What is ‘Responsible gaming’ and do online casinos need it?

Dec 5, 2018 Artyom Ustinov
Many casinos specify in their rules that gambling is intended for fun and entertainment purposes, not for earning money. However, you most likely know some cases when a compulsive gambler could not cope with passion, made more bets and slot spins, hoping to hit a jackpot any minute, and lost all their money completely in the end. This kind of addiction is called “gaming disorder”, and it will probably be included in ICD-11 (International Classification of Diseases, the international standard maintained by World Health Organization).

Such occurrences should be eradicated—or even better, prevented in the first place. Therefore, all of the jurisdictions oblige licensees to have a “Responsible Gaming” section, in which online casinos declare their willingness to help gaming-addicted users, protect minors from gambling and give access to information about money spent. All these tools are designed to help people suffering from addiction and prevent vulnerable groups (young people, people with a propensity for gaming addiction) from getting into gambling.

Frankly speaking, some online casino operators sincerely think that since gaming is people’s own choice and no one forces them to gamble, why stop them? This is, however, a cynical attitude. Behind each gambler there are broken lives, harmed relationships and oftentimes sold property. That’s exactly why all online casinos should show social responsibility and provide full support to those who became addicted. Let’s consider in more detail what measures responsible gaming consists of.

Self-exclusion and banning minors

Any user who has problems with gaming may contact the casino support service requesting to block their account temporarily (e.g. for several months, for half a year) or permanently. If the gambling platform is a part of an online casino group, this ban applies to the all that group’s casinos. When the exclusion period ends, the player can access their account again.

Spotting underage users is a rather non-trivial task, especially if the user himself does not want to disclose his true age. How do casinos detect people under the age of majority (18 in most countries)? At the registration stage a 15-year-old teenager may enter ‘40’ in the Age field and successfully create an account.

Let’s even assume he managed to make a deposit using a highly anonymous payment method (e.g. Bitcoin or prepaid cards). After a series of wins, a child wants to withdraw the funds, but at this phase a special tool comes in, designed to filter out minors (although, unfortunately, it is not 100% effective). A user must be verified: they have to send in bank and front of their credit card (with some numbers hidden, of course), a copy of ID/passport or driver’s license and an utility bill to provide proof of address. In most cases, minors drop out at this stage. This way online casinos show their social responsibility, protecting a person, who otherwise would have quite a chance of becoming a gambler, from gaming.

Open statistics and setting limits

A casino which adheres to social responsibility policies never hides game statistics. A user can see how much money they have spent in the current session or since their registration, and also how much time they have spent playing. If necessary, that player can set a maximum spending limit per visit or for a certain period of time—all by himself. When the chosen limit is reached, the casino, using software methods, no longer allows the player to make bets or deposits. It should be noted that this tool is designed more for those users who can still fight addiction on their own, because in severe cases a gambler just spends everything to the last penny and doesn’t even think about any limits. Nevertheless, this tool still works successfully in a lot of online casinos.

Publishing links to special resources

Responsible online casinos urge those who cannot overcome their gaming addiction to visit special online resources designed to help gamblers. Usually, at the bottom of each page there are several icons linking to GamCare, Gamblers Anonymous and other organizations. In general, these are communities of gamers with similar problems who psychologists and doctors are trying to help. There you can take a test that will assess the degree of your addiction. Such kind of assistance tends to be pretty effective and efficient (according to those sites), and there are links to them in almost every online casino which adheres to social responsibility policies.


The “Responsible Gaming” page is a requirement of license holders, and all online casinos must comply with it. Some jurisdictions—Malta, for instance—are tightening the rules of advertising, forbidding them to post stories of lucky people who won big. No matter how much a gambling operator wants to attract more clients, regardless of their age and potential propensity for gambling, online casinos must help players who have problems and allow only adults to play, thereby showing social responsibility and respect for today’s market’s rules.
Artyom Ustinov

Artyom is Head of White Label & Turnkey Solutions and has been working in complex B2B/B2C sales, as well as business development and management consulting in iGaming for more than 10 years.

Together with the Key Account Management Team, he has helped over 100 start-ups and experienced gaming companies to launch their projects with SoftGamings.

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