Responsible Gambling: What Is It?

Have you ever heard of gambling addiction before? If you haven’t, all you need to know is that it’s a condition that is characterized by an uncontrollable urge to gamble, despite the severe negative consequences attached to it. 

There’s really no such thing as “responsible gambling when it comes to gambling.” With so many people using games of chance as a way to pass the time, some people develop addictions to gambling. But to be clear, gambling addictions are different from addictions to drugs or alcohol. 

Unlike drugs, which depress the central nervous system and can make people act recklessly, gambling addictions only affect the brain’s reward centre. As a result, people with gambling addictions don’t show the same symptoms as people with addictions to other substances. 

Examples of gambling addicts include compulsive gamblers who can’t stop playing because they feel they need to keep winning, as well as people who play every day to win larger amounts of money.

What is The Difference Between Responsible Gambling and Problem Gambling?

Responsible gambling and problem gambling are two completely different things. 

  • Responsible gambling is any gambling activity that conforms to the rules and regulations of the gaming establishment and is done for fun.
  • Problem gambling is any gambling activity that is carried out in a harmful manner and deviates from the gaming establishment’s rules and regulations. Problem gamblers often develop a compulsion to gamble and can’t stop.

Gambling has been around for thousands of years, but gambling disorder has only emerged in recent decades. Gambling disorder (also known as pathological gambling) is diagnosed when individuals have trouble stopping their gambling behaviour. In contrast to problem gambling, responsible gambling involves wagering for fun.

What Does It Mean to Gamble Responsibly?

The ability to gamble responsibly means being accountable and responsible for your decisions and actions. The cognitive and behavioural processes involved in responsible gambling include:

  • Be honest with yourself, consider your limitations
  • Set a budget and stick to it
  • Know the level of risk you’re willing to take
  • Establish limits to how many times you can play
  • Know your limits when it comes to impulse control
  • Do not gamble as a means of escaping a difficult problem
  • Always play for fun
  • Be responsible

Most of us enjoy gambling, especially those who are in it for fun. But gambling responsibly means knowing when to stop, which can be tough when the stakes are high. Staying aware and managing expectations can help you avoid gambling more than you can afford to and can lead to a happier life all around.

How Has Responsible Gambling Changed During the Pandemic, if at all?

COVID-19 has posed new challenges to gambling operations. The virus has not only caused hospitalizations but has also slowed or even stopped the continual flow of foot traffic to casinos. This has forced some operators to reconfigure their floor plans, closing off some tables and adding others to accommodate fewer guests, while ensuring they continue to comply with health and safety regulations.

Gambling can be a fun activity, and while many shy away from gambling due to the risk of developing an addiction, a hidden addiction may just lurk beneath the surface. Responsible gambling means that a person plays games of chance responsibly, and that’s not always easy to do. 

But as COVID-19 has hit us hard, some states have taken it upon themselves to redefine responsible gambling. A simple Google search can help you to learn more about what your state is doing to help make this change.

Are There Individuals Who Might be More at Risk of Problem Gambling Behaviours?

Problem gambling affects people from all walks of life, regardless of gender, age, race, or income level. A study published in 2014, and one just published in 2016, examined the prevalence of problem gambling among college students. It concluded that as many as 5.3 percent of college students had engaged in problem gambling behaviours in their lifetime (though only 1.5 percent met the criteria for problem gambling). 

If you or someone you know has an addiction to gambling, it is important that you seek help immediately. Gambling has its limits, and if you know what they are, you are guaranteed a happy and fun experience. So, proceed carefully.