The basic concept is as simple as the phrase itself. It is the notion of gaming safely and responsibly without jeopardizing safety, security, or ethical or legal standards.
There are two parts of responsible gaming, two parties to whom the term pertains and calls to action.
Consumer/gambler: Every person who chooses to place a wager or bet should be aware of their own limitations, whether psychological, physical, or financial. It is why there are pamphlets in every casino that discuss “when the fun stops” and how to “set your limits.” Self-exclusion policies are also ways for bettors to set parameters with the assistance of casinos and online operators.
Gambling operators/service providers: Every regulated land-based and online gaming operator must adhere to standards that prevents underage gambling and fraudulent behavior while protecting vulnerable customers and exhibiting ethical behavior.
The goal is to provide a safe and fair environment for all gamblers, to give them the experience they expect but not to take advantage of any potential weaknesses.
Responsible Gaming for Today’s Online Poker Players
There are many aspects to responsible gambling, and while some rely on the customer’s own awareness of their habits and propensity for dangerous behavior, all practices should be initiated and proliferated by the gambling world itself.
Operators have the privilege of profiting from gambling services, and with that comes the responsibility of protecting customers as much as possible. The dichotomy inherent in this position, however, is the reason that governments and nonprofit organizations have taken it upon themselves to issue regulations, standards, and codes that hold gambling operators accountable. And most operators, especially publicly-traded companies and others with a desire to remain in good standing with regulators and governments, offer responsible gambling advice to their customers and make their own policies available.
Today’s online poker players – all gamblers in the live and online environment – have more protections than ever before. While customers are ultimately responsible for their own habits and well-being, operators are forced to play a larger role in setting parameters, monitoring behaviors, offering assistance, and upholding high standards. And operators have ever-increasing help from a range of organizations that keep their eyes on patrons over profits.
The business of gambling is a sensitive one, but the proliferation of regulated environments has its perks for customers. They are able to play in a safe and responsible gambling environment with confidence that watchdog organizations and regulators are monitoring the operators, auditing and testing, and ensuring that players are the priority.
9 Facets of Responsible Gaming
Safety and Security: This may be the most important aspect of responsible gaming standards, as the absence of a safe and secure brick-and-mortar establishment or online gaming website renders the other points mostly moot. These controls will be different for online versus land-based operators, but they all revolve around internal controls and a series of procedures that ensure players have a safe environment. For online operators, this involves everything from proper encryption and other secure technology to the proper management of player funds. For live casinos, important steps include physical security for patrons and security cameras, as well as updated slot games and electronics for video gaming.
Fairness: Games must be fair to build player trust and ensure customer safety from deception and criminal elements. Proper steps can be taken to ensure games are run responsibly and transparently, but there are also levels of testing by independent organizations that verify the randomness of any games of chance. Online poker sites, for example, must display certification of its random number generators working properly, while land-based casinos must track and report payout percentages for slot machines.
At-Risk Players: Problem gambling and addiction are problems that concern society as a whole, especially when gambling is legalized in a locality, state, province, or country. There is always a fear of escalating addition and problems that bleed into other areas of society – domestic violence, depression, suicide, financial bankruptcy, etc. To curb those types of issues and properly handle them when they do arise, there are various processes that most operators must put in place. For example, all players must be able to exclude themselves from gambling establishments or websites. They should also be able to set spending limits, which is easier online than live. Operators must also properly display information about problem gambling and make help available via employee contact or easily-accessible phone numbers.
Payments: While this is often tied to safety and security, it can be separated due to its importance as a company policy of honesty and integrity. A casino must pay players their due winnings in a timely manner, which is rarely at issue in land-based casinos as much as it is online. Players have been cheated by sites that are unregulated when they unduly delay withdrawal requests or simply shut down operations without paying any players. This is why regulated poker and casino sites are required to keep player funds separate from operating funds, so in case of financial troubles, player monies are secure and can be paid.
Privacy: Again, this may come under the heading of safety and security in some instances, but information privacy is important to remain separate. Companies selling private information to third-party businesses is a transparency issue, and such policies must be disclosed in a clear way to all customers before accounts are created and information provided.
Age and Location Verification: Legal ages for gambling vary depending upon country, and every casino in a particular jurisdiction must be able to accurately ensure that every player meets the minimum age requirement. Online verification must be even more precise, and those operators may also be required to only service players in various states or countries, meaning proper geolocation tools must be used.
Criminal Behavior: Fraud and money laundering have long been done in gambling environments, and today’s establishments and websites must be more vigilant than ever in the age of technology to prevent such crimes. “Know your customer” policies are increasingly being required of online operators to check customers for criminal histories, monitor transactions, and work with banks to identify any suspicious movement of monies.
Marketing: Every part of the world that allows gambling does not have proper oversight to monitor advertising and marketing from gambling companies. In their absence, however, there are organizations that serve the public and monitor those practices to ensure customers are not being unfairly targeted on a broad scale through mass media or via direct marketing. This is part of the at-risk facet of responsible gambling but is a substantial endeavor apart from addressing addiction.
Employee Training: As companies begin to implement responsible gaming strategies and incorporate new policies, employees must be trained for awareness and customer interactions. They must know about ways to detect potential issues, help customers in need, and properly convey policies through all consumer channels.
Tips for Recognizing Gambling Problems
There are some general tips for gamblers that can help people who enjoy betting and gambling to do so responsibly. This keeps it a hobby, something fun and entertaining to enjoy during leisure time.
Tips like these can also help identify problems with gambling that may require the need to self-exclude from casinos or gambling websites or perhaps simply set monetary limits. If there are indications that you or someone you know may have a problem, see the resources section at the bottom of this page.
- Only gamble with money set aside for entertainment, not money you cannot afford to lose.
- Set a monetary limit before entering a casino or logging on to an online gaming site.
- Don’t chase losses by figuring the odds are in favor of winning at some point. Gambling is random by nature.
- Take a break after losing money by leaving or doing a physical activity to release tension.
- Set a time limit for gambling that does not infringe upon time required by work or family.
- Refrain from any gambling when sad, angry, or depressed.
- Drinking alcohol or using drugs while gambling can lead to regrettable decisions.
- Refuse to give in to peer pressure to gamble.
- Bring a friend to gamble with in order to help with time and monetary limits.
- Recognize that gambling is not a way to make money.
- Avoid gambling beyond what is offered as free or via discounted promotions.
- Talk to a friend if worried about gambling habits.
- Contact a gambler support organization for advice or assistance.
Resources for Responsible Gaming Information
There are resources for problem gambling and responsible gaming in nearly every country in the world. By an internet search or by asking a customer service representative at any casino or via any online poker or casino website, information is readily available for everyone. There are no age or other requirements for seeking information and/or assistance.
The following is a list of some of the most recognizable organizations that help set standards and provide help in various parts of the world.
Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to problem gambling prevention.
- Base: Ontario, Canada
- Phone: 1-416-499-9800
- Website: http://www.responsiblegambling.org/
National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) is a national advocacy program to assist problem gamblers and their families.
- Base: Washington, DC, United States
- Phone: 1-800-522-4700
- Website: https://www.ncpgambling.org/
National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG) is a national organization devoted to funding research for the recognition, understanding, and treatment of gambling disorders.
- Base: Massachusetts, United States
- Phone: 1-978-338-6610
- Website: http://www.ncrg.org/
GamCare is a national provider of gambling advice, support, counseling, treatment, and prevention of problem gambling.
- Base: London, UK
- Phone: 0808-8020-133
- Website: http://www.gamcare.org.uk/
Adictel is an organization dedicated to prevention and support for problem gamblers.
- Base: France but open to World
- Phone: 0805-02-00-00
- Website: http://www.adictel.com/
Gambling Help Online is a government-associated program providing a range of services to help with problem gambling issues.
- Base: Australia
- Phone: 1-800-858-858
- Website: https://www.gamblinghelponline.org.au/
Gambling Therapy is a global charitable service providing advice and support to anyone affected by problem gambling.
- Base: UK but open to World
- Website: https://www.gamblingtherapy.org/en
Gamblers Anonymous is the most recognized resource for problem gamblers around the world through a fellowship of people who share a common problem with gambling.
- Base: California, United States but open to World
- Phone: Various
- Website: http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga/