Responsible Gambling in the US
Gambling is fun, and it should be entered with such a mindset. However, it’s not always so rosy and losing money can touch a nerve, leading to problematic behavior like chasing losses and spending more than one can afford.
This is where Responsible Gambling comes in. It is not a single item to define, but an effort by independent organizations, state regulators and online casinos. The aim is to minimize problem gambling by offer solutions to problematic players, as well as tools to prevent issues in the first place.
The Importance of Responsible Gambling Efforts
It’s estimated that approximately 1% of the US population have a severe gambling problem, and up to 9% of young adults have experienced gambling problems. Meaning, millions of people are affected. Severe gambling addiction can lead to extreme problems, such as domestic violence, coinciding with alcohol or drug abuse. This issue has paramount importance that can’t be ignored.
Responsible gambling is imposed by state regulators, like the NJDGE, as well as online casinos.
These efforts address gambling problems with regulations, such as:
- Marketing Guidelines
- Security Checks (Credit Cards, SSN)
- Age Verification (ID card, passport, driver’s license)
- Proof of Income Checks
- Gambling Control Tools
- Help for Problem Gamblers
There are many instances where responsible gambling efforts can help. Depositing large amounts of money will instantly trigger a proof of income check. Online casinos must verify if you can afford what you spend, or you’re risking a lot more than you should. After all, entertainment should be your primary goal, and spending within your budget is crucially important.
Tips on Controlling Your Gambling
Ultimately, it’s up to you to control your habits. Regulations and guidelines can only do so much. If you don’t use what’s available to you, whether it’s advice or tools, then your impulses can get the best of you.
Here’s our best advice of staying in control when playing at online casinos.
Gamble for fun!
Gambling should be a fun activity. We can’t ignore the fact you can win money while doing so. However, understand that the odds are always stacked against you. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying adrenaline of playing at online casinos, the same as you would going on a rollercoaster, but avoid a “playing for profit” mindset.
Set a budget, stick to it!
As we said, gambling should be for entertainment. As you’d set aside a budget for going to the movies, or a restaurant, do the same for playing at an online casino. We strongly advise not to surpass your budget, because that’s one of the first signs of a gambling addiction problem.
Never chase losses
Going down the rabbit hole of chasing losses is a surefire sign of losing even more. When you chase losses in frustration, you’re more likely to make even worse decisions than before, just to get back what you lost. Once you’ve spent your budget, take a break – cool off, and play again when you feel good.
Take advantage of responsible gambling tools!
Most online casinos let you use self-control tools that will do the work for you. In the heat of the moment, it can be challenging to stop yourself from playing. However, if you set a deposit or loss limit before playing, then you’d have no choice but to stop once you’ve reached this limit.
The most important bit is to recognize the signs of bad gambling habits while they’re happening. Once you’ve done so, even a short break to cool you off can help immensely. It will clear your head and let you think more rationally again.
Gambling Control Tools at US Online Casinos
US online casinos offer significant self-control tools that can help you control your spending. There are also ways of excluding yourself from playing, if you feel things are getting out of hand.
Typically, you can set most limits on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. If you use what’s available to you, it’s virtually impossible to spend outside your means. Reversing a limit takes at least 24 hours, meaning you can’t act on impulse and spend more than your limit.
The tools available at each US online casino can vary. Different state regulations will affect this, and you may find a difference in self-control tools in a New Jersey vs a Pennsylvania online casino. Some casinos employ effective tools even without an obligation by state regulations, as a form of good will to ensure satisfied customers.
Self-Exclusion & Cool-Off Periods
Self-exclusion is an important self-control tool available at every US online casino.
You can self-exclude for a short, long or permanent period of time. You can manually request self-exclusion at any online casino by talking to customer support.
Keep in mind, self-exclusion is usually irreversible.
If you feel you need a temporary break, that’s what cool-off periods are for. This is an additional tool you can use to restrict yourself from playing for a shorter period of time.
Identifying a Gambling Problem
Here are some common symptoms to look out for if you have a suspicion of a gambling problem, or you’d like to get familiar with the immediate signs of trouble.
- Trying to get back lost money (chasing losses)
- Lying to closed ones about your gambling habits
- Risking relationships with closed ones because of gambling
- Gambling as an escape from issues
- Trying to reduce gambling without success
- Needing to increase your gambling spending to achieve the same thrill
There are many ways of identifying a gambling problem. In fact, odds are that most people with a problem are feeling some of the negatives of gambling addiction or trying to surpass them. We recommend using the NPPG’s Screening Tool for anyone with a minor suspicion. It can serve as a good starting point to your path on getting help and treating gambling addiction.
Gambling Assistance Organizations in the US
The NCPG (National Council on Problem Gambling) is the head authority on gambling assistance in the States. You can reach them through the following channels:
At the NCPG website, you can also find help in your state, which includes support groups, self-help tools and advice, counseling, and various directions for treatments.
Getting help is free and easy, you’re not alone! Have a look at where you can reach out depending on your state of residence. Most of these organizations are affiliated with the NCPG, so you’ll be in good hands!
If you have gambling issues, we urge you to take advantage of the free, anonymous support offered by these agencies. Keep in mind, in some cases the states’ department of health oversees gambling addiction treatment as well.
For states without an individual responsible gambling authority, we recommend getting in touch with the NCPG itself. In fact, we recommend they be your first choice regardless of state, as the primary authority on problem gambling matters.
Self Help Resources
In addition to resorting to he NCPG or your state’s problem gambling institution, there are additional global organizations and communities that can help.
As their name implies, these are completely anonymous websites and communities. You can seek help by gambling assistance experts, or chat with different people, share experience, and help each other.