Responsible Gambling Your Guide to Navigating Safe Bets

Online gambling, like any form of entertainment, should be enjoyable. However, when the fun stops, it's crucial to recognize the need for responsible gambling. This issue is not exclusive to online gamblers; land-based gamblers can also fall prey to problem gambling. In this article, we will discuss the concept of responsible gambling, the tools available to help maintain control, the signs of gambling addiction, and where to seek help if needed.

What Is Responsible Gambling

Responsible gambling is the practice of gambling in a way that does not negatively impact one's life or the lives of those around them. It involves setting and adhering to personal limits, understanding the risks involved, and being aware of the potential for addiction. Responsible gambling is crucial to ensure that gambling remains a fun and enjoyable activity rather than becoming a problem.

What Are Some Responsible Gambling Tools

Although different jurisdictions around the world have gambling regulation in place, this doesn't guarantee responsible gambling from individuals. Several tools can help gamblers maintain control and enjoy casino games responsibly. These include deposit limits, time-out sessions, cool-off periods, wagering limits, and self-exclusion options. These tools, combined with responsible gambling practices and principles, can help ensure a safe and enjoyable gambling experience.

Deposit Limits

Deposit limits are a responsible gambling tool that allows players to set a maximum amount they can deposit into their casino account over a certain period. This helps players manage their gambling budget and prevents them from spending more than they can afford.

Timeout Sessions

Time-out sessions are a feature that allows players to take a break from gambling for a specified period. This can range from a few hours to several weeks, helping players to manage their gambling time and prevent it from becoming excessive.

Cool-Off Periods

Cool-off periods are similar to time-out sessions but typically last longer. During a cool-off period, players can't access their account to gamble, helping them take a longer break if needed.

Wagering Limits

Wagering limits allow players to set a maximum amount they can wager within a certain period. This helps players control their spending and prevents them from making impulsive and potentially harmful betting decisions.


Self-exclusion is a tool that allows players to block access to their casino account for a specified period, ranging from several months to years. This is often used by players who feel they may be developing a gambling problem and need a long-term break.

Who Promotes Responsible Gambling

Several organizations promote responsible gambling and provide resources for those struggling with gambling addiction. These include the Responsible Gambling Council (RGC), GambleAware, and GAMSTOP. These organizations provide information, support, and treatment services to help individuals manage their problem gambling. Many casinos also work with these organizations to promote responsible gambling on their platforms.

Organization Information Website
Responsible Gambling Council

An independent non-profit organization dedicated to problem gambling prevention. For over 35 years, they've worked to establish safeguards and support for those who gamble, providing resources, advice, and industry accreditation services.

Part of the National Gambling Support Network, this organization provides free, confidential, and personalized support for anyone experiencing problems from gambling, including those affected by someone else's gambling.

The leading provider of support for anyone affected by problem gambling in Great Britain. They offer a variety of resources including blocking software, self-exclusion services, money management advice, and self-guided resources. They also provide a 24/7 helpline for immediate support.

A free online self-exclusion service that helps you control your online gambling. Once registered, you will be prevented from using gambling websites and apps run by companies licensed in Great Britain.
Gamblers Anonymous

A fellowship of men and women who share their experiences to solve their common problem and help others do the same. They offer various aids including a forum, a chat room, literature, and a meeting finder.
Gambling Therapy

A global service offered by Gordon Moody, providing free practical advice and emotional support to anyone affected by gambling. They offer resources to help understand problem gambling and its impact on individuals and their families.

Another effective tool in combating gambling addiction is using a responsible gambling software. This innovative technology enables players to manage their gambling habits by setting limits on their gaming activities. For instance, some applications can detect signs of problematic gambling behavior, alerting users and potentially preventing the progression of an addiction. A prime example of this is the work being done by Mindway AI. For a deeper understanding of how they're revolutionizing the field, take a look at our insightful interview with Rasmus Kjærgaard from Mindway AI, where we delve into the specifics of their impressive strategy.

Gambling Addiction

Gambling addiction, also known as compulsive gambling, is a disorder where an individual has an uncontrollable urge to gamble, despite the negative impact it may have on their life. This can lead to financial difficulties, strained relationships, and mental health issues. It's important to recognize the signs of gambling addiction and seek help if needed.

How Common Is Gambling Addiction

While exact figures vary, it's estimated that around 2-3% or millions Americans struggle a gambling problem of any kind. Gambling addiction can have serious consequences, including financial hardship, relationship issues, job loss, and mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

Problem Gambling and Gambling Addiction Signs

Signs of problem gambling can include:

  • Spending more money or time on gambling than one can afford;
  • Lying about gambling habits;
  • Chasing losses;
  • Gambling despite negative consequences.

Gambling addiction can be influenced by various factors, including biological, psychological, and social elements.

Catherine Lyon, a responsible gambling advocate and a recovered gambling addict, shares her personal experience with noticing signs of addiction.

There are many recognizable signs of problem gambling which can quickly become a full-blown gambling addiction. Some of my symptoms of gambling addiction are from others, like my family, my spouse, and myself. I began hiding my gambling and losses by lying to my family and husband. Hiding the late notices of unpaid bills, I opened credit card accounts my husband didn't know about or the checks I wrote that bounced. I had lost several jobs due to my gambling was one way my husband suspected something was wrong. I began selling or pawning valuables like my jewelry or things around the house.

I'd lie as to why they were missing. I would borrow money from my parents because I gambled away our home mortgage money. I would go to run some errands that should have only taken a little time, yet I'd be gone for hours, then lie about where I was. I even planned vacations around, knowing a casino would be close by. My husband finally confronted me about my gambling, which became a constant battle and source of many arguments over the years I gambled.

Being addicted to gambling was exhausting and became my worst nightmare to the point of two failed suicide attempts. I did so because I felt I could not dig myself out of the hell I had created and had a complete mental and emotional blackout.

So, I finally entered a six-month treatment program paid for by and through the Oregon State Lottery Program. After a withdrawal and emotional detox from not gambling, I began treatment. By 2007 and a few relapses later, I started my recovery journey. I have not placed a bet in over 15+ years and counting.

Activities to Help You Stop Gambling Addiction

There are several steps one can take to help manage a gambling problem. These include seeking support from loved ones or professionals, finding new hobbies, and keeping a journal to identify triggers.

Ask for Support

Seeking support from loved ones or professionals can be a crucial step in managing a gambling problem. Asking for gambling help can result in receiving the needed emotional support, practical advice, and can help hold you accountable to your recovery goals.

Find a New Hobby

Finding a new hobby, or rediscovering an old one, can provide a healthy distraction from gambling. It can also help fill the time previously spent gambling and provide a sense of achievement and satisfaction.

Keep a Journal to Help You Find Triggers

Keeping a journal can help identify triggers that lead to gambling. By understanding these triggers, one can develop strategies to manage them and prevent relapse.

When I began my six-month treatment program, it included a weekly group meeting, therapy one-on-one with my assigned counselor twice a week, and counseling with my husband and meme once a week. I had begun the long recovery journey, learning and accepting that it would be a life-long process until my last breath.

Once I came to terms with this, I began seeing a specialist in addictions and recovery while working the treatment program. I was starting the inside work of changing my thinking and the poor habits and behaviors I'd relied on within my addiction.

This addiction and disease will invade every aspect of your life.

I had to learn feelings again because I used gambling as a coping skill and an escape, not wanting to feel anything. I worked on changing my thinking patterns to make better life choices. I was learning the tools and skills to interrupt 'the cycle' of my addiction, like making calls to others when urges or a trigger would hit and want to gamble; I attended Gamblers Anonymous meetings, and I began to journal at the end of each day to see what I did well, or if I needed more work in a particular area of my recovery. I read many books and researched this disease and addiction to educate myself.

There are many options and choices to help you stop gambling—services like self-excluding yourself from in-person casinos and gambling venues. For online gambling, several sites offer a service to ban or block you from being able to gamble on the Internet. Find a good therapist or counselor that specializes in addictions. Research treatment options that are available.

There is no shame in admitting you need help to stop gambling. You are not alone nor need to suffer in silence like I did.

Gambling Addiction Help – Hotlines around the World

Gambling addiction help is available worldwide. Many organizations provide helplines, online resources, and treatment services to help individuals manage their gambling behavior.

Gambling Addiction Help around the World
Country Responsible Gambling Organization Contact
Argentina Juego Responsable 0800-333-0333
America National Council on Problem Gambling 202-547-9204
Belgium Gaming Commission 0800-35-777
Brazil JOGADORES ANÔNIMOS 21-99750-3174
Canada Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) 1-866-531-2600
Chile Superintendencia de Casinos de Juego (SCJ) 2-2589-3000
Germany Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA) +49-221-8992-0
Spain Jugar Bien 91-571-40-80
France Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ) 01-57-13-13-00
Italy Gioca Responsabile 800151000
The Netherlands Centrum voor Verantwoord Spelen (Center for Responsible Gaming) +31641622869
Norway Hjelpelinjen (The Helpline) 800-800-40
Austria Spielsuchthilfe (Addiction Help) +43-1-5441357
Portugal Serviço de Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos (SRIJ) 211-140-200
Switzerland Eidgenössische Spielbankenkommission (ESBK) +41-58-463-12-04
Sweden Swedish Gambling Authority (Spelinspektionen) 0152-650-100

How to Keep Gambling Fun and Casual

Gambling can be a fun and enjoyable activity when done responsibly. This involves setting and sticking to limits, not using gambling as a way to solve problems, and ensuring that gambling does not interfere with personal relationships.

Tips for Gambling Responsibly:

  • Only spend what you can afford: Set a budget for your gambling activities and stick to it. This will ensure that you don't spend more than you can afford to lose.
  • Gambling is not the answer to any problem: Gambling should not be used as a way to solve financial or personal problems. It's important to seek appropriate help if you're facing difficulties.
  • Gambling should not interfere with personal relationships: If gambling is causing issues in your personal relationships, it may be time to reassess your gambling habits and seek help if needed.


What Is Meant by Responsible Gambling?

Responsible gambling refers to taking breaks, setting limits, and only using disposable income to gamble. By gambling responsibly, individuals ensure they do not rely on gambling for income and only use money they can afford to lose.

By adhering to these measures, gamblers can maintain control and minimize risks associated with gambling.

What Is an Example of Responsible Gambling?

Responsible gambling can be exemplified in several ways. One example is setting a clear budget for gambling activities, treating it as an expense for entertainment purposes only, and strictly adhering to this limit regardless of wins or losses.

Another example is setting a time limit for gambling activities to ensure it does not interfere with other important aspects of life. Responsible gamblers also take regular breaks to avoid excessive play, and they do not chase losses, understanding that losses are part of the game.

Is It Possible to Gamble Responsibly?

Yes, it is entirely possible to gamble responsibly.

Responsible gambling involves understanding and accepting the odds, being aware of your chances of winning, acknowledging that your spending limits might differ from others, and avoiding attempting to recover losses. By gambling responsibly, you can ensure a safer and more enjoyable experience.

How Do I Stop My Addiction to Gambling?

Overcoming a gambling addiction often requires a multi-faceted approach.

This can include seeking professional help from therapists or counselors experienced in dealing with gambling addiction. Self-help strategies can also be beneficial, such as maintaining a diary to track gambling activities and identify triggers, controlling access to money, and finding alternative activities to replace gambling. It's also important to have a strong support network, including friends, family, or support groups, who can provide emotional support and help hold you accountable to your recovery goals.

What Are the Symptoms of Gambling Addiction?

Symptoms of gambling addiction can include a preoccupation with gambling, such as constantly planning how to obtain more money for gambling, needing to gamble with increasing amounts of money to achieve the same level of excitement, repeated unsuccessful attempts to control, cut back, or stop gambling, and feeling restless or irritable when trying to reduce or stop gambling.

Other symptoms can include lying to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling and jeopardizing significant relationships, jobs, or educational opportunities due to gambling.

Is Gambling a Mental Illness?

Yes, problem gambling is considered a mental health disorder. Specifically, it is classified as an impulse control disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association.

This disorder can have significant negative impacts on an individual's psychological and physical health, including depression, anxiety, and other related conditions.

What Are the Four Stages of Gambling Addiction?

The four stages of gambling addiction, as identified by the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery, are:

  • Winning Phase: This phase often begins with a big win, leading to a surge of excitement and a positive view of gambling.
  • Losing Phase: As the individual continues to gamble, they start to lose more often, leading to increased betting to win back lost money.
  • Desperation Phase: The gambler becomes increasingly preoccupied with gambling, lies to hide their activities, and may experience guilt and remorse.
  • Hopeless Phase: The individual feels trapped in their gambling behavior, leading to feelings of hopelessness. This phase can often lead to severe depression and, in some cases, suicidal thoughts.