While we discuss the everchanging igaming industry and follow as it installs itself and grows within the Canadian market, we must also focus on the concept of responsible gaming.
Governing entities such as the Alcohol and Gambling Authority of Ontario have been setting the best example for us in Canada by closely monitoring igaming activity in our country.
Some of the most prominent moves made by the authority have been the ongoing ban on illegal online casino and sportsbook operations and the newly designed restrictions on the appearance of celebrities in igaming ads, with the intent of making this less attractive to young audiences.
If you're an avid online gambler, we're sure you've come across responsible gambling guidelines on your favourite casino's website.
Any casino which plans on operating with legitimacy and validity by obtaining a license is required to offer these guidelines, otherwise, its application for a license will be rejected.
These guidelines cover topics which range from the dangers of underage gambling to ethical marketing for the industry.
However, responsible gaming guidelines are there first and foremost to help players avoid the risk of falling into unhealthy gambling patterns which may put their own livelihood in danger.
These guidelines are meant to protect players and also ensure the security of the environment by enforcing measures which minimize fraudulent or otherwise criminal activity on the platform, which of course, would also put the players at great risk of bankruptcy.
There are several services you could access at your casino, if the platform you are using to gamble is one which follows the regulations or relevant governing entities such as the Malta Gaming Authority of the UK Gambling Commission.
Let's explore how casinos enforce responsible gambling and what services have been put in place for players.
First of all, there are certain mandatory services which any online casino operating with a valid license should offer on its website for its registered members.
While the casino's guidelines are normally accessible whether or not you are registered on the platform, a few of the responsible gambling services imposed by online gambling authorities are meant to target players who have signed up and intend on spending real money at the casino.
The Malta Gaming Authority clearly outlines which services a casino should offer its users in order to minimize the possibility of unhealthy gambling habits which could not only lead to serious financial problems for the players but also at times put their mental health and life at risk.
Firstly, all players must be allowed the possibility to self-exclude for an indefinite period of time
To self-exclude is the action of getting in touch with your casino's customer service and specifying you would like to not be contacted with any online gambling content for a specified or unspecified amount of time in order to take a break from the activity.
Once you've specified this, you will also be allowed to keep access to your account but without logging in and using it.
All casinos with valid operating licenses must allow players to set deposit and wager limits for themselves
To control spendings made on gambling, a player has the option to set weekly or monthly deposit and wager limits which once hit, are locked in for the duration of time specified. Normally, it is quite difficult to have these limits edited once they have been reached.
It is recommended for these limits to be accompanied by reality checks, a mechanic that alerts players when they've spent a long time on one game in particular or even on the website itself.
These could also come in the form of time limits which essentially do not allow a player to spend more than a set amount of time on the game or website. Another form of addiction prevention is imposing short timeouts on the players for a maximum of 30 hours before they can play again.
Similarly, casinos are expected to allow players to set loss limits on their accounts
The concept is very similar to what we described above, where the player may specify the maximum amount they will allow themselves to lose while gambling for the week or month.
Essentially, once the limit is hit, the player can no longer play using real money till the start of the next week or month.
These guidelines are very similar across various licensing authorities.
You may also want to check out what is described as mandatory responsible gaming tools by the UK Gambling Commission or the Swedish Gambling Authority, for example.
It is highly recommended you put these tools to good use.
Of course, these services mean absolutely nothing without the player's interest.
Some casinos make it a point to remind players to set their limits and will often notify players of how long they have been active on their platform.
It may be the case that upon signing up, you are greeted with the option to start off your journey at the casino by setting these limits on your account. It may also be a step included in the sign-up process at the casino you choose.
However, it does not work the same at every casino.
We encourage you to take it upon yourselves to visit your account settings once you've completed registration at your casino and edit these limits.
Normally, the procedure is standard whichever casino you go to.
Head to your account settings or profile where you should find a section regarding safe gambling tools, or setting gambling limits. Access this tab to adjust your limit settings.
For assistance, you may always get in touch with a customer support agent at your casino.
Bear in mind that online casinos nowadays are also training agents to deal with extreme cases where clients feel like they are spiralling due to an addiction to gambling.
They are ready to assist with financial issues or even threats to the player's life due to mental instability brought about by the addiction and its effects.
If you ever fear your gambling activity is becoming unhealthy or hard to keep under control, do not hesitate to get in touch with your casino's customer support to be connected to a trained agent who may also refer you to appropriate helplines and care.
This is not the only way responsible gaming is enforced.
Registered users at various online gambling platforms are not the only ones who need to be protected from the dangers brought about by this industry and participation in online gambling activity.
The equipment installed on various online casinos to safeguard its players who are signed up and ready to play is extremely important but of no use to vulnerable audiences who might have the opportunity to gamble online.
What about uninformed players who are not aware of scams or even children who are highly susceptible to acquiring an interest in gambling and therefore fall into addiction?
As we mentioned earlier, steps are being taken with regard to such demographics of people, not only in Canada but globally.
With the major concern being younger audiences, governing entities are treading carefully while regulating and legalizing online gambling activity, keeping a close eye on anything which might in any way incite children to gamble.
From the limitation of the appearance of celebrities and well-known athletes on igaming campaigns to the complete ban of PC games which mimic gambling and the monitoring of how the online casino product is presented, the industry has had many guidelines presented to it in order to maintain safety for the vulnerable.
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