What is responsible gaming and why do people get addicted to gambling?
Not sure if you or someone close to you has gambling problems?
Where does gambling addiction start, how to recognize it, how to address it and how to protect minors from dealing with the same questions – Find the answers in this article.
With the growing popularity of online gambling, the need for tools or policies that make the online gambling experience safer is also on the rise. Responsible gaming or responsible gambling is a very broad concept that aims to bring better quality to gambling, improve safety and decrease the chances of developing gambling addiction problems. Responsible gaming does not only refer to gambling addiction but also covers policies that aim to prevent underage individuals (under 18 or 21 years) from gambling.
The concept of responsible gaming can be categorized into 7 main topics:
Vulnerable gamblers protection aims to provide a more responsible experience for gamblers who may have difficulty limiting their betting and that are inclined to becoming addicted to gambling. This is the most common area of responsible gaming because it includes the tools used by gambling companies, such as self exclusion, deposit limit, wager limit, etc. You can find the list of all responsible gaming tools further down in this article.
Another widely recognized policy is the prevention of underage gambling. The majority of online casinos that we see today must ensure that players are above the age of 18 (or 21, depending on the country) in order to play at their casinos. This policy should be presented at the registration process where you must agree that you are 18 or above, and confirm that you agree with their Terms & Conditions (thus taking on the responsibility if you break the law by giving a false statement). Many operators also require additional verification steps after the registration to ensure the age of the gambler.
It is the casino’s responsibility to take all the necessary steps to protect the player’s privacy. Sensitive information about the gamblers such as their name and surname, address, phone number and other personal data need to be well secured, with additional authentication methods like 2-factor authentication (or a code generator), security questions, IP whitelisting, email authorization, etc.
Although regulations can change over time, it is the casino’s responsibility to comply with the current and relevant ones. This often means that the casino should not use the player’s personal information for direct marketing purposes (except in the case where the casino obtained explicit permission from the user to do so). The responsible gaming concept states that the company should also not advertise to people who have self excluded themselves, people who are categorized as vulnerable gamblers, or to minors.
This goes hand in hand with private information protection and it expands to making the environment safe by encrypting payments and to technical processes.
Just like other e-commerce websites, gambling websites can be a target of malicious software or other cyber attacks. Casinos need to insert certain programs and predetermined procedures that should detect and prevent fraud and money laundering activities, as well as hacking devices. Not only is this an important part of responsible gaming, but it is also crucial when developing a gaming website.
This addresses very sensitive data about players, namely personal and financial information. Casinos should make sure that they are processing payments only with secure and reliable payment solutions (platforms or e-wallets).
Gambling problem, gambling addiction, compulsive gambling and gambling disorder are the most common terms used to describe a person who is showing an uncontrollable urge to gamble more and more, overlooking the negative aspects that this might bring to his or her life. A number of studies have shown that addicted gamblers are particularly motivated by the possibility of winning. While most players take up gambling when looking for a fun pastime, others may see it as a means of generating income – and this is where things can go wrong.
We all see advertisements warning us that gambling should not be looked at as a source of income, but should be used for fun and by taking all of the risks into account. A number of studies concluded that gamblers for whom this is a problem not only see gambling as an income-generating activity, but they also overestimate the likelihood of winning, which leads them to spend excessively.
Lots of gamblers have stated that gambling addiction has negatively affected their mental health. Addictions are brain diseases that can be identified and treated by professionals and are therefore considered a mental illness, just like alcoholism and other behavioral addictions. Read more
What causes addiction to gambling?
It is not easy to categorize what exactly causes this disorder. Most reasons include a combination of biological, genetic and environmental factors.
Biological factors, our way of thinking and negative social situations can increase the likelihood of developing a gambling addiction. People that have schizophrenia, mood problems, antisocial personality disorder and other addictive behaviors (including abusing drugs and alcohol) are at a higher risk of developing addiction problems.
Many factors can contribute to gambling addiction, including being desperate for money, the desire to experience thrills and highs, the social status associated with being a successful gambler and the entertaining atmosphere of the mainstream gambling scene. Read more
Risk factors are determinants or variables that increase the possibility of getting a disease, infection, or developing some kind of a condition. When we talk about gambling addiction and what can contribute to developing one we are essentially looking for risk factors.
Who is more susceptible to developing a gambling addiction?
Anyone who gambles is at some risk of developing an addiction, at least to some degree. However, some predetermined risk factors can be connected to problem gambling:
People who started gambling in childhood or as teenagers have an increased risk of developing a gambling disorder.
Although this activity is more common in men, women develop gambling addiction in later years at higher rates (they get addicted quicker).
Psychological and societal issues where people are in direct influence of others who experience or have experienced gambling.
Highly competitive, workaholic, impulsive and restless are some of the personal traits often ascribed to compulsive gamblers.
Money problems (or winning a large amount of money and thinking you can double it) or suffering a recent loss (e.g. divorce or job loss).
There are some common signs that can be perceived in players who have developed a gambling addiction. When you notice that you might have some of these signs, it is a good time to revise your gambling behavior and take a few precautions. The same is recommended if you wish to help someone close to you address this problem. If you have ever wondered what gambling addiction is, this can give you a hint:
Other clear signs of gambling addiction include, but are not limited to:
Electronic gambling games are considered to be some of the most addictive gambling types. Gamblers who play using electronic machines become problem gamblers almost 3x sooner than those who stick to table games or racetracks. Read more
It is important to identify gambling addition signs in yourself or in a person close to you. That way you can start working towards quitting gambling. When your loved one, a close family member or friend is showing many of the signs mentioned above it is crucial that you offer support so that they can start treating this disorder. If responsible gaming tools are not of significant help, it is recommended to seek professional help (psychologists, mental health professionals, support groups or help centers).
In the responsible gaming area, some of the most helpful treatments in fighting gambling addiction are:
Acknowledging the situation and admitting to yourself, “Yes, I have a gambling problem, I can’t stop gambling,” is the hardest part – but it also shows that you are brave enough to face the facts and focus on treating your gambling addiction.
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I strongly advise you to seek help from professionals and to learn how to help someone with gambling addiction before administering any form of help or treatment to yourself or someone else. The above list can be a good start.
Since they realize the importance of gambling treatment and prevention of gambling addiction, most online casinos are nowadays expanding the responsible gaming tools that they offer to their players. Most casinos provide at least the option of self exclusion, while some also support loss- and wager limits.
These are the responsible gaming tools that can be found across online casinos and will help you prevent and stop gambling addiction:
There is no magic potion that will heal gambling addiction, but with the help of responsible gaming tools and treatments many problem gamblers have successfully won the battle. There are lots of support groups online where you can read stories of gamblers’ journeys on forums and discussion groups. One such example is Jamie, who is now hosting Ted talks and helps people quit gambling. Read more
Gambling may sound fun for minors, especially when they are teenagers. Parents may often think that it is too soon to even imagine that gambling could be an issue for their kids, but by the age of 15, most children have gambled at least once. This is why underage gambling plays a big role in responsible gaming. It is important to educate your children that this is a serious offense which can appear in their criminal record. If you are a parent and you are concerned for a minor in your family, here are a few tools and websites you can use to help:
International center for youth gambling problems and high-rish behavior. Contact them by using an online contact form to seek professional help.