Safe Gambling FAQs

Last Updated: May 29, 2023

Reviewed by Dr Aaron Weiner

Psychologist and Addiction Specialist Aaron Weiner, PhD, ABPP is a licensed, board-certified psychologist and addiction specialist with experience in hospital administration, public health, and youth drug prevention.  Dr. Weiner is the President of the Society of Addiction Psychology, serves on the Science Advisory Board of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, and is a member of the Physician Speakers Bureau for the National Safety Council. Note: Dr. Weiner has reviewed the informational content of this page for accuracy.  App and website... Read More

Note: Dr. Weiner has reviewed the informational content of this page for accuracy.  App and website recommendations are based solely on the opinions of the author.

Problem Gambling FAQs

Responsible gambling, as it should be, has been continuously given huge importance in the industry, now more than ever when the online market is so extensive making online casinos easily accessible and available around the clock. It’s important to recognise that responsible gambling is not only referring to taking breaks and setting budgets but it’s also about learning and understanding gambling addiction on the whole. For this reason, this measure should not only be adopted by casino operators and game providers but also by players who should take the initiative to educate themselves to avoid Problem Gambling.

What is meant by responsible gambling?

Responsible Gambling, or Safer Gambling, are initiatives set out within the gaming industry that promote social responsibility. This includes things like taking breaks and setting time limits for your playtime, setting monetary limits so that you only gamble with money that you can’t risk losing, and ensuring that you’re not using gambling as a paycheck.

How do you responsibly gamble?

The fundamentals of responsible gambling boil down to the fact that gambling should purely serve the purpose of entertainment if it is affordable. One key tip is to not see gambling as a way of earning an income and only gambling with funds you can risk losing to not impact your financial circumstances negatively. However, it’s not just about your finances, but also about your overall well-being. Most reputable casinos allow players to set limits on what they can spend, and playtime on their sites. Another tip is to balance gambling into your life according to your lifestyle, allowing yourself time for other important activities that take care of your physical and mental health. 

How can you tell if you or a friend is falling into a Gambling Addiction?

There are a few things you can evaluate when looking at your own gambling tendencies such as:

- Personal worries about your gambling patterns.

- Difficulties in your day-to-day life caused gambling.

- Feeling the need to gamble with larger amounts of money or have gambled with more than what is affordable to you.

- Trying to win back money that you’ve previously lost.

- Hiding your gambling habits from friends and loved ones.

If you’re looking for a confidential service for you to identify if you have any gambling addiction tendencies, BeGamblingAware offers a self-assessment that you can fill in which will provide feedback and support for your outcomes.

Is problem gambling limited to games like poker and slot machines?

Gambling addiction is not only limited to traditional casino games but can be derived from a number of games of chance, including the likes of sweepstakes and fantasy sports. Online gambling, as well as sports betting, poses a big concern since they are easily accessible.

Is problem gambling only a financial issue?

Not at all, in fact, they are two separate problems, which albeit, go hand in hand. Problem gambling is viewed as an emotional problem which can result in financial problems and vice-versa. In terms of Problem Gambling, the main issue is their inability to stop gambling when appropriate due to their unrestrained compulsive gambling habits.

What factors should be taken into account when setting limits for responsible gambling?

When setting up your account at a reputable online casino, you have the availability of setting certain limits to help you control your gambling. There are a good number of limits you can set to help you gamble responsibly, and these limits revolve around time and money. One limit in place to help you gamble responsibly is time or session limits which restricts the length of time during which you can play over a given period of time ranging from 1 day to 1 month. It’s important to analyse how much free time you can comfortably afford to spend on online casinos. Deposit limits allow you to limit the maximum amount that you can deposit into your account over your preferred time period, after which the limit resets itself. On the other hand, loss limits allow you to control the maximum funds that can be lost over a period of time which when reached will restrict additional wagering. Finally, wager limits are in place restricting any further wagers once you reach the maximum amount you can bet over the set time period. The main factor to consider here is what amount of funds you have available that will not financially impact you negatively.

Why is gambling addictive and needs to be controlled?

When playing casino games like slots, it’s quite normal to fall into patterns while you enjoy respinning or even earning rewarding wins on some of your spins. This can potentially trigger the brain's reward system leading to addictive tendencies. Compulsive gambling can result in chasing wagers that wind up in substantial losses, eating up your savings, and accumulating debt.

How do I overcome my gambling addiction?

There are a few things you can make use of to help you reduce gambling patterns such as the option to self-exclude yourself from the online platforms and casinos you frequently visit. In this instance, operators are legally obligated to stop sending you promotional content and take appropriate measures to prevent you from evading self-exclusion. Many of these operators subscribe to self-exclusion programs such as GAMSTOP in the United Kingdom, granting you the ability to exclude yourself from the linked casinos for a duration of six months, one year or five years.

Who is responsible for safer gambling?

The responsibility of ensuring safer gambling practices falls on the gambling industry as a whole, including both online and offline establishments. This includes regulatory bodies, individual operators, and other stakeholders. Operators have a direct responsibility to ensure that responsible gambling practices are respected and understood by all parties involved, including regulators, platform providers, casino game suppliers, and players. Platform providers have a responsibility to embed their software products into a comprehensive management system that delivers a secure and fair gaming experience.

What is the legal age for gambling in a casino?

The legal age for gambling in Europe is typically 18 years old, although there are some countries with exceptions to this rule. In Germany, Ireland, and Belgium, the minimum age is 21 years old, while in Greece, players must be at least 23 years old, and in Portugal, the age is even higher at 25 years old. It's important to note that these age restrictions apply to natives, so if you're from a country with a lower age limit and travelling to a country with a higher age limit, you still must follow the higher age restriction.

In the United States, players must be at least 21 years old to gamble for real money, except in Alaska, Idaho, Minnesota, and Wyoming, where the age limit is 18 years old. Additionally, each state has its own specific laws and regulations regarding gambling, including which games and bets are allowed. This also applies to online gambling, as it is legal in some states and illegal in others. For instance, online poker is legal in New Jersey but prohibited in most other states.

Given these varying laws and restrictions, it's important to keep in mind the gambling laws of the country you are visiting and make sure you comply with them. What may be legal in your country of residence may not be legal in your destination, so always do your research beforehand.

Are only weak or irresponsible individuals prone to Problem Gambling?

This is not necessarily the case. In fact, it’s more common for gambling addicts to be identified as responsible and strong-willed individuals. The case of gambling turning into an addiction is usually linked more to sudden changes or built-up issues in personal sectors in an individual’s life such as work-related stress or loss of employment.

How can I protect my children from being exposed to betting sites?

It is important to make sure to always log out of betting sites when you are finished, and do not leave your children near devices while a betting site is running. Educate them about the dangers of underage gambling and limit the amount of time they spend online, while regularly monitoring the content they are accessing. Additionally, you can also consider using software like Net Nanny (UK) and Kidlogger (USA) to protect your children from any form of content aimed at adults which can be inappropriate for minors.

What support can I access if I am worried about my gambling?

Several entities are available that provide support and guidance to individuals with harmful gambling addictions under strict confidentiality. These services are usually free of charge and there are several entities one can look out for depending on your jurisdiction. For example, in the UK, entities such as BeGamblingAware, Gamecare and the National Problem Gambling Clinic provide useful advice about practising responsible gambling and offer support to gambling addicts.

What can I do to offer support to someone I know who I think has a gambling problem?

Firstly, you need to learn about problem gambling and responsible gambling measures so that you are well informed about the types of support available. You also need to ready yourself for any negative reactions which can sometimes get violent considering the sensitivity of such a topic. This can be done by creating a support system for yourself and confronting sensitive individuals with a reliable individual or entity in a safe environment. It’s also important that such conversations are planned ahead and carried out at the right time. 

Additionally, it’s important to congratulate all the milestones your loved one takes towards recovery, small and large. However, it’s also important to ensure that you are protecting yourself during this time, both emotionally and in your day-to-day life by taking any necessary actions for your personal life such as changing personal passwords and payment information.

Is problem gambling only possible when you gamble on a daily basis?

This is not necessarily the case. The frequency of gambling is not what defines Problem gambling, but rather the negative impact it has on a person's life. Even occasional gambling can lead to severe financial, emotional, and psychological consequences, making it a serious problem for those affected by it.