We know that players play for real money and there is the chance that you’ll lose some money. We hope that all our readers see online gaming as primarily exactly that — gaming. Responsible Gaming is the catch-all term that encompasses exactly that — seeing online gaming as primarily gaming.
The term Responsible Gaming as it refers to players means:
- To play games as games.
- To always bet money that you can see as part of your entertainment budget.
- To be aware of your behavior if you show signs of excessive gambling.
We always encourage our readers to set realistic budgets for gaming just as they do for vacations, movies, and clothes. If you play for any other reason, especially if you play to get rich quick by winning a huge slots jackpot, we urge you to seek professional guidance and to stop playing online casino games at once.
It’s okay to actually get rich quick by winning a million dollars. The problem is when getting rich is your primary goal and the main reason you play.
Responsible Gaming also speaks directly to the casino’s commitment to its players:
- A casino must never encourage players to bet more than they can afford.
- A casino must track every player’s activity and must flag those who appear to be problem gamblers.
- A casino must do everything it can to assure that under age people don’t gamble away their family’s money.
Responsible Gaming, from the side of the casino, also includes:
- Fair business practices.
- Commitment to players’ privacy.
- Commitment to excellent customer service.
- Banking security.
When we consider a casino for our recommendation, we take all of these casino-oriented responsible gaming elements into account.
A Two-way Street
As much as players have a responsibility to themselves and to the casino to gamble within their means, casinos should make some specific programs available to their players. Among these programs are encouraging gamers to set up self-limiting gambling budgets and providing or facilitating advice services to self-identified problem gamblers.
A casino doesn’t have to employ professional advisers, coaches, and the like to serve all players. It should have references available to players so a player can get the help he or she needs even after they have stopped gambling at that casino.
All the casinos below have passed our stringent requirements for practicing Responsible Gaming:
An Independent Helpful Organization
The Responsible Gambling Council is an independent organization based in Toronto whose mission is to do everything it can to eliminate problem gambling (It is also called the Responsible Gaming Council). In many cases, a problem gambler has to stop gambling entirely in order to gets his or her life back. The Responsible Gaming Council helps problem gamblers find the professional help they need. All responsible casinos in and out of Canada should work synergistically with the RGC to help problem gamblers get healthy once again.
The council provides invaluable responsible gambling service. It has articles that help gamblers and their loved ones deal with problem gambling.
Symptoms of Problem Gambling
Here are a few classic symptoms that you or a loved one or a friend may have a gambling problem:
- Obsessed with gambling to the exclusion of so many other worthwhile activities.
- Getting angry at anyone who suggests that he or she has a problem.
- Insisting that you’ll quit “as soon as you get even”. Problem gamblers rarely get even because they make the wildest bets, ones with the least chance of winning.
- Hiding gambling activity from friends and family.
- Pawning a valuable item for far less than it’s worth in order to gamble.
- Gambling as an escape.
- Gambling as a type of “drug” that provides a kind of “high”.
- Missing work or family events in order to gamble.
- Neglecting one’s health, personal hygiene, sleep patterns and the like.
This organization, patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous, has had great success in returning compulsive gamblers to a healthy lifestyle. Gamblers Anonymous provides the utmost privacy for the gambler. One aspect of dealing with problem gambling is the sense of utter humiliation problem gamblers feel. GA is run and attended by people who recognize that they are addicted gamblers. They have all experienced the humiliation and often are the best people to reach out to a problem gambler.
Family and Friends
It’s never easy to confront a problem gambler. Denial and defensiveness are hallmarks of the problem gambler’s psyche. Family and friends need to be careful how they broach the subject. Both the RGC and GA have people who can help family and friends get the ball rolling to help a problem gambler.
Casinos and Responsible Gaming
There is only so much a casino can do to redress a gambling problem. Flagging suspected problem gambling is one way that casinos can combat this problem. Despite the obvious limitations of the casino, we feel that casinos share responsibility with gamblers themselves and their families and friends to begin the healing process.
In Their Own Best Interest?
We recognize that casinos might not like to lose the money gambled and lost by a high roller with a gambling problem. Nevertheless, this is part of the casinos commitment to keeping online gaming as a game rather than a purely gambling experience.
In the long run, the role every responsible online casino plays in addressing problem gambling and providing a Responsible Gaming atmosphere at the casino is in the casino’s best interest.