For thousands of years, humans have gambled. Anthropologists have found evidence of dice and stick games among remains in early human settlements and anthropologists have discovered gaming paraphernalia in the towns and cities of almost every ancient empire from China in the East to the Native Americans in the West.
People put money on their predictions of the outcomes of games because it offers entertainment and excitement. Some people are content to play games at home or in neighborhood pick-up matches while others travel to casino destinations or play online.
All of these different gaming activities are growing – new slots casino sites are being built in Vegas and in other areas around the world, new online gaming platforms open on the internet every month and new games are released to the public almost daily.
Most people budget their gaming pastime and play according to their personal restrictions but for some, it’s a challenge to hold to those limits. The online casino offers a number of suggestions that can help keep gaming in the realm of recreation and keep it from turning into a source of worry and financial burden.
What is Responsible Gaming?
Responsible gambling refers to the actions and initiatives taken by gambling operators, regulators, and individuals that are designed to promote a safe gambling environment.
Responsible gambling emphasizes the avoidance of gambling-related harm and the prevention of excessive and irresponsible betting behaviors. Key components of responsible gambling include:
- Education – promoting educational campaigns and providing materials that raise awareness among gamers about potential problems that may arise from lack of betting control. Casinos that run quality educational campaigns have online information readily available that alerts players to the risks associated with gambling, signs of potential problem gambling and available support resources.
- Self-Exclusion Programs – Casinos that promote responsible gaming provide self-exclusion programs that allow gamers to voluntarily exclude themselves from gambling activities for a specified period. This option is particularly effective for players who feel that they are losing control over their gambling habits and need an outside body to reign them in.
- Age Verification – Casinos that take responsible gaming seriously are pro-active in their efforts to verify gamers’ ages. Anyone can play any of the casino games for free but for a person to play for real money, the casinos require strict proof-of-age documentation (drivers license, government-issued ID, passport, etc).
- Support and Helplines – Many top casinos provide 24/7 access to confidential and supportive helplines where individuals who are concerned that they may be experiencing problem gaming behaviors can talk about their gambling-related issues. Via these helplines, gamers can receive advice, counseling, and information about available resources.
What does it mean for a player to have access to a gaming site that promotes responsible gaming? Basically, by providing a safe space to play real money games, there’s less danger that an individual will develop addictive gambling behaviors. Responsible gambling initiatives are helpful in identifying and addressing problem gaming behaviors at an early stage which prevents more significant issues down the line.
These initiatives also minimize financial hardship that can result from gambling addiction because players learn, at an early stage, to set financial limits that will help prevent excessive losses that may lead, down the road, to financial distress.
For the gaming industry, it’s also good practice to set up responsible gambling initiatives because it enhances the reputation of the industry as a whole. Responsible gambling practices contribute to a positive reputation for the gambling industry which, in turn, fosters trust among players and the general public.
Society benefits from these initiatives because, in the long run, it lowers the social costs of addictive behaviors. Responsible gambling initiatives mitigate gambling-related harm which then reduces social costs associated with problem gambling like healthcare and legal expenses.
The casinos take a big chunk of the responsibility for initiating programs for responsible gambling but what should gamers themselves do? Every person who plays for real money should:
- Set a budget based on the amount of money that you can afford to lose and then stick to that budget. If you win, you can add your winnings to the budget but never allow yourself to wager money beyond what you’ve acknowledge that you can lose. The money that you gamble should be treated as an entertainment expense – not as an investment.
- Learn the odds of the games that you’re playing and then make informed decisions based on those odds. If you plan to play for a longer period of time, play games with better odds.
- Avoid excessive periods of gambling. Set time limits for your gaming events so that they won’t interfere with other aspects of you life like work, family and social activities.
- Avoid chasing losses. Don’t rely on gambling “techniques” or “strategies” that say that “if you’ve lost x number of times, you’re certain to win the next time. Remember, every throw of the dice, every deal of the cards and every spin of the reels will result in a random event that isn’t dependent on anything that’s happened previously.
- Don’t drink and gamble. Drinking impairs judgement which may lead to reckless decisions.
- Take breaks regularly. When you step away you’re more likely to come back better able to make rational decisions.
- Don’t borrow money to gamble. Borrowing can lead to a cycle of debt that will take the “fun” out of gambling faster than you can count to 10.
- Don’t hesitate to seek support if you’re concerned that your gambling habits are becoming unhealthy. Better to get a handle on the situation quickly than to wait until it gets out of control.
- Consider excluding yourself from the casino if you feel that you are finding it challenging to control your gambling habits. Contact the casino help line to request to be excluded so that you won’t be able to access the games for a specific period of time.