As more and more US states expand legal gaming options within their borders, responsible gambling becomes a major topic of discussion. All the stakeholders in the US gaming industry have a vested interest in promoting the responsible use of any legal gaming products offered.
- What is Responsible Gaming?
- Gamalyze Risk Assessment
- National Council On Problem Gambling
- Responsible Gambling FAQ
- Responsible Gambling Conclusion
WHAT IS RESPONSIBLE GAMING?
Responsible gaming is a consistent and concerted effort to ensure the proper use of legal gambling options. This covers sports betting at both retail sportsbooks and through online mobile sportsbook apps.
Responsible gaming can also be expanded to any activity that involves the risk of losing real money. It is vitally important to promote betting within someone’s financial means. This is often times referred to as discretionary funds that can be lost without having any detrimental impact.
The four key aspects of any responsible gambling plan include:
- Educational programs to identify problem behavior
- Information and assistance implementing these programs
- Active participation throughout the gaming industry
- Preventing underage gambling
KNOW YOUR LIMITS
The most effective way to promote responsible gambling is through established limits. The first step in the process is to know those limits. This concept goes back to only gambling with discretionary funds that can afford to be lost.
Losing the $50 someone received as a birthday present falls within the parameters of discretionary gaming funds. Losing this month’s rent or car payment clearly does not.
SET YOUR LIMITS
To properly know betting limits is to actually set those limits. Any real money deposits into any betting account need to be closely monitored. Self-limits can be put in place as part of the tracking process.
If the set limits are exceeded for any reason, this should act as an initial warning sign towards moving away from responsible gambling.
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Every legal state-regulated sportsbook has a way for bettors to “self-exclude,” or prevent themselves from accessing the sportsbook or casino website/app. This is similar to people banning themselves from retail casinos as a way to limit their exposure to gambling. Many states also offer a way to add oneself to a self-exclusion list that all sportsbook apps are required to comply with.
For example, the state of New Jersey has a self-exclusion program that bans bettors from accessing in-person casinos and casino apps for one year, five years, or a lifetime. Bettors sign up through the state regulatory agency and all casinos, both online and in-person, are required to comply with the list of excluded gamblers.
STATE-SPECIFIC SELF-EXCLUSION AND PROBLEM GAMBLING INFORMATION
Here is a list of states with self-exclusion programs and a link to the state agency website that also includes problem gambling information specific to that state:
- New Jersey Self-Exclusion Program
- Pennsylvania Self-Exclusion Program
- Indiana Self-Restriction Program
- Iowa Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program
- Colorado Self-Exclusion
- Illinois Self-Exclusion Program
- Virginia Voluntary Exclusion Program
- Michigan Disassociated Persons Program
- Arizona Self-Exclusion Program
- Connecticut Self-Exclusion Program
- Kansas Self-Exclusion Program
- Louisiana Self-Exclusion Program
- New York Self-Exclusion Program
- Wyoming Self-Exclusion Program
- Maryland Self-Exclusion Program
- Ohio Voluntary Exclusion Program
How do I limit my risk of experiencing negative consequences due to gambling?
In many cases, it is a lot easier to tackle problems before they turn into big monsters. This is especially true if we consider problems experienced due to gambling. Once gambling problems start to escalate, they can be very difficult to tackle and create a paradoxical situation where it appears to the person that the only way to reduce problems is to keep gambling.
As an example, a person experiencing financial difficulties due to gambling may think that the only way to overcome these difficulties is to attempt to win back their losses through more gambling. Unfortunately, this strategy will most often lead to further losses and escalation of problems. The best advice is, therefore, to be proactive and take action to limit your risk even if you feel like you are in perfect control. In a way taking preventive actions such as setting reasonable limits for yourself is bit like putting on the seatbelt before driving. You know that you will probably not need it on your trip, but that it can save your life if you should get into an unexpected accident.
Most gambling providers offer various limits tools, which you can use to decide how much you want to gamble. Often you will have the opportunity to set a deposit limit on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Sometimes you will also be given the opportunity to set limits on other aspects of gambling behavior, such as maximum time consumption, wager size, or total loss within a period of time.
Setting limits is for everyone and is a bit like making a budget for yourself. They make it easy to keep the overview and help you stick to your decisions about your gambling behavior, even if you occasionally get caught in the heat of the moment. If you gamble with multiple gambling providers, you have to take on a little more work yourself, as the limits don’t transfer across providers. In this case, you might want to want to keep track of your deposits in a spreadsheet or set a lower limit for each provider.
The exact amount of money a person can gamble without experiencing any risk differs from person to person. A good strategy is to create an entertainment budget that includes gambling and then set a limit that reflects how much money you are willing to lose on gambling after setting aside money for all your regular expenses. Often people will also benefit from setting limits on their time consumption.
Think about how much time you have for leisure activities and then decide how much of that time you want to spend on gambling while leaving time for other activities that you enjoy. Remember to occasionally evaluate your limits as changes to your financial situation or other important aspects of your life might change how much time or money you want to spend on gambling.
If you find it difficult to stick to your limits, you might benefit from taking a break from gambling for a while to focus on other activities. Remember that gambling should never be causing you any harm and that you can reach out to the National Council on Problem Gambling if you need to talk to someone about your gambling behavior and what actions you can take to limit your risk.
Making the decision to put on the gambling seatbelt may help you avoid having to deal with some very difficult problems later down the road.
Your Gambling Behavior (Reflection Exercise)
Regularly taking some time to reflect on your gambling behavior can be an effective way of making sure that gambling remains a fun activity which does not lead to gambling-related harms such as financial difficulties or neglect of other important activities.
While various self-assessment tools exist, it can also be insightful to reflect on your gambling behavior and the feelings that you experience in relation to gambling. Try to be aware of your emotions and thoughts while you perform this exercise. If you feel uncomfortable during this exercise, find that you try to explain away actions or even lie to yourself, this will often be a sign that you could benefit from reducing your gambling or seeking professional help.
Here are some suggestions for questions that can help guide your reflections. You may choose to go through all 8 questions or pick the ones that you find most relevant.
• What is your motivation to gamble?
• How does it feel like when you gamble? How does it feel like after you gamble?
• Do you experience that you lose track of time and money spent while gambling?
• Do you know how much time and money you spend gambling on a monthly basis? If not, try to get an overview. How do you feel about these numbers?
• How often do you spend time on thinking about gambling when you are not gambling?
• Does gambling get in the way of carrying out other aspects of your life?
• How would you feel about sharing how much you gamble to a person close to you?
• Have you ever experienced that gambling has left you short of money?
You may choose to supplement this reflection exercise with the self-test Gamalyze to assess how risky your gambling style is.
Hopefully, this exercise has left you with a clearer view of how you feel about your gambling behavior. Please reach out to the NCPG if you feel like you might benefit from discussing your gambling with a professional or need advice on how to reduce your gambling. A good strategy for cutting down is to substitute gambling with other activities that you enjoy. Go for a walk outside, meet up with a friend, start a creative project or engage in another activity that you find enjoyable.
ASSESS YOUR RISK WITH GAMALYZE
Mindway AI has provided VegasInsider with this tool, called Gamalyze, to assess your risk of problem gambling from a neuroscientific perspective. Based on multiple mid- to long-term studies on problem gamblers and the general population, use this tool to give you a better perspective on how you gamble and to access some handy advice on keeping your gambling responsible and not a habit.