at 1-800-522-4700.
Check out these resources for more information:
- GamblersAnonymous.org is one of the best resources for gambling addiction help. It can be helpful for those who believe they are alone in their gambling addiction.
- The National Foundation for Credit Counseling is a valuable resource if you need to rebuild your credit score and other financial aspects after gambling addiction.
- The International Center for Responsible Gaming is a valuable international resource to help individuals around the world deal with online gaming addiction.
- The National Council on Problem Gambling can help individuals who need assistance in breaking gaming addiction. It also includes a 24/7 toll-free hotline.
Ultimately, it’s in everyone’s best interest to practice responsible gaming. By making gambling a safe and regulated industry, more and more states will legalize different gambling activities and players will be able to enjoy their favorite pastimes more regularly.