Since we are not an online casino that offers real money games, we do not offer any player protection tools that minimize gambling harm. However, responsible gaming is important, and we guide players to the best online casinos and provide valuable information about online casino gaming.
This is why we need to tell our readers everything about problem gambling and how to gamble responsibly to minimize the risk of gambling harm.
What Is Responsible Gambling?
Responsible gambling is gambling in a way that keeps you entirely protected from gambling harm. When you gamble responsibly, you have fun. You are in complete control of your finances and emotions and know exactly when to stop.
When you do not gamble responsibly, you are not having fun. You are not in control of your finances, emotions, or gambling sessions. You have either become a problem gambler or developed an addiction to gambling.
Gambling is a form of entertainment for most players, a harmless way of spending their free time and money they can afford to lose. Responsible gamblers know that the house always wins in the long run. They understand that the onus of staying safe from the harmful consequences of gambling is on them.
Licensed online casinos are required by law to protect their customers from gambling harm. They have to inform and educate their players about responsible gambling, problem gambling, addiction to gambling, and other related subjects.
Top-rated online casinos offer gambling management tools, also known as player protection tools, to help players gamble responsibly and stick to their budgets. Also, the best online casinos get into partnerships with non-profit organizations, so that problem gamblers and those at risk for gambling harm get the required help and support at the earliest possible.
When we recommend online casinos for NJ players, we check for licensing and support for responsible gambling. The Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) in New Jersey has licensed our recommended NJ online casinos. They have strict gambling laws, and to retain and renew their license, online casinos licensed by DGE have to maintain robust and responsible gambling policies.
Gambling Harm – Are You at Risk?
When players start gambling, they are confident they can control their gambling activities. However, the simple truth is that all players are at equal risk for gambling harm. If you are not careful, you can lose control over your casino spending and become either a gambling addict or a problem gambler.
Here is a list of people at risk for gambling harm:
Family History – If someone in your family is a problem gambler or a gambling addict, your chances of experiencing gambling harm are higher. Family environment, genetics, and history have an essential role in determining the risk for gambling harm.
Starting Early – People who start gambling early in life are at higher risk for gambling harm.
Medical Conditions – If you have certain medical conditions, you risk experiencing gambling harm. For example, research has shown that the risk of becoming a problem gambler is seven times greater for players with Parkinson’s disease.
Why You Must Admit It
If you feel that you have become a problem gambler, the first step to overcoming your problem is to come forward and admit it. Start by talking to your friends or family members about it. You may have become a victim of gambling harm because of specific unknown emotional or psychological issues, and it is time you become aware of those.
Unfortunately, gambling addiction remains unseen for a long time. Friends and family members do not notice that someone is addicted to gambling until it is too late. That is why you should never keep your gambling activities a secret. Bring it out into the open and talk about it so that someone can help you if you suffer from any of the negative consequences of gambling.
Problem Gambling – What Causes It?
Several research studies have been made on the causes of problem gambling and gambling addiction, but no one knows precisely the exact cause of problem gambling behavior.
We have already pointed out that family history, genetics, early gambling, and pre-existing medical conditions have an essential role to play. However, one cannot say for sure that these cause problem gambling.
Studies have shown that people become problem gamblers because of their emotional or psychological issues. Most of the time, they are also struggling with addiction to alcohol or drugs. Your family history and genes may also develop impulsive behavior or addictive disorders.
We can safely conclude that people become problem gamblers because of a combination of social, hereditary, psychological, and biological factors.
Signs of Problem Gambling
How do you know that you or someone you know has become a problem gambler? It will help if you stay alert for the following signs. The moment you notice the following signs in you or someone you love, you have to get the required help and support.
• You gamble away money you cannot afford to lose. In other words, you use funds saved for essential things such as education, medical expenses, groceries, and others for gambling.
• You spend work or study hours gambling. Instead of going to school/college or work, you log into your online casino or visit a land-based casino.
• You cannot stop playing. You keep chasing your losses in the hopes of winning.
• You have heated arguments about gambling and finances with friends and family members.
• You are no longer interested in regular life. You stop spending time on hobbies, going out with friends, or interacting with family members.
• There is only one thing you can think of — gambling.
• You try to hide your gambling activities from friends and family members.
• You try to solve your financial problems with gambling.
• After spending all your money on gambling, you steal, borrow, or sell your assets to fund your gambling activities.
• Paying your bills on time is no longer critical.
• The need to bet more significant amounts of money and play for longer sessions increases.
• You are no longer interested in studies, work, family, friends, or even your personal requirements.
• You get worried, guilty, nervous, irritable, and depressed.
How to Handle a Problem Gambler
Problem gamblers and gambling addicts are usually on the defensive. They refuse to accept that they have a problem. However, the journey to recovery begins only when they realize and accept that they have developed specific problematic gambling behavior patterns that are interfering with their life.
Usually, friends and family members are the first to notice signs of problem gambling. When they raise the subject, the problem gambler vehemently denies it and claims that he/she is in complete control over his/her gambling activities.
Taking up the responsibilities of helping a problem gambler is no easy task. You need to avoid being judgemental. Instead, you must communicate with the person in an understanding and positive way. If you have a problem gambler in your life, talk to him/her using sentences that start with “I” instead of “you.”
Here are a few examples:
“I want you to understand that I love you very much, but I am worried that what you are doing is not good for you.”
“I have observed that you are not having a great time these days, and I am worried about it. I am your friend, and I want to help you.”
“I love you a lot, and I am worried about you because your activities are risky and scary. Perhaps you know what I am talking about.”
When you use sentences that start with “I,” there are greater chances of the problem gambler opening up and accepting that he/she may have a problem. As far as possible, avoid confronting the problem gambler as it will make him/her withdraw into him/herself, making it very difficult for anyone to help him/her.
Once you use “I” sentences and get a person talking, listen to him/her without interrupting. Avoid getting emotionally involved and stay calm as long as your conversation with the problem gambler lasts.
Do not accept any explanation or apology for problem gambling, but stay calm and understand the issue. If you feel that a friend or family member has become a problem gambler, do not lend him/her any money as this could worsen the issue. Instead, gently guide the person to getting professional problem gambling help, counseling, and support.
Problem Gambling Support in New Jersey
The website of the Division of Gaming Enforcement provides valuable information about problem gambling in New Jersey.
Problem gamblers or friends and family members of problem gamblers can approach the following services for support: