Responsible Gaming

No matter the culture or time, humans have always loved gambling. Whether 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 be a little too tempting. This can lead to gambling addiction or cause gaming to interfere with daily responsibilities and overall wellness. 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 well-being.

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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, sports betting apps, and any other kind of betting activity you can enjoy. Betting establishments of all kinds attract bettors, knowing that some will win, but most 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 expect to make money.

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 appreciate that part of their personalities and 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 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 smart practices. Here are a few examples.

Budget Limitations

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. Responsible gambling does not include binging or going all-in for the rush of it.

Furthermore, some mobile sportsbooks have deposit caps that players can use at any time. These will prevent players from depositing more cash beyond a set limit even if they want to.

Time Limits

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 money to make up for progressively mounting losses) is always a bad habit. Players must 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 sportsbooks will have time recording functions that 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 winning big (which will rarely, if ever, happen). Instead, enjoying any small wins you might experience is a better practice. Small wins are 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 not in the appropriate mental state to enjoy gaming maturely.
  • Many gambling organizations are legally required 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 return for more. This doesn’t happen if their most common patrons lose all of their money.

Gaming Limits

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 never to gamble while drunk).

If you don’t know whether a casino or online sportsbook has any user controls or safety features, check out their site’s “responsible gaming” section or contact their customer service team. They should be able to give you information about what tools are available.

If a particular site doesn’t have any controls, look elsewhere. 

Self-Exclusion Options

Players also always have the power to practice self-exclusion.

This allows players to prevent themselves from gambling for a certain 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, you must get help immediately. A gambling addiction can compound every day that you wait to get assistance. You can call the National Council on Problem Gambling (1-800-522-4700) if you or someone you know needs help.

Check out these resources for more information:

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. 

About the Author
Carson Mundy

Carson Mundy

Brand Content Manager
Carson Mundy is the brand content manager of Gaming Today. With an education background in politics and sports, he covers the legislative side of the sports betting industry. Carson has more than a decade of experience in the Canadian media and marketing industries, with time spent at The Canadian Press, Microsoft News, resulta, and other national outlets.

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