Not long ago gambling was seen as taboo. Casino games, sports betting, and poker were viewed through a completely different lens than they are today. Many states had outright banned these activities and people had to go through illegal, offshore operators to take part. Now as more and more states pursue their legalization, gambling has become much more normalized across America. As online gaming becomes more mainstream within the United States, it is crucial players understand the value of responsible gaming.
Sports and horse betting, casino, and poker activities are intended as a source of entertainment, but are not without risk. Thus, each state that has legalized some form of online gambling has committed to providing ample resources for responsible gaming. If you think you may be a problem gambler, help is available. On this page our goal is to educate bettors on these responsible gaming tools and how to incorporate them into their gaming experience.
Available problem gambling tools
There are a ton of responsible gaming tools available within your chosen gaming platform. Using them correctly can help improve your experience, and prevent problematic habits from forming. Let’s run through some of the more popular options.
Gamalyze: Asses your play style for problem gambling risk
Some of us enjoy taking more risks than others, and that certainly isn’t always a bad thing. However, in gambling, risky or reckless play can often be a sign of problems to come. Mindway AI has created a tool called Gamalyze, which is based on artificial intelligence, and which rates your gaming style and lets you know if you are in danger of developing an unhealthy relationship with gambling.
Deposit limits are a good way for regular users to allocate a budget towards their gambling activity. Similar to people creating a budget for their weekly groceries or monthly expenses, applying a deposit limit towards your gambling activity can be a nice way for users to put a cap to their gambling budget.
The way deposit limits work are pretty self-explanatory: depending on the betting platform you’re on, you can set a deposit limit daily, weekly or monthly and you will not be able to exceed that limit. This prevents gamblers who may be chasing their losses to dip their hand back in the well and play with money that they shouldn’t.
Time Out Sessions
Time out sessions can seem like a more drastic tool to take but sometimes, they’re a valuable resource to take a step away. Time out sessions give you the opportunity to suspend access to your betting account, ranging anywhere from a day to a month. Betting platforms will give the option to “cool off” and help customers control how they want to use their app. During cool off periods, you will not be able to log into your account or deposit funds into your account or play in the casino or make any sports wagers.
Depending on the platform you are playing on, you may be able to withdraw any winnings or funds during your cool off period. Any existing bets you made will be live but you will not be able to access your account and continue wagering.
For example, if you’ve got the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl as a pre-season futures bet, that ticket isn’t cancelled if you elect to cool off at some point during the season. However, if you wanted to log-in and place a new bet on them, that would not be allowed.
If time outs and cool offs aren’t doing the trick, you can officially self-exclude yourself from participating in online gaming. This can be done directly within any US casino account, and will be as permanent as you elect for it to be. It’s possible to self exclude for shorter periods of time, but if needed, permanent options are available. In self-excluding your name and information will be submitted to the operator, and the regulatory body within the state that you’re betting.
For example, if you are in the state of New Jersey, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement would be alerted to the request and add your name to the exclusion list. This would not only make you ineligible from gambling online with the iGaming operator you were using for the duration of the exclusion, but it would also keep you from betting with all iGaming operators in that state. Plus, retail casinos also maintain and honor the self-exclusion list, so you would not be able to access in-state casinos as well.
Wagering limits are also pretty self-explanatory. Wagering limits enable you to limit the amount of money that you are able to wager on a daily, weekly or monthly basis on your casino, poker and/or sportsbook account. Once you have reached your limit, you will not be able to continue wagering. Wagering limits are very beneficial for a few reasons. First, it can help bettors manage their bankroll in a more efficient way, valuing each bet. Second, wagering limits are a great way to help protect any winnings you may have made, and give you the time to withdraw your funds successfully.
Let’s go through an example, you’re playing a game of online poker – Texas Hold’em. You can slap wagering limits on your account so that the platform won’t let you sit at a cash game table with stakes over a certain amount, say $.50/$1. Or so that it won’t let you buy-in to tournaments over a certain amount. This guarantees that you play within your set bankroll.
When playing online casino games or slots, you can also cap the amount bet. It can be tempting to up the amount wagered on each spin. If you don’t want to risk more, set a wager limit and you won’t be able to raise it.
You ever find yourself scrolling on social media, you look at the time and you realize you’ve been scrolling for way too long? Have you ever jumped down a youtube rabbit hole constantly clicking on suggested videos? Or how about playing your favorite casino game for hours on end? This happens to all of us – smartphones have made it so easy to do this. The session limit is a nice tool to help control this urge.
What session limits do is it enables you to specify how long you would like to be able to be logged in for. Depending on the user, this limit can be a daily or weekly amount of time that you’d like to allocate. Once you are approaching your limit, you will receive a popup before reaching the end, informing you that your session limit will be wrapping up. Once time is up, that’s it. After the limits you’ve set have completed, you will be able to log back in again.
Nobody likes to lose, gambling is certainly more fun when you win. But the reality is that everyone who frequents a casino, poker room, or sportsbook will eventually taste defeat. Loss limits are a good way to keep you from chasing your losses when things go south.
They help you limit the amount of money that you are able to lose on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. If you reach the specified limit that you have designated, you will not be permitted to continue wagering. As we discussed earlier, gambling is supposed to be fun and entertaining. It should not be treated as another form of income. Therefore, designating a loss limit is a good way to budget how much you are willing and can afford to lose while still having a fun time gambling.
Let’s say you enjoy playing small stakes blackjack, but don’t want to get too heavy into it. You can set yourself a weekly loss limit of $100. That way you can play as many hands as you like, but if your losses for the week exceed the $100 limit, you get logged out. Loss limits allow you to easily budget gambling into your normal expenses.
As the proliferation of gambling rises, the most prominent industry leaders have continued to pour resources and efforts into responsible gaming tools to help educate and inform players. FanDuel is a great example of this – the gambling conglomerate has formed a partnership with Gamban to help bolster their responsible gaming department.
What is Gamban? Gamban is a technology company specializing in gambling blocking software. This move shows industry leaders like FanDuel are displaying a continued commitment to building a comprehensive responsible gaming program that helps educate and inform its customers on the perils of gambling. Gamban’s blocking software will be available free of charge to users who choose to self-exclude on FanDuel.
This is a significant move in the gambling industry and could be a sign of things to come. This partnership could be the first of many: FanDuel became the first mobile operator to make major (multi-million) commitment to the American Gaming Association. As the largest provider in the United States, FanDuel is setting a solid precedent for others to follow.
How to Utilize These Tools in your Casino or Sportsbook App
Besides FanDuel, what other casinos, poker rooms, and sportsbooks are showing a commitment to responsible gaming? Well, to be frank, every iGaming operator that operates in a legal US market is required to offer responsible gaming tools. But where can you find them within a sportsbook or casino app?
Typically, there will be links to a responsible gaming page or resource sheet towards the bottom of the sportsbooks homepage. You can also access these tools from your account settings page. For example, if we look at the picture below on DraftKings casino, there is a “Responsible Gaming” tab that you can click on the top right. Additionally, there will be similar links towards the bottom of the page.
Other Topics to Consider
In terms of gambling content, social media can be both a blessing and a curse. There are a number of gambling media personalities who offer great advice for casino games and sportsbook bets on the daily for free! However, we need to be cautious of the messaging that gambling platforms put on social media. Sportsbooks and casinos have grown accustomed to glorifying big winners as a way to steer people towards their platform. During this process, the betting platform may be glorifying unhealthy and unreasonable bets that do not make sense for your bankroll. This is a trap that is easy to fall into but we need to be cognizant of while we’re scrolling through the depths of Twitter, Instagram and other social media.
Sure, it’s cool to see that someone hit the progressive jackpot slot bonus for a six figure sum – but don’t develop an expectation that the same will happen for you.
National Responsible Gaming Resources
- The National Council on Problem Gambling is the national advocate for programs and services to assist people and families affected by problem gambling. Their vision is to improve the health and wellness of compulsive gamblers and gambling addicts by reducing their personal, social and economic costs of their problem gambling. If you or a family member is in need of assistance, you have the ability to call them 24/7, contact them via chat with their support team or text them at your convenience:
- Call 1-800-522-4700
- Chat: ncpgambling.org/chat
- Text 1-800-522-4700
- Gamblers Anonymous is another support group with a massive footprint throughout the US. They offer immediate options to talk with someone, and have meetings available around the country.
- And even Reddit has proven to have an excellent, supportive community on its r/problemgambling boards.
State-Specific Gaming Resources
Depending on where you live, there are plenty of state-specific gaming resources available. For example, in Pennsylvania you have the Council of Compulsive Gambling of Pennsylvania, the PGCB Self-Exclusion Program, ResponsiblePlay.pa.gov, the PGCB helpline, and more.
So, if you are feeling overwhelmed and do not want to go through a national organization, there is help available in your community. No matter where you live, help isn’t far away.
Online gambling is on the rise
The numbers back up the rise of gambling – in January 2022, combined gaming revenue from traditional casino, sports wagers, and iGaming grew by 21.4 percent from 2020 and was up 31.8 percent from January 2021. Furthermore, January 2022 was the eleventh consecutive month in which commercial gaming revenue topped $4.4 billion in the United States. And this shouldn’t be news to any betting regulars, states are legalizing mobile betting left and right, iGaming brands are spending extraordinary amounts of money on marketing to gain a bigger customer base and as a result, people are gambling more than ever.
With that rise comes a lot of good. Instead of relying on illegal, offshore sites with little to no regulation – everything is now above board when betting with a regulated operator. There’s more convenience now, too. As opposed to making a trek over state lines or commuting to an in-state casino, many people have the convenience of gambling from the comforts of their living rooms. In addition, as competition continues to run rampant, customers are being granted lucrative welcome bonuses and many existing customers will receive consistent promotions in order for these big brand iGaming companies to retain their customer base. It’s a good time to gamble, responsibly that is.
However, it’s important to clarify that as gambling goes up, the old saying still runs true: the house always wins. This isn’t meant as a deterrent for new and existing players but in a casino, the games are designed so that over the long term, the house will net a profit. We all have that friend that “has a system” – but success is never guaranteed – that’s why they call it gambling. And that’s okay, gambling should not be treated as another form of income. Gambling, when treated with responsibility and moderation, is meant for entertainment and enjoyment. It can be a way to win some extra cash, bond with some friends, or add some skin in a sports game you’re watching. If it becomes more than that, it’s time to reassess and seek help.
Importance of Responsible Gaming
Responsible gaming initiatives help provide tools and combats the innate addicting nature of gambling. And no, utilizing these tools is not only for those with gambling addictions. These resources are utilized by normal, non-problem gamblers too. Deposit limits, time out sessions, cool off periods, wagering limits, and even self-exclusion are all great tools for every user to help manage their bankroll and keep the nature of the game fun and entertaining. When used correctly these tools can increase enjoyment and improve ones relationship with gambling.
Signs of Problem Gaming
One of the first steps in addressing problem gambling is determining if you have a problem. There are a few reasons people gravitate towards gambling: the thrill of winning and the rush you get from risking money are a few of the joys, but it can become a slippery slope.
Similar to drugs and alcohol, gambling can trigger a reward system in your brain that can be quite addictive. If you are a compulsive gambler, you may have a tendency to alleviate or hide your losses, you may continuously chase after losing money, and even resort to fraud or theft to continue gambling.
Compulsive gambling is a very serious condition that can destroy your life as well as the people around you. There are many examples of people have found help through professional treatment. Here are some symptoms of compulsive gamblers:
- Constantly thinking about gambling, such as constantly planning on how to get more money for gambling activity
- Needing to gamble more and more money over time to get the same thrill
- Feeling restless or agitated when you try to stop gambling
- Trying to control, lessen, or completely stop gambling unsuccessfully
- Trying to get chase losses and win back lost money by gambling more
- Lying to friends and family members or others to hide the extent of your gambling and your losses
- Resorting to other problematic or even illegal practices to acquire money for gambling
- Asking others for money to help fund your gambling
Unlike most casual gamblers who set a loss limit or stop gambling when they’ve lost a certain amount, compulsive gamblers are compelled to continue playing. This kind of behavior can be very disruptive over time.
Although there’s no one proven way to prevent a gambling problem, educational programs that target individuals at increased risk can be very helpful. This is why gambling platforms have made a concerted effort to fortify their responsible gaming tools. If you have any symptoms for compulsive gambling, you may consider avoiding gambling in any form. Furthermore, getting professional treatment at the earliest stage of any problem can help prevent more issues down the road.
To help prevent these issues, here are some tools you can utilize at your casino or sportsbook.