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Responsible Gambling

Playing with real cash to win more of it can be great fun and offer plenty of entertainment value, provided those who engage in this pastime can control what they are doing and recognize the danger signs of losing control.

This ability to stay in control and see any danger coming is referred to as responsible gambling or responsible gaming - terms that are widely used by gambling operators and others offering gambling services in the industry. Pages giving this type of information should be clearly visible on any respectable website that describes gambling activities, ways to play cash games, or opportunities to place real money bets.

As long as a person is old enough, lives somewhere where it is not illegal, has spare money that he or she can afford to lose, and can access working options for depositing cash into an account, it is often easy to find a wide range of opportunities to gamble.

But virtually all forms of gambling bring the risk of losing money alongside the chance of winning it. This loss could represent a small amount of cash or lots of it.

And alongside that possibility, there is also the issue of addiction. Many games are addictive by nature; the lure of winning money can be addictive, and for someone who has a personality prone to addiction, this can make the perfect recipe for problems.

These issues have a name - problem gambling. Those who fall into this bracket can be labeled problem gamblers.

So the way for people to try to avoid problem gambling issues is known as responsible gambling, and on this page, we are going to look at some of the tips and signs to watch for to identify a gambling problem, how to take steps to gamble responsibly, what stance the gaming operators and other service providers take, and where to go for information on getting help.

We urge our visitors to please read this responsible gambling page of carefully – ideally before depositing cash and taking any risks of losing it.

10 Responsible Gambling Rules To Remember

At a high level, there are a number of important points to consider around responsible or problem gambling. We will take a deeper look at some of these in a minute, but for now the most important are:

  • One should not let gambling gain control – instead, one should control it
  • Know when to walk away – when it is no longer fun, stop
  • Do not allow ego or a nice win to lead to over-confidence
  • Set a limit on losses or length of the gambling session – do not go over it
  • Avoid chasing losses
  • Do not get involved if under the legal age
  • Try to keep gambling limited to entertainment purposes
  • If it is getting out of hand, look into some form of self-exclusion program
  • Anyone who thinks he or she might have a problem ought to seek advice, help, or further information
  • Always be aware of local gambling regulations. Breaking the law is another way someone can give themselves gambling problems

Steps to Take to Avoid the Harms of Compulsive or Problem Gambling

Almost everyone hits points in their life where they get pulled into something that is not good but is very hard to stop. It feels like almost being forced to continue. It is like being compelled and having little choice in the matter.

Compulsive gambling practices sit squarely in this category and almost always have no benefit for anyone. To give as much chance as possible of not getting into problems, take note of the following:

Gamble Cautiously

One should always gamble cautiously and only with what can be safely afforded – and remember that this amount will vary from time to time and from person to person.

The key is not to gamble in such a way as to lose excessive amounts of money or let losing have strong psychological or physical effects or in any way have a negative impact on those nearby (family, friends, work colleagues).

If someone can achieve that – and stay personally calm, disciplined, and focused – there should be no reason why they cannot spend money that they can afford to lose on betting entertainment.

Keep The Focus On Entertainment

There are two types of gambling - solely to win money and for entertainment purposes with the possibility of winning.

It may be possible to bet or play just to win money, and with the right choices, experience, and use of strategies, this can be achieved successfully. But the best way to gamble and at the same time lessen the prospects of gambling problems from it is to treat it as a form of entertainment.

Enjoy gambling. See it as a form of entertainment that one must pay for. This is not always an easy thing to do, but it is important to keep this mindset.

Avoid Chasing Losses

Risking more and more money to win back what has been lost rarely results in success over the long term. Any systems that involve staking increasing amounts of money will only work by sheer luck and will almost always fail, and just playing with abandon and guesses is also a bad idea, which will very likely lead to failure.

Do not Be Over-Optimistic

Optimism is a personality trait found in nearly everyone who gambles. It is almost a necessity because without it, there would be no point in starting.

It becomes a potential problem when over-optimism creeps in. Those suffering from this cognitive bias often feel invincible, as if they cannot lose, and that their skill is superior to everyone else's.

There are instances, of course, where this may be true, but in reality, it is rare. There are always going to be circumstances where it is either better to stop completely or at least slow down.

Be Aware of the Cost of Gambling

Keeping records of wins and losses is very useful. Seeing those amounts recorded in black and white helps in quantifying what cash is disappearing or, hopefully, what is coming in as profit.

It is very easy to lose track, just like losing track of spending in everyday life.

Remember too that it is not only money that can be lost; time gets consumed too. Time is valuable to everyone.

Only Play When Mentally Sound

Drugs, alcohol, or even some forms of medication can adversely affect how thinking, reactions, and situations are dealt with. It is unwise to gamble while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Be Careful With Gambling Venues

It is pretty easy to check with any gambling operator to ensure that they follow all necessary legislation and have processes in place to protect or assist anyone who may be having gambling difficulties.

Recognizing the Signs of Having a Problem

One of the key ways of protecting oneself from harm of any type is to be able to see the danger coming. If one is in danger without having seen it coming, then it is important to realize the situation as quickly as possible.

So be mindful of the aspects of gambling that may indicate movement in the wrong direction. Consider the following list of questions, and if the answer is “yes” to more than a handful, then it might be time to stop and get some help:

  • Has gambling ever affected home life, making the gambler, family members, or friends unhappy in any way?
  • Has gambling had any negative impact on reputation at home or work?
  • Has gambling ever been used to win money to cover a debt or solve other financial issues?
  • After losing, has there ever been the desire to win back losses as soon as possible?
  • Has time from work or education been lost due to gambling?
  • After winning, has there been the immediate urge to try and win more?
  • Has the individual ever gambled until the last of his or her money was gone?
  • Has money ever been borrowed to give more cash to gamble with?
  • Has anything ever been sold to get extra money for gambling?
  • Have money intended for other spending ever been used money to gamble?
  • Has gambling ever led to carelessness with the welfare of the gambler or family?
  • If there was a time or cash limit for gambling, has the person gambled longer or with more money than planned?
  • Has gambling been used to escape worries or other problems in life?
  • Has the gambler ever committed, or thought of committing, an illegal act to finance gambling?
  • Has gambling caused sleeping difficulties or any form of illness?
  • Has the individual ever considered any form of self-harm or suicide as a result of gambling?

How the Operators Offer Protection

Almost all regulated or licensed operators are either forced to take steps to protect their customers or have an internal desire to do the best for them. Many unlicensed or unregulated operators will also offer similar protections.

Many take that responsibility very seriously and have various protective measures in place. Some of these can be activated by the customer while others are enforced by the operator themselves:

Age – Limiting Access by Minors

Most respectable operators will set rules that protect minors from underage gambling and steadfastly enforce any age restrictions in place. Allowing underage accounts is almost always a big no-no.

These rules vary from country to country and are in place for good reasons, which we fully support. At a young age, it is difficult to fully appreciate the ramifications of actions, and in the gambling arena, starting out early is more likely to result in more problem gamblers.

Anyone under the legal age for the country they reside in should not play and should avoid making any attempt to get involved in gambling.

Households with at least one adult and younger family member(s) can take some steps to protect the vulnerable individuals:

  1. Use effective child protection software to block access to gaming sites
  2. Never leave a computer unattended while logged into gaming software
  3. Do not share credit card or bank account details with minors
  4. Do not leave the “Save Password” option enabled on PC login screens
  5. Create separate access profiles for children on computers to prevent access to personal information

Self-Limiting & Exclusion for Problem Gamblers

Some operators offer the ability for users to choose a limit on how much they can lose or even deposit. This can be in local currency, so it can be a euro, pound, or dollar limit. There should also be options for total self-exclusion.

Players can also set a time limit so they are automatically logged out and cannot get back in for a preset period of time.

These options are normally found somewhere in the account details section.

It is not a bad idea to seek out gambling operators that offer these features and only use them. That way, these elements are present if needed.

Self-exclusion tools can take a variety of forms, including:

  • Configurable deposit limits – Set how much can be deposited over a choice of time-frames.
  • Activity alerts – Set how much playing time during a session before getting alerted by a pop-up message
  • Time-Out – Request a period of time where it will not be possible to login to the account
  • Self-Assessment Questionnaires – Designed to highlight answers that show that there may be a problem
  • Complete Self-Exclusion – For use to prevent gambling for a longer period of time or maybe even permanently
  • Restricted Internet Access – PCs/laptops/mobile devices can run software, such as GamBlock or Betfilter, which will restrict access to all gambling sites

Seeking Help & Who To Contact

If someone hits a point where they believe they are no longer in control of their gambling (and ideally before hitting that point), then they should get help.

There are plenty of help websites that offer advice and run gambling programs, often set up by legislative bodies. Many are listed below. There will be at least one offering support for players in whatever region they live.

There are different bodies in different regions of the world. In theory, they all offer similar levels of support, and most will approach the giving of that support in similar ways.

Many run hotlines that allow gamblers talk to someone immediately.

US Responsible Gaming Support Organizations

American Gaming Association Code Of Conduct:
Gamblers Anonymous US:

Australia Responsible Gambling support

GamblingHelp Online:
Gamblers Anonymous Australia:

United Kingdom Responsible Gambling Support Organizations

Gamblers Anonymous:
National Council on Problem Gambling:

For gambling help in Canada, see the section on our page on Canadian online poker.

Anyone not located in any of these countries is free to contact us at Details of how to reach us are on the contact page, and we will aim to provide resources for help in any particular local region.

Of course, there are other ways for those with a problem to get help. Family members or friends may be of some assistance though, in most cases, it is going to be professional help that gets the best results.


All types of gambling present risks of becoming addicted, and addiction in any form can have many negative consequences. To avoid that risk completely, it is best not to gamble at all although the vast majority of gamblers can do so and control it without any major issues.

There is a big difference between gambling and losing money with no harmful effects and gambling away money that an individual cannot afford to lose.

Which one is it in the case of any particular person? And can someone recognize when they get to the point where it does matter or is becoming harmful?

Understanding the different elements of responsible gaming will help one to be able to answer these questions. Knowing how to set a time limit or a dollar limit is important.

Go back to the start. Read it all again. There is plenty of information on this page, and this really is critical stuff. Continually losing is no fun, and the overriding advice we can give is to treat gambling as fun and try to keep it for entertainment purposes.

What is the point if there is no enjoyment?

And believe us, losing a lot of money is not fun (unless one already has so much of it that it makes no difference) and is not what we want anyone using to experience.