Responsible Gambling

Online gambling is legal in the US, complete with making bets and withdrawing winnings. While online casino websites can provide a good way to spend your free time, this path of entertainment is also well known to trigger dangerous habits in certain people who are more vulnerable to addictive psychological patterns.

Responsible gambling is all about keeping the hobby in lines, so it stays just that: a pleasant hobby, and a way to unwind. We take great care in making sure gamers get all the help they require in times of crisis.

Check yourself with this simple list to see whether you follow the main principles of responsible gambling:

  1. Whenever you start a game, remember that your main goal is to enjoy the process: to have fun, relax and get amused. If you are not getting positive vibes, maybe there’s no reason for you to play anymore today?
  2. Never see casino games and apps as investments you need to «work» with. The cash you use for bets is just your activity fee. Whenever you or someone else wins, it’s not a «goal» result that should be replicated every time, but just a fun and pleasant coincidence.
  3. Choose a money limit for a day, and keep it the same, no matter how much you lose or win in a row.
  4. Don’t only limit your daily spending; create artificial limits for gambling time, as well. With online casino resources and apps, it’s easier to lose track of time. Set up an alarm if you must, and follow it strictly.
  5. Be prepared to lose. Rates are not in your preference. Most casino patrons lose most of their bets on a daily basis.
  6. Use only your own money for bets. Do not make debts, or hook credit cards to your deposits. If you need to sell your possessing to gamble, you do not need to gamble.
  7. Get over the most huge, disappointing losses right away. You need to make peace with bad luck immediately, because aiming to return losses is the exact kind of mentality that puts vulnerable patrons down in debts. Remember: the only plans you can make with a casino are how much you spend, and when you quit.
  8. Never play to get away from uncomfortable feelings, be it disappointment, anger, jealousy, physical pain, etc.
  9. Remember to find time for everything that is really important. Treat gambling as a hobby, and don’t let it get between you and your important people, work, rest and other life interests.
  10. Spend time to learn more about destructive gaming habits and early red flags.

Players who feel they begin to lose track of their days and can’t handle their regular social activities anymore may find it practically impossible to make a critical change. If that’s the case, it’s crucial to get professional help. These organizations work precisely with gambling addiction and other instances of problematic gambling:

To get more information on responsible gambling and/or gain access to immediate free psychological help, please call the 24/7 phone helpline: 1-800-GAMBLER.

Gambling in USA: current situation

While gambling in the United States is legally restricted, as of 2021, 40 states provide many wagering opportunities. That includes commercial and tribal casinos, poker rooms, bingo halls, lotteries, legal bookmarking and online casino establishments.

Naturally, the USA provides many chances for citizens and guest players alike, hosting activities for an impressive number of gamers every year, as well as developing more accessible means of the web and mobile play.

This robust $240 billion industry wouldn’t be possible without high taxation, and the money that casino businesses bring to each state helps to create a safe environment for new and experienced players alike. The American Gaming Association, working together with other national and independent organizations, has developed many support options to players who suspect they have problems with gambling, starting from educational programs and warning systems and ending with more proactive courses, including:

  • independent 24/7 phone helplines for quick consultations and psychological assistance;
  • full treatment programs for players who feel they need additional help to break the cycle of excessive gambling;
  • support groups and crisis centers;
  • advocacy for people who find themselves in legal trouble because of gambling addiction;
  • global research on gambling problems directly influences how the gaming business is regulated in the USA and more.

To get full information on local anti-addiction and pro-recovery programs for your place of living, please visit your state’s regional websites for the responsible departments. The Compulsive and Problem Treatment Fund works as a master fund for these agencies, as well as for the local Dept. of Drug and Alcohol Program that is also involved in dealing with problematic gambling. If you are not sure where to start, go to The National Council on Problem Gambling to learn more.

Can I have a problem with gambling and know nothing about it?

Yes, unfortunately, that is entirely possible! Sitcoms and other entertainment media portray addicted gamblers as grotesque stereotypes who can lose their children over a game of Poker or sell their only house just to play a bit more. These caricatures lead many players to believe that they are fine as long as they don’t push their gambling habits too far. However, with gambling addiction, the amount of money a person tends to bet or even time spent on gaming is not always indicatory.

If you are asking yourself whether it’s possible that something might be wrong with your gaming habits, take it as a chance to make a stop and give your situation a quick look from aside. The fastest way to see if you are doing okay is this fully anonymous quiz designed as a starting stone for self-help. Answer simple 20 questions and check your results. Most people with diagnosed gambling problems answered «yes» to at least 7 questions. If you’ve got seven positive answers or more, it’s a good time to rethink your habits.

If you don’t have time for a quiz or think that the questions in the list are unfair / do not represent your unique gambling situation, then at least try to find an honest answer to this:

Can you stop playing whenever you want?

The most prominent sign of healthy gambling is personal freedom. The player who gambles responsibly can get overly emotional over losses, or occasionally spend too much, but when they need to go somewhere else and do other things, they quit.

Remember your latest gambling history — that’s what is important here. Get back to your previous Poker matches, or slot machine weekends. Has there been a time when you knew you had to go someplace else or thought it was time to call it quits, but stayed to continue anyway? Did you miss an important meeting, or were you late by 10 minutes? What about half an hour, or even a couple of hours straight?

If recent gambling history shows you have problems with quitting when you need to, make sure to read more about the ways of responsible gaming, or even see a specialist. Note that inability to stop playing on your will doesn’t necessary indicate a strong addiction that requires intense professional help. Some people continue playing because of social pressure, or because quitting triggers their self-esteem problems, or due to other psychological issues. Only a professional who is qualified to work with people who are addicted to gambling can say for sure whether your problem needs external assistance. Do not trust your friends, family or regular doctor advice on this matter: if you have any doubts, give yourself space and explore free psychological help resources available in your state.

I think things are getting a bit out of hand. What do I do know?

There is no shame in finding out you have gambling addiction or discussing your situation with other people. Admitting you might have a problem is an important first step on the road to a more fulfilled, happy life. From this point, the future will start to change for the better. There’s another good thing: many professionals and volunteers are ready to help you on your way to recovery. Free professional help comes in various forms and is available both to residents and guests of the state.

The first agency you must want to consult is the NCPG, which is the main national council on all the matters attributed to gambling problems, including discovering addiction, dealing with legal charges, social rehabilitation and more. Their 24/7 helpline is 100% anonymous, so feel free to call 1-800-522-4700 to commute with the best therapists our country has to offer. If you are not willing to use voice, send text messages on the same phone number, and the consultants will be happy to discuss your problem via live chat.

For more face-to-face communication, try visiting one of the weekly Gamblers Anonymous group meetings. These support sessions are held regularly in most urbanized areas where gambling is available in any form, and provide a great place to reflect on your habits, as well as to start working towards new, better life.

In times of world pandemic crisis, many centers opt to organize virtual help groups. They work just like live group meetings, but participants are not required to travel to a certain place to get professional and psychological help. The new approach already proved itself effective, as many people notice it is more comfortable for them to join a community within a PC or a mobile device. It’s harder to find an excuse to not show up, and it’s incredibly more easy to find a pal in a similar stage of rehabilitation to give each other extra motivation.

If you feel that the struggle is just too much, consider connecting with the professionals in your local health department. States provide various services to their residents; your location and health insurance plan may affect the range of recovery programs the facility will be able to propose. In the best-case scenario, the state will pay for the entire program, and cover all additional therapy fees. But even if your local state clinic doesn’t have specialists of this sort, they will be able to get you in touch with proper therapists for your case.

I suspect my family member needs professional help, can I contact anyone?

Nation-wide organizations such as NCPG provide live phone counseling for people who are related to gamblers with an addiction problem. Use the same free number to get in touch with a specialist right away; the counselor will share instructions on the most efficient path of action as well as provide psychological help if needed.

Dealing with an addictive person can be hard both on a financial and emotional level. Good thing is that you are not alone! Organizations like GAM-ANON host special events for families on a regular basis. These meetings provide a confidential space that is free of judgment and gives relatives of addicted an opportunity to work on whatever they are going through. Meeting other people in a similar situation has been proved to have a major positive effect on those whose lives were troubled by gambling addiction developed by their family members.

Self-exclusion: what is it and how does it work?

Sometimes, basic therapy and self-restriction may not be enough to encourage a positive change in behavior. If that’s the case, a self-exclusion strategy can be used. It is an extreme measure on the way to recovery that can be applied not only in your native town, but also in any other US city or state that permits gambling in any form, including poker tournaments, bingo and horse betting.

Self-exclusion is when the gamers need to rely on the power of the state and make an important decision of prohibiting themselves from visiting any casino, bingo club, or other gambling establishments of the sort, period. This includes any mobile casino applications, as well as gambling services available through the browser.

The question is: if it’s possible to self-exclude yourself from a casino for having a problem, why not all addicted gamblers do it? To understand why this path cannot be recommended to everyone, see how it works:

  1. The citizen makes a request to get included in the special self-exclusion list. Note that no therapeutic advisory or counseling is required: it’s up to the gambler to decide whether they want to be banned from all the facilities.
  2. If the citizen tries to visit a casino after a ban, they will be considered criminal trespassers, regardless of circumstances. It doesn’t matter whether the person in question actually gambled. Setting a foot inside a forbidden establishment is enough to get arrested.
  3. After arrest, relatives can make a bail bond for the trespasser — that is, if the local court accepts the bail. A jail sentence is fairly common, as the authorities may consider it a proper «training measure». Gradually increasing fines for trespassing are also not anything to look forward to.
  4. If the citizen makes an account on an online casino platform, there will be no legal consequences such as arrests or paying fees. However, the account will soon be suspended. Most online gambling services in the USA actively cooperate with self-exclusion enforcing structures. Bans are mostly not automated, so it may take up to several days to catch permaban, but when you do, there’s usually no point in trying to request your deposit back.

Self-exclusion is a rough measure that doesn’t forgive occasional slips and locks out all opportunities to enjoy gambling in a legal, healthy, non-compulsive way. For people who try to break ties with gambling forever this might be just perfect; for others — not very much so. It is a decision that should be made once, and it has proved to be effective for gamers who couldn’t adapt to a responsible gambling lifestyle.

Common questions about self-exclusion

My family member is addicted to gambling. He sells stuff, makes huge debts and gets aggressive whenever I try to talk on the matter. Can I get him on the self-exclusion list? Yes, but only if he complies and requests a self-ban himself. Other than that — no, there are no options to exclude a person from all casino establishments without their will and knowledge. It’s called self-exclusion for a reason.
For how long does the program work? The person can choose time restrictions for the ban, though the minimums are decided by the state. The most common self-exclusion duration minimum is one calendar year. After that, the citizen can try to lift the ban. The decision will be made based on behavior history and trespassing records; if the records show that the gambler barely has any progress in dealing with addiction, the limit may be prolonged. There is no limit on how long the casino ban can last. In worst cases, a permanent ban will be considered. It is the last measure, as it is not legally possible to revert a permanent self-exclusion.
I know that local gambling establishment or online casino doesn’t comply with the self-exclusion programs. What do I do? Report them. The establishments will likely not be closed, but they will have to pay fines or get sanctioned for ignoring Responsible Gambling guidelines that are universal for all the gaming facilities. If you believe that the problem comes out of a mishap or is a result of an unfortunate accident, try warning the staff that they are breaking the law before contacting the police. If it’s possible, record your communications with a mobile phone cam, or save your messenger data: it may be requested as evidence.