While gambling might be one of the best ways to pass the time, it’s not without its issues. When done in moderation, it’s okay to indulge in this pastime. But when things get out of hand, players can develop a gambling addiction and that’s when things go south.
To tackle this problem, there’s a concept in the industry called responsible gambling. If you’re a casino player in Canada, you must have heard of this once or twice. But you might not have had any idea about what it really is and how it works.
As nearly 64.5% of Canadians are gambling every year, there is a need for tools to prevent it becoming a problem.
For Canadians, especially those living in Ontario, there’s the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) to oversee these things. Today, we’re going to talk about their responsibilities, and the gambling laws, and show you some of the steps that you can take to protect yourself. Let’s begin.
Responsibilities of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario
The AGCO is the authority responsible for overseeing all gambling-related activities within the province. They have several responsibilities that allow them to effectively manage and regulate different online establishments to ensure safe gambling. Let’s take a quick look at some of them.
Licensing and Registration
AGCO is the sole authority that’s responsible for handing out licenses and registrations to different online casinos, betting sites, and lottery retailers. They make sure these companies are running a legitimate business and are following all of the regulatory standards.
Enforcing Gambling Laws
AGCO is also responsible for making sure that gambling establishments are following the laws set by the province of Ontario. By making sure everything is in order, they can offer a responsible gambling environment for all of the players.
As for the exact specifics of the laws, we’re going to look into that soon. So, stay tuned for those.
Responsible Gambling Initiatives
Aside from their indirect steps, AGCO also takes direct initiatives to promote and enforce responsible gambling in Ontario. They’re actively overseeing self-exclusion programs and provide resources needed for those looking to practice safe gambling.
They’re also in charge of ensuring that online operators implement responsible gambling features on their sites. So, should a player’s gameplay behaviour get out of hand, it’s the casino’s duty to make sure they’re putting a stop to it.
What Does the Law Say?
Aside from the AGCO, there’s also the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) in the province. When it comes to lottery games in particular, the duty of ensuring responsible gambling falls on the shoulders of this authority.
Other than this, AGCO also makes sure that online casinos and betting sites are offering players the option to take a break when they want. The users are given the option to specify how long they want to take a break which the operator has to comply with.
Both AGCO and OLG require websites to share anonymous player data with them. This helps the authorities perform responsible gambling-related research and introduce new policies to improve the system.
How Casinos Help You Play Responsibly?
So far, we’ve seen how the authorities enforce different operators to promote safe gambling. But we haven’t yet delved into how this plays out in reality. Let’s take a quick peek at that.
The easiest way that you can prevent gambling problem is by educating them. When you inform them about the potential risks involved with gambling and its addiction, most players will take the necessary steps themselves.
But casinos don’t do it directly. Instead, they will provide players with the necessary resources where they can find more information on the topic. These places will also contain links where players can seek help if they’re finding it hard to exclude themselves.
If you visit one of the physical gambling locations in Ontario, you’ll come across staff who have been trained to assist players with problem gambling. They’ve been instructed to identify players who might already have problem gambling tendencies and help them accordingly.
Online casinos will also give you an array of self-assessment tools to choose from. Using these, you can keep track of your gambling behaviour and identify patterns that clash with responsible gambling practices. These tools also come with indicators that tell you when you might be exhibiting the same behaviour as a gambling addict.
Limits and Restrictions
As an extra layer of safe gambling, when you play at any online casino in Ontario, you will have the option to set limits on your gameplay. You can set values for how much you allow yourself to win or lose. Once you go over that threshold, the website will restrict you from playing.
Aside from this, most online slot machines from popular providers also come with similar features built into them. So, before you start playing, you can set these win/loss limits to control yourself and avoid losing additional money.
There’s another way to easily adopt responsible gambling Ontario style. What’s that, you ask? Well, thanks to the enforcement from the authorities, all licensed websites have to offer a self-exclusion feature. As part of this, you can choose to take a break from gambling for as long as you want.
The reason why this feature is so effective is because there’s no way to revert it. Once you’ve chosen to exclude yourself, there’s nothing you can do to play at that casino site anymore. The only option is to wait out the exclusion period.
Helpful Tips for Responsible Gambling in Canada
Sometimes you need some external help. That’s why we’ve come up with this list of tips that can help you with responsible gambling in Ontario. Let’s see what you need to do.
- Set a Budget - The easiest and most effective way is to set a budget for your gameplay. By deciding on an amount that you want to spend for the day, you can limit yourself to a great extent. This approach ensures that you don’t waste any more than you can afford to.
- Avoid Gambling when Drunk or Emotional - Typically, when we’re under the influence of alcohol or emotionally overwhelmed, we tend to lose the ability to make the right decisions. That’s why we must stay away from gambling during these times. Whenever we sit down to play a casino game, we should remember to do it with a sound mind.
- Never Chase Losses - One of the common mistakes that most players tend to make is trying to win to recover from a loss. We noticed this was more prone among beginners. The outcome in gambling is completely random which is why there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to recover from your loss if you keep continuing.
- Take a Break - While taking a break might seem counterproductive, it’s actually much better than falling into the clutches of gambling addiction. We feel that if taking a break helps you practice responsible gambling; you should definitely do it. When you come back after a break, you experience a much better time getting to enjoy safe gambling.
- Remember the Odds - Before you start playing a game, you should remember to check the odds and get a realistic expectation of how often you can win. It’s important to understand that you’re not going to win all the time. Taking that into account when coming up with a betting strategy is a crucial part of safe gambling.
Get Help If You Can’t Stop
Sometimes, it can become too difficult to stop if you find yourself stuck deep enough in problem gambling. There are several gambling help Canada resources that you’ll be given access to from the casinos. You should consider using those channels to help yourself get over your problem gambling habits.
How to Get Help for Problem Gambling?
There are so many options to choose from if you ever need to seek help for your gambling behaviour in Ontario. We want you to have access to these resources should you ever find yourself in such a situation. That’s why here’s a list of the places where you can visit if you ever need help:
Responsible Gambling Council (RGC)
The RGC is a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing problem gambling and promoting responsible gambling practices. They offer resources, research, and education programs to support individuals, families, and communities.
If you want to get in touch with RGC, you can submit your issues through the contact form on their website, https://www.responsiblegambling.org/. You can also call them at 1-416-499-9800.
This is an initiative from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. They provide information and resources to promote their Responsible Gambling Ontario campaign. They operate within OLG gaming sites and online platforms, offering tools like self-assessment, tips for betting limits, and information on local resources. Visit https://www.playsmart.ca/ for more information.
PlaySmart has put together a list of signs to look out for when it comes to yourself, or a near and dear:
- Do you gamble to escape your other problems?
- Do you gamble longer than you planned?
- Do you miss things like work, school, or family events because of gambling?
- Do you gamble with money reserved for important things like your rent, bills or mortgage?
- Do you ever borrow money to gamble with or to pay off gambling debts?
- Have you ever promised to stop but continue gambling anyway?
- Do you experience mood or personality changes when you gamble?
- Do you have thoughts of being self-destructive because of gambling?
Answer yes to one or more questions and you should consider seeking help, or atleast be more aware of you gambling habits.
This organization acts as a helpline and online directory to help individuals with problem gambling to resources helping with mental health and gambling addictions. If you’re ever in need of gambling help Ontario, be sure to call 1-866-531-2600. You can also visit https://www.connexontario.ca/en-ca/ and find more ways to connect with them.
How Do We Know It Helps?
It’s not us who’s making the claims that responsible gambling helps work. We’re only able to do it after checking with different research and case studies that have been conducted. Let us introduce you to some of them.
RG Plus and Playtech Report
RG Plus is an independent responsible gambling consultancy. They’ve partnered up with Playtech, a software provider. The collaboration between the two organizations uses real data and produces insights to come up with new ways to enforce responsible gambling within Playtech’s games.
RGC’s Super Bowl Study
RGC recently conducted a study on the Super Bowl to understand gambling behaviour during the event. The study aimed to find valuable information to find patterns that could indicate problem gambling behaviour.
For example, in a study conducted during the last Super Bowl, found that four out of 10 sports bettors decided to place a wager on the final event. It’s nearly 42 percent of the entire population. Comparing this with the other findings, it’s easy to establish a pattern of problem gambling.
Prevention Insights Research
This is a research initiative focused on understanding the factors that contribute to gambling-related harm. This helps to develop effective prevention strategies. This research provides evidence-based insights into the prevention of problem gambling. Using this, the industry has been addressing the issues for a long time.
Tools to Block Gambling Sites and Apps
Sometimes you need to stop completely and if self exclusion is not enough you can use other tools. Here we present a couple of the more well-known blockers, and where to find them.
- Gamban - https://gamban.com/
- Betblocker - https://betblocker.org/
- Net Nanny - https://www.netnanny.com
The main authoritative body for responsible gambling in Canada is the Responsible Gambling Council (RGC). It’s a non-profit organization that has been helping gamblers with their habits for the past 40 years.
Given the way, the government is structured, the responsible gambling laws and practices all fall under the provincial government. So, the same authority that looks over Ontario, won’t be the same in Quebec or any of the other provinces.
With more than 18.9 million total gamblers, more than 304,000 gamblers were classified to have risks with problem gambling. That is less than 2%. According to a study conducted, these players were classified as having moderate to severe issues with gambling addictions. So no, gambling is not a problem in Canada, but can be a huge problem for the individuals.
All gambling activities are overseen by the Ontario Lottery and Gambling Commission.
While there are several, the most popular ones are self-assessment tools, self-exclusion features, and setting winning/losing limits. All of which you find when playing at a casino.
Yes, OLG licenses and regulates all gambling establishments in the province.
While there are many ways to do it, one of the most effective ones is to take a break. By walking away and recovering, you can come back with renewed enthusiasm and a better attitude to practice safe gambling.
By now, you should have a clear idea about what responsible gambling is and how it works. We’ve tried to show you some of the ways that you can be more aware. Gambling should always be enjoyed. But everything has its limits, which is why it’s so important to recognize those.
If you ever need help, never hesitate to use one of the helpline numbers and reach out. Should you start to develop a problem, it’s better to nip the problem in the bud than wait for it to blossom completely.