What is “responsible gaming” and does an online casino need it?

Many online casinos emphasize in the rules that gambling is intended for entertainment and pleasant recreation, and not for making money. However, the reader is probably familiar with the cases when an inveterate player, unable to cope with his seized passion, bets, spinning the reels of slots, hoping that just about all calculations should fall out the jackpot, and in the end loses in pieces. At the household level, such a morbid hobby is known as “gaming addiction”, which may appear in the WHO International Classification of Diseases.

It is suggested to eradicate such phenomena and even better to prevent it, so all the gambling licensing jurisdictions oblige licensees to publish the section called Responsible Gaming where online casinos declare their readiness to help the addicted users, to protect minors from playing, to provide access to the statistics of the money spent by a player. All these and other mechanisms are designed to help people who are addicted and to prevent the involvement in gambling of vulnerable players, ie. people with a predisposition to gambling by virtue of psychological characteristics or young age.

Frankly speaking, some online casino operators sincerely believe that they should let them play because they are not forced to spend money. However, it is a cynical attitude as behind every gambler there are distorted lives, damaged relationships, broken lives and often sold-out properties. That’s why online casinos should be socially responsible and support vulnerable people who are addicted to gambling. Let’s take a closer look at what tools are included in the concept of “responsible gaming”.

Self-exclusion and blocking minors

A user who has a problem with gambling can apply to the casino support service with a request to block his account temporarily (a few months, six months) or permanently. If the establishment is part of a group of online casinos, such blocking applies to all online casinos of the group. When the blocking expires, the player regains access to his account.

Identifying minors turns out to be quite a non-trivial task, especially if the user himself does not want to reveal his true age. How does the casino recognize people who are under the age of majority according to the laws of their country (usually 18 years old)? At the registration stage, a 15-year-old may indicate that he is 40 years old and successfully create an account. Let’s even assume that he managed to transfer money to his account using a payment method with a high degree of anonymity (such as bitcoins or prepaid cards).

After a string of winnings the boy wants to withdraw the funds, but at this point a mechanism is triggered to filter out minors (unfortunately, not with 100% efficiency). The user has to be verified by sending a scan of his bank card, a copy of ID (passport, driver’s license), a copy of the utility bill, which will show the address of residence. In most cases, minors are eliminated at this stage and this way online casinos show their social responsibility, shielding from gambling a person who would otherwise have high chances to join the army of gamblers.

Open statistics and setting limits

A casino that adheres to the principles of social responsibility does not hide gaming statistics. The user can see how much money he has spent since registration or for the current session, as well as how much time he has spent in the casino. If necessary, such a player can independently set the maximum spending limit for one visit to the casino or for a certain period of time. When the selected limit is reached, the online casino software no longer allows the player to bet or make deposits. It should be noted that this tool is rather designed for those users who can still curb their gambling addiction by their own efforts, since in particularly severe cases, a gambler simply spends every penny he has, and the thought of any limits would not even cross his mind. Nevertheless, this tool still works successfully in many casinos.

Publication of links to special resources

Responsible online casinos encourage players who can’t beat their passion for gambling to visit special online resources designed to help gamblers. Typically, icons at the bottom of every casino web page link to GamCare, Gamblers Anonymous and other organizations. Usually these are communities of players with similar problems that psychologists and doctors are trying to help. There you can take a test designed to assess the degree of addiction to gambling. Such help is very effective and efficient (according to these same sites), and there are links to them in almost every online casino that adheres to the principles of responsible gaming.

Final thoughts

Having a “Responsible Gaming” page on a casino is a licensor requirement that must be enforced. Some jurisdictions, like Malta, are tightening social media advertising rules, forbidding casinos from publishing posts with stories of people lucky enough to win big money. As much as a gambling operator would like to involve more people into its orbit, regardless of age and possible problems with gambling addiction, online casinos must help troubled players and allow only adults to gamble, thus demonstrating social responsibility and respect for the laws of the civilized market.