Responsible Gambling

Responsible Gambling and support for players with addiction problems

Attention to responsible gaming has grown enormously in recent years and is leading to tangible results in reducing the problem of gambling addiction and related issues. Addiction is a serious diagnosis. Due to the difficulty of finding an "escape route", you may become inattentive, lose interest in life and not care at all about what happens to you.

Online casinos must offer players options to limit their gaming habits, such as self-exclusion, deposit limits, stake limits and much more. In addition to these, there are other tools, offered not only by gambling operators but by governments, licensing authorities or other third parties, that can come to assistance as well.

Help for Problem Gamblers

Given that gambling is such a serious problem, there are many organizations dedicated to assisting people with pathological gambling. It is advisable to read expert articles on safe play, responsible gambling and industry guidance before diving into gambling.

Each legal online casino provides responsible gambling practices for its customers. For example, when you register your gaming account, you are asked to set the maximum deposit limit per week. Furthermore, there is always the possibility of temporarily excluding yourself from the game, for 30, 60, or 90 days. After the self-exclusion period, you will be able to access your game account again, without the need for any further communication. You can also decide to exclude yourself from the game permanently, so your gaming account will be locked without a time limit in case of a strong addiction issue.

Problem gambling symptoms and diagnosis

Being able to raise an awareness of whether your gambling habits are normal or pathological is of crucial importance. Gambling addiction affects virtually every aspect of life; this is why its symptoms can be perceived in different areas and range from small psychological changes to the possible carrying out of illegal actions for financing gambling activities.

In this articles we will provide few main symptoms considered indicative of a pathological gambling situation:

  • You feel a need to play constantly increasing amounts of money to get the desired excitement;
  • Restlessness or irritability if game is reduced or stopped;
  • Repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, reduce or stop gamble;
  • Presence of persistent thoughts about the game;
  • The person plays when he feels uncomfortable (e.g. helpless, guilty, anxious, depressed);
  • After losing money, he/she often returns to play “to recover his losses”;
  • Lies to hide the extent of involvement in the game;
  • Problems at work or with study due to play;
  • Borrowing money!

Many people with gambling problems were considered as responsible and mature by family and friends before falling into addiction. If you think you are gambling often and spending too much, ask for help.

How to overcome problem gambling

You may be able to overcome gambling addiction only by your own strength, without the help of relatives, friends, partners or professionals. This may seem like the ideal option, but it is also probably the most difficult. You should begin to spend more and more time with your family and friends and work to improve your relationships with people who are important to you.

An addicted person should learn that potential distractions and relapses are quite common during a prolonged rehabilitation period, but it is very important not to lose hope and keep moving forward.

There are many authorities who organize support groups meetings in different countries or near where you live, there may be other support groups at other organizations, or independent groups. For Canadian residence there is ConnexOntario helpline: a free and confidential service which can help with recognizing the addiction symptoms, provide information about support in your community, and book first appointment with a treatment provider.

Responsible gambling practices in Canada

Finally, but not in order of importance, safe gambling is not just about gambler’s responsibly or avoiding addiction. To play really safe, you must also choose a fair and reliable casino. The operator can provide players with control tools, which will keep you updated on the duration of your game session, money lost or won during the session, which can be really useful.

Furthermore, do not combine alcohol or drugs with gambling and don't play when you're depressed, upset or anxious. People should maintain a balance between gambling and other activities. Always pay attention to the symptoms of gambling addiction and don't be afraid to talk to someone and get help.

Where to look for help

There is a wide range of possibilities to be helped: your family and friends, community services, residential facilities, anonymous gamblers meetings, specialists, etc.. In Canada as well you may find an aid from organizations, local communities and online support to help you with gambling addiction or with the planning of a safe play:

  • The Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario
  • International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviore, Montreal
  • The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto
  • Responsible Gambling Council, Toronto

These organizations can help with finding an assistance inside the local communities as well.

There also downloadable apps, like Gambling Therapy, Block Gambling Websites, Sobertool, to keep track of when you gamble, or feel the urge to bet, or to prevent you from accessing gambling platforms. There is no a unique program suitable for everyone: if one treatment modality did not work with a particular individual, another could have a great positive effect.