Responsible gambling is the term often used at casinos. You will find this term often written at the bottom of home page of any online casino at the footer. Responsible Gaming is a concept that gaming and gambling operators, software suppliers and associated service providers need to uphold to ensure their offerings uphold the highest standards to ensure a fair and safe gaming experience that protects players from the adverse consequences of gaming and gambling. The majority of gambling and gaming codes now require operators to ensure land-based and online gambling services are offered in a responsible manner.
Responsible gaming covers the areas of protecting vulnerable players, the prevention of underage gambling, protection against fraudulent and criminal behaviour, ensuring information privacy, ensuring prompt and accurate customer payments, delivering a fair gaming experience, upholding ethical and responsible marketing, commitment to customer satisfaction and ensuring a secure, safe and reliable operating environment.
Responsible gaming is now more important than ever. However, it is also important to note that there is more than one side or aspect to responsible gaming. The responsibility lies with both the online casino as well as the person who chooses to play at the casino.
Areas covered in Responsible Gambling
1. Problem gambling
Problem gambling refers to those players that are vulnerable to slots machines and keep on playing and losing their hard earned money. To stop problem gamblers as they are called the casinos have introduced help and measures to prevent such onset of problem gambling, including self-exclusion programs and processes, offering advice and support to problem gamblers and allowing players to set limits as to how much they spend both within online and land casinos.
The Canadian Partnership for Responsible Gambling is a collaboration of non-profit organizations, gaming providers, research centres and regulators working to find and promote effective ways to reduce the risk of problem gambling.
2. Underage gambling
Responsible gambling also involves that casinos or gaming operators do everything within their means to ensure that underage customers are not allowed to gamble. The age restrictions are dependent upon the laws in the jurisdiction where the gambling services are offered. Preventing underage gambling requires operators to ensure that registration processes clearly outline policies towards underage gambling and to ensure controls are in place to verify the age of gamblers. As a Canadian you should be over 18 years of age to play casino games. For more information on how to implement a filter to block gaming websites from any underage persons, the following sites should be considered:
3. Fraudulent and criminal behaviour
Operators are required to implement anti-money laundering policies and procedures. This involves implementing effective know your customer processes when taking on new customers and tracking and reporting any suspicious transactions. That is the reason maybe that when withdrawing your winnings you need to send the casino your valid ID proofs and other such documentation.
4. Information privacy
Information privacy refers to the protection of customer data and records against unauthorized or unnecessary disclosure. Online casinos are required to implement policies that ensure controls and measures are in place to prevent unauthorized disclosure and use of players information such as their name, address, age, telephone number and email address.
5. Prompt and accurate Players transactions
Responsible gaming also means that casinos ensure acurate payments to and from player accounts and conduct according to formal and documented processes in an accurate and timely manner. Casinos typically ensure that customer funds are managed separately from their own accounts and that they have sufficient cleared funds to pay all player prize wins and outstanding player balances.
6. Fair gaming
Fair gaming means that all gaming products should be tested to ensure they are fair and random and that they adhere to the rules of that game. Testing to ensure fair gaming is increasingly carried out by independent organisations like there are third party auditing firms like eCOGRA and Technical Systems Testing that specialize in this kind of work. Their job is to go into the casino software and make sure that the casino’s house edge is accurately reported in the payout percentage. This number tells Canadian gamblers, in the long run, how much money they should expect to receive on any given bet. This number accounts for all kinds of game, bonuses, and jackpots.
7. Ethical and responsible marketing
The casinos should comply with the relevant regulatory advertising codes of practice which typically ensure that advertisements are factually correct and do not target underage or vulnerable gamblers, such as players who have self-excluded themselves from gambling. It is also expected that operators should seek permission from the players prior to engaging in direct marketing through use of the player’s personal details.
8. Player satisfaction
Responsible gambling also means that players should be able to freely make comments or complaints to online casinos and expect gaming authorities to have in place adequate processes and procedures to deal with complaints, either internally or via an independent third-party. For example, ecogra.org provides a mediation service for disputes between players and operators.
9. Secure, safe and reliable gaming environment
Online casinos are required to demonstrate internal controls and processes that adhere to the licensing conditions as stipulated by the regulatory jurisdiction that issues gaming and gambling licenses. Internal controls should also be implemented to ensure that all casinos, payment and technical systems and processes operate securely and effectively. In addition, casinos need to demonstrate adequate business continuity management procedures to ensure that operations can continue in the event of unforeseen circumstances or disasters.
10. Responsible gaming codes of conduct
To ensure casinos, software suppliers and associated service providers uphold the principles of responsible gaming, codes of conduct have been developed by numerous regulators, trade associations and non-profit organisations. These competing and overlapping codes of conduct or standards have evolved over time due to the evolution of multiple legal and trade frameworks.
It has been acknowledged within the industry that given the large number of responsible gaming codes of conduct there is a need to step back and re-assess what is required within the industry.
The eCogra at online casinos
eCOGRA is the most well-recognised of all online casino regulatory bodies and is arguably the most powerful one based in Europe as one of its founding members happens to be Microgaming, the oldest and most respected online casino software provider in the industry.
Choosing an online casino with the eCOGRA logo on its homepage, such as the ones on best Canadian online casinos is a good way to ensure that you are indeed playing at a reputable online casino. Another way to double-check an online casinos eCOGRA certification is to actually go to the eCOGRA website, just to be sure that the online casino isn’t just using the logo to lure in unsuspecting players.
eCOGRA holds audits on a consistent and regular basis with all of the casinos that have applied for membership with the body. This helps to ensure that all of eCOGRA’s regulations and guidelines are continually enforced. They must employ Random Number Generators in their software. Also these online casinos must offer fair and correct payout percentages to players and allow access to this information They need to allow fair and proper access to players winnings (withdrawals). All eCOGRA online casinos also ensure that their casinos employ the latest digital security platforms such as SSL (Secure Socket Encryption) software to guard the safety and privacy of their player’s sensitive information including banking and personal details.
Therefore as a player you need to check the above things before signing up to any online casino. So double-check certification on their online casino and don’t just take it for granted that an online casino is legitimate simply because it displays recognised regulatory body logos.
What you should do to play responsibly
It is not only a matter of being able to recognize a reputable online casino and knowing what to look for, it is just as important to be aware of the possible dangers that can be associated with gambling. Gambling can be addictive and it can be destructive and knowing how to avoid these potential dangers or how to get help is just as important.
- Always sought for a responsible gaming environment and play at reputable online casino
- Check the casino credibility as will the casino be able to make fast payouts or not. There are many fraud online casinos where once you’ve deposited your money, you will never be able to withdraw anything from them.
- Another important consideration is who you give your personal information and banking details to, there are many scams online designed to look like legitimate operations.Therefore read the casino reviews of reputed online Canadian casinos before playing.
- Find whether the online casinos is legitimate licensed and regulated by industry recognized body or not. As these licencing gaming authorities monitor online casinos within their jurisdiction to ensure that everything operates according to strict guidelines. Major online casino regulators are eCOGRA: e-Commerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance; IMGSC: Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission; LGA: Lotteries and Gaming Authority; OSGA: Off Shore Gaming Association; GRA: Gibraltar Regulation Authority and KGC: Kahnawake Gaming Commission.
- Avoid fraud and illegal casinos that are usually classified as such based on certain types of conduct which can include withholding players winnings based on flimsy reasons, misleading marketing tactics such as bonus offers that don’t actually exist, closing player accounts for no reason while the players still have funds in them and so on. These rogue casinos are blacklisted after several complaints have been issued regarding their behaviour.
- You should limit yourself in playing and avoid long period of gambling sessions. There are many online casinos that offer self exclusion period and so if you want to avoid gaming for a period of time say for six months or more you can just contact the casino customer support and they will lock your casino player and financial account for that period to control your gambling. Access to any funds which are in the account of the player will be subject to the casino’s terms and conditions. Usually, no promotional material is sent to the player by any means while they are on the self-exclusion period. The account can only be reopened after six months at the player’s request – the casino will not contact the player with a reminder.
- Also have limits to your bank roll and stick to it. You need to fix a certain amount for playing and do not exceed beyond that and stop depositing for gambling. This way you can monitor your gambling habits and set deposit limits which will help curb the amount you spend at any given time.
Finally if you are addicted to gambling or have formed a habit by playing slots then note that this is a serious problem or a disease which effects not only the addicted but also your families, work and other aspects of your personal lives. As with the ease of technology these days you can access instant casino games right from your smartphone sitting at your office, bedroom or any place of your choose making you vulnerable to problem gambling. You can read more about responsible gambling and signs that there may be a problem at a variety of institutions, including here at the Canadian Safety Council. If you think that you or someone you may know has a problem there are a variety of hotlines available on Canadian Safety Council website that you can contact. You can also visit British Columbia Responsible and Problem Gambling program or Canadian Partnership for Responsible gambling for more information.