Responsible Gambling

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As more and more US states expand legal gaming options within their borders, responsible gambling becomes a major topic of discussion. All the stakeholders in the US gaming industry have a vested interest in promoting the responsible use of any legal gaming products offered.



Responsible gaming is a consistent and concerted effort to ensure the proper use of legal gambling options. This covers sports betting at both retail sportsbooks and through online mobile sportsbook apps.

Responsible gaming can also be expanded to any activity that involves the risk of losing real money. It is vitally important to promote betting within someone’s financial means. This is often times referred to as discretionary funds that can be lost without having any detrimental impact.

The four key aspects of any responsible gambling plan include:

  1. Educational programs to identify problem behavior
  2. Information and assistance implementing these programs
  3. Active participation throughout the gaming industry
  4. Preventing underage gambling


The most effective way to promote responsible gambling is through established limits. The first step in the process is to know those limits. This concept goes back to only gambling with discretionary funds that can afford to be lost.

Losing the $50 someone received as a birthday presents falls within the parameters of discretionary gaming funds. Losing this month’s rent or car payment clearly does not.


To properly know betting limits is to actually set those limits. Any real money deposits into any betting account need to be closely monitored. Self-limits can be put in place as part of the tracking process.

If the set limits are exceeded for any reason, this should act as an initial warning sign towards moving away from responsible gambling. Gambling sites are required to offer limits and other responsible gaming features; VegasInsider will always promote safe and legal sites.


All responsible gambling departments will allow users and bettors to self-exclude in order to cool down. This will limit your ability to access gambling sites (or, in person, you'll be turned away until your set exclusion time has passed). This is another good way to ensure you're not betting in an unsafe or unhealthy way.

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How do I limit my risk of experiencing negative consequences due to gambling?

In many cases it is a lot easier to tackle problems before they turn into big monsters. This is especially true if we consider problems experienced due to gambling. Once gambling problems start to escalate, they can be very difficult to tackle and create a paradoxical situation where it appears to the person that the only way to reduce problems is to keep gambling.

As an example, a person experiencing financial difficulties due to gambling may think that the only way to overcome these difficulties is to attempt to win back their losses through more gambling. Unfortunately, this strategy will most often lead to further losses and escalation of problems. The best advice is therefore to be proactive and take actions to limit your risk even if you feel like you are in perfect control. In a way taking preventive actions such as setting reasonable limits for yourself is bit like putting on the seatbelt before driving. You know that you will probably not need it on your trip, but that it can save your life if you should get into an unexpected accident.

Most gambling providers offer various limits tools, which you can use to decide how much you want to gamble. Often you will have the opportunity to set a deposit limit on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Sometimes you will also be given the opportunity to set limits on other aspects of gambling behaviour such as maximum time consumption, wager size or total loss within a period of time.

Setting limits is for everyone and is a bit like making a budget for yourself. They make it easy to keep the overview and help you stick to your decisions about your gambling behavior, even if you occasionally get caught in the heat of the moment. If you gamble with multiple gambling providers you have to take on a little more work yourself, as the limits don’t transfer across providers. In this case you might want to want to keep track of your deposits in a spreadsheet or set a lower limit for each provider.

The exact amount of money a person can gamble without experiencing any risk differs from person to person. A good strategy is to create an entertainment budget that includes gambling and then set a limit that reflects how much money you are willing to lose on gambling after setting aside money for all your regular expenses. Often people will also benefit from setting limits on their time consumption.

Think about how much time you have for leisure activities and then decide how much of that time you want to spend on gambling while leaving time for other activities that you enjoy. Remember to occasionally evaluate your limits as changes to your financial situation or other important aspects of your life might change how much time or money you want to spend on gambling.

If you find it difficult to stick to your limits, you might benefit from taking a break from gambling for a while to focus on other activities. Remember that gambling should never be causing you any harms and that you can reach out to the National Council on Problem Gambling if you need to talk to someone about your gambling behavior and what actions you can take to limit your risk.

Making the decision to put on the gambling seatbelt may help you avoid having to deal with some very difficult problems later down the road.

Your Gambling Behavior (Reflection Exercise)

Regularly taking some time to reflect on your gambling behavior can be an effective way of making sure that gambling remains a fun activity, which does not lead to gambling related harms such as financial difficulties or neglect of other important activities.

While various self-assessment tools exist, it can also be insightful to reflect on your gambling behavior and the feelings that you experience in relation to gambling. Try to be aware of your emo tions and thoughts while you perform this exercise. If you feel uncomfortable during this exercise, find that you try to explain away actions, or even lie to yourself, this will often be a sign that you could benefit from reducing your gambling or seeking professional help.
Here are some suggestions for questions that can help guide your reflections. You may choose to go through all the 8 questions or pick the ones that you find most relevant.

• What is your motivation to gamble?
• How does it feel like when you gamble? How does it feel like after you gamble?
• Do you experience that you lose track of time and money spent while gambling?
• Do you know how much time and money you spend gambling on a monthly basis? If not, try to get an overview. How do you feel about these numbers?
• How often do you spend time on thinking about gambling when you are not gambling?
• Does gambling get in the way of carrying out other aspects of your life?
• How would you feel about sharing how much you gamble to a person close to you?
• Have you ever experienced that gambling has left you short of money?

You may choose to supplement this reflection exercise with the self-test Gamalyze to assess how risky your gambling style is.

Hopefully, this exercise has left you with a clearer view on how you feel about your gambling behavior. Please reach out to the NCPG if you feel like you might benefit from discuss ing your gambling with a professional or need advice on how to reduce your gambling. A good strategy for cutting down is to substitute gambling with other activities that you enjoy. Go for a walk outside, meet up with a friend, start a creative project or engage in another activity that you find enjoyable.



Mindway AI has provided VegasInsider with this tool, called Gamalyze, to assess your risk of problem gambling from a neuroscientific perspective. Based on multiple mid- to long-term studies on problem gamblers and the general population, use this tool to give you a better perspective on how you gamble and to access some handy advice on keeping your gambling responsible, and not a habit.


The NCPG was first formed in 1972. The organization’s primary purpose is to be a “national advocate for programs and services to assist people and families affected by problem gambling.”

The NCPG seeks to reduce the financial and social impacts of problem gambling. The stated mission is to “lead state and national stakeholders in the development of comprehensive policy and programs for all those affected by problem gambling.”


A big part of the effort to assist anyone impacted by problem gambling is the development of effective programs and vital resources.

Instant help can be found through the National Problem Gambling Helpline at 800-522-4700. This toll-free number is available anywhere in the US. It is manned on a continual basis 24 hours a day.

One of the existing programs in place is Risk Education for Athletes (REAP). The NCPG designates March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month with ties to college basketball’s March Madness.

The National Conference on Problem Gambling is open to industry regulators, legislators and company executives. The annual conference also features recovering gamblers to provide real life experiences.


A vital aspect of promoting responsible gaming is help and treatment when those efforts fall short. Local help is offered on a state-by-state basis. Treatment facilities have been established as part of multiple outreach plans.

Self-help meetings are available through Gamblers Anonymous. Gam-Anon is available for families and loved ones impacted by problem gambling. Meetings are available for in-person attendance as well as nightly phone calls on a daily basis.

Actual call-in numbers and nightly meeting times are available of the website under the heading for the Help & Treatment section.

Financial workbook tools have been developed as a resource for treatment options. Certified gambling counselors are part of a search tool for treatment.


As part of NCPG’s ongoing commitment to problem gambling, the organization offers nationally recognized certification programs. There are also quality educational training programs in place for counselors.

Certifications include International Certified Gambling Counselor (ICGC). Another would be for International Co-Occurring Gambling Specialist Competency Credential (ICOGS).

The NCPG offers an updated calendar of events and trainings. There are training opportunities throughout the year to earn continuing education units.

Another means to acquire vital information tied to training and certification is professional networking. The NCPG offers a LinkedIn page to meet industry peers and exchange news and ideas related to Problem Gambling and Responsible Gaming.


State RG Hotline Gambling Help Website Self-Exclusion Website
Alabama 334-277-5100
Alaska 800-522-4700
Arizona 800-777-7207
Arkansas 800-522-4700
California 1-800-GAMBLER
Colorado 1-800-GAMBLER
Connecticut 888-789-7777
Delaware 888-850-8888
of Columbia
Florida 888-236-4848
Georgia 800-522-4700
Hawaii 800-522-4700
Idaho 800-522-4700
Illinois 800-522-4700
Indiana 800-994-8448
Iowa 800-522-4700
Kansas 800-522-4700
Kentucky 800-426-2537
Louisiana 877-770-7867
Maine 800-522-4700
Maryland 1-800-GAMBLER
Massachusetts 800-522-4700
Michigan 800-270-7117
Minnesota 800-333-4673
Mississippi 888-777-9696
Missouri 800-522-4700
Montana 888-900-9979
Nebraska 833-238-6837
Nevada 800-522-4700
New Hampshire 603-724-1605
New Jersey 1-800-GAMBLER
New Mexico 800-572-1142
New York 877-846-7369
North Carolina 800-522-4700
North Dakota 800-522-4700
Ohio 1-800-GAMBLER
Oklahoma 800-522-4700
Oregon 877-695-4648
Pennsylvania 1-800-GAMBLER
Rhode Island 877-942-6253
South Carolina 800-522-4700
South Dakota 800-522-4700
Tennessee 800-522-4700
Texas 800-522-4700
Utah 800-522-4700
Vermont 800-522-4700
Virginia 800-522-4700
Washington 800-547-6133
West Virginia 800-522-4700
Wisconsin 800-426-2535
Wyoming 800-522-4700



Gaming operators are earmarking a portion of their earnings to help further the cause of responsible gaming efforts. Some companies actively contribute to organizations such as the NCPG.


Gaming companies offer online self-exclusion options that prohibit someone from accessing their site. Betting limits can also be put into place to combat excessive gambling. Cool-off periods are used to restrict access for a set period of time.


A gaming site’s account history will contain a comprehensive summary of each customer’s online activity.


There are some excellent professional resources in place to foster responsible gaming on the national, state and local level. The NCPG is a perfect example of a national organization taking this issue down to the grassroots level in local communities all across the country.

As major stakeholders in the issue of responsible gaming and problem gambling, the entire legal gaming industry has embraced this effort. Through education, training and actual barriers to the misuse of gambling products, legal gaming operators continue to play a vital role.

Most importantly, everyone with a vested interest in promoting responsible gaming while also combating problem gambling needs to be involved.

The prohibition of gambling in any form has proven to be ineffective. There are too many unregulated and illegal options that continue to persist in today’s society. By governing and regulating legal gaming products, the necessary means to promoting responsible gambling can be put into place.

This regulated environment has been designed to better coordinate the effort towards treating problem gambling on a continual and effective basis.