Responsible Gambling at Online Casinos

Published on: July 15, 2011 

The terms and conditions that all players mandatorily have to accept before signing up at any online casino include a clause that states that the online casino is meant for entertainment purposes only and that any player who wagers with real money is assumed to be aware of the risks involved. The terms also state that the online casino would not be responsible for the consequences if the player engages in real money gambling. When the online gambling industry was in its infancy then the above declaration was deemed to be the fulfillment of the online casinos obligation to encourage players to gamble responsibly. This is definitely not the case today. Today, licensing jurisdictions and accreditation agencies require online casino operators to take more proactive steps to ensure that players gamble responsibly.

Regulators try to ensure that online casinos are not making false claims about their games. Players have to be clearly told that the casino games are games of chance and that there can be no guarantees of winning. The best online casinos report payout percentages so that players can assess their chances of winning. Advertisements for online gambling are carefully vetted in most jurisdictions

The best online casinos allow players to set maximum deposit limits. This could be on per week or per month basis. All players should use this facility without fail and set the limits after careful consideration of their financial position. They should not increase these limits unless and until their financial position improves significantly.

Responsible gambling means gambling without getting caught in the quagmire of problem gambling. Hence it is very important for players to recognize if they are heading towards problem gambling. In order to help players, online casinos often provide self assessment tests that detect changes in gambling patterns. The main objective of these tests is to ascertain whether the player has started spending more time and more money on online gambling. The questions asked include whether the player is gambling at work or from public places, whether the player is spending less time with friends and family, whether he is borrowing money to gamble, whether he is deferring or cutting down on essential house hold expenses and whether he is chasing losses.

At the slightest hint of problem gambling players must do two things. The first is to appropriately reduce the deposit limits. The second is to avail of the cooling off period. The cooling off period is a facility offered by online casinos. Players who activate this facility will be prevented from logging in for the stated period. In the extreme the self exclusion policy can strike off the player’s name from the members list, refund the balance if any and close his account. If the above steps do not help then the player will need professional guidance. The best online casinos provide links to organizations that provide such assistance. Therefore the affected player does not have to search for help; it is available at his doorstep.

Another aspect of promoting responsible gambling is preventing minors from accessing online casinos. Here again the casino operators execute their share of the responsibility. They ask for relevant documents for verification of the age of the applicants. Many online casinos assign specialist agencies the work of age verification from databases. Online casinos also provide links for downloading filtering programs that parents can install to prevent minor children at home from accessing online casino web sites.

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