Gambling is harmless for the most part. But failing to restrain the urge to gamble can lead to severe addiction in certain people. If left unchecked, compulsive gambling can have several side effects.

This article focuses on responsible gambling practices and discusses ways to fight the addiction. We have also shared several Responsible Gambling tools available in Canada and the contact information of support groups and therapy sessions.

What is Responsible Gambling?

Responsible Gambling is a social initiative by governments around the world and the gambling industry to ensure fairness and generate awareness around the possible side effects of irresponsible gambling. These directives are implemented through protocols that slightly vary depending on the region.

The rules apply differently in online casinos and brick-and-mortar casinos. For instance, in Canada, the gambling protocols are mandated by the Canadian Gaming Association, which is in charge of a full spectrum of companies from land-based operators to online casinos, and suppliers.

How to Gamble Responsibly in Canada?

Online casinos operating in Canada are regulated by reputed gambling authorities like the Malta Gaming Authority, UK Gambling Commission, Curacao Gaming Commission, and more. Every casino licensed by one or more of these governing bodies has to follow a strict protocol. Failing to adhere to said norms could result in hefty fines, the licenses being revoked, or both.

Since it’s difficult for online casinos to physically monitor players, they use a software suite to oversee the amount of time and money each player spends at the casino. As such, these tools are an effective way of tracking people’s gambling habits. The tools might vary depending on jurisdiction and operator.

Broadly speaking, Canadian punters can follow certain common protocols as part of the country’s Responsible Gambling practice.

These guidelines include:

How to Identify Responsible Gambling Behaviour?

Apart from gambling limits, most online casinos in Canada offer self-assessment questions that allow players to identify problem gambling patterns. The assessment is in the form of quick yes or no answers that deliver a score. Casinos can gauge whether a player suffers from gambling addiction based on this score.

Here is a basic questionnaire to indicate whether or not you’re suffering from a gambling addiction:

  1. Do you tend to exceed your bankroll?

  2. Do you borrow money from friends or family to gamble?

  3. Do you play to overcome depression or anxiety?

  4. Do you increase the wager to try and recover losses?

  5. Do you spend long hours gambling online?

  6. Do your close ones feel that you’re gambling too much?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, we recommend using one or more of the casino limits discussed above. Depending on how many questions you’ve answered in the positive, we recommend you to self-exclude for a while. You should seek professional help if that isn’t working.

What is Self-Exclusion?

Players that feel that they’re no longer in control of their gambling habits can enroll for self-exclusion. They can either turn on self-exclusion from the casino’s settings or contact the operator to temporarily block the account on their behalf. Self-exclusion can be activated for a week, month, or extended period and cannot be revoked or lifted before that duration.

If a person requests permanent self-exclusion, their casino account is blocked for life. The casino processes all pending payouts depending on its policies. Some casinos will share the player’s details with professional counselling services to try and help them overcome the addiction.

How to Fight Gambling Addiction?

Once you’ve identified the symptoms, it’s time to move on to step two. There are several tried and tested methods that you can apply to find help. Here are the top contenders.

Find a Helpline

Several self-help groups and professional counsellors are available on call 24/7. They offer free, anonymous, and professional guidance to help you fight the addiction as a team.

Become a Sponsor

Fighting problem gambling as a team is easier than fighting alone. Sign up to become a sponsor, and the added responsibility will motivate you to stay on track.

Sign up for a Support Group

Support groups lend mental and emotional support when you need it the most. Working towards your goal of staying clean as a team is easier than trying to fight the urge alone.

How to Get Professional Help?

If you’re suffering from gambling addiction, it’s time to get professional help. Several organizations host group therapies and counselling sessions. You can get in touch with any self-help group of your choice through the 24/7 hotline. The top 3 charitable organizations in Canada dedicated to helping recovering gambling addicts are:

Gambling Therapy

Gambling Therapy is a free service that offers practical advice and emotional support to recovering gambling addicts. Gambling Therapy offers multilingual support and hosts online help groups and therapy sessions. If you need expert advice, get in touch with Gambling Therapy at [email protected]

National Resources for Canadians Struggling with Problem Gambling

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