Canadian Online Casinos: Responsible Gambling

An online casino should be fun and games, and indeed for most Canadians, it is! However, for a small percentage of players, it becomes an obsession that leads to destructive behaviour. This is why most online casinos have a section dedicated to responsible gambling. Online gambling is meant to be entertaining, and it's important to understand that it's impossible to win all the time. Online casino games involve a high degree of chance, usually determined by a random number generator (RNG). There is no strategy to consistently beat the house when playing online casino games. However, since anything can happen over the short run, it may still be possible to win, which is part of its appeal.

Identifying a Gambling Addiction

When gambling stops being fun, this can be a sign of gambling addiction. Sometimes the symptoms may be challenging to recognize. However, there are several questions you might want to answer honestly if you suspect a gambling problem:
  • Does gambling leave you depressed or suicidal?
  • Do you turn to gambling when frustrated, disappointed or after an argument?
  • Do you continue gambling until you have lost all your money?
  • Do you play to win back the money that you lost?
  • Do you gamble when you should be working or studying or simply bored?
  • Does your gambling last for long periods?
  • Do you borrow, steal or lie to maintain your gambling habit?
  • Do you hide your gambling losses or the amount of time you spend gambling?
  • Does your gambling take precedence over your family, friends or other hobbies?
  • Have others criticized you for your gambling?
  • When you've lost all of your money, do you become despondent?
  • You can find several online websites that offer resources to help you diagnose a problem.

Setting Limits to Maintain Control

Sometimes we think we know our limits when in fact, we don't. Going beyond our limits can often be harmful to our physical health or mental well-being. Most reputable gambling sites will help you take control of your gambling by setting daily, weekly or monthly limits. Time Limits: Controlling the amount of time spent gambling is a good way of protecting your mental health. Deposit Limits: Players can set a deposit limit to reduce the amount of money at risk. They can typically lessen the limit immediately. However, raising the deposit limit requires a cooling-off period of a few days. Loss Limits: Players can reduce the maximum amount of their loss.

Closing your Account Temporarily and Account Self Exclusion

Taking a break from an online casino can be a good thing. This can even mean closing your player account for a while. When you're ready to come back, you can reopen your account and continue from where you left off. Putting yourself on a self-exclusion list is more forceful since the online casino will not permit you to change your mind afterwards. Canadians can set the period of self-exclusion at the casino. This usually means sending an email to customer support. Self exclusion only applies to the casino that you're playing at. Unfortunately, there is nothing to stop you from playing at another online casino. The self exclusion OLG website works on a similar process to offshore online casinos. Self exclusion is a way to take a break from a casino:
  • It gives you a chance to repair your damaged relationships, health or finances.
  • It helps you take back control.
For example, the OLG.ca website in Ontario offering online casino games will allow you to self exclude for 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 years. During this time, you will not be able to log in. At the end of the period, you may extend the self exclusion period further. If you want to join a self exclusion list, you can get in touch with a casino's customer support.

Gambling Counselling

If you feel that you have lost control and self-exclusion is no longer a practical option, talking to a qualified person may help. For example, Gamblers Anonymous is available in several locations in larger Canadian cities. These include Edmonton, Calgary, Fort McMurray, Vancouver, Burnaby, South Surrey, Winnipeg, Kitchener/Waterloo, Toronto, Ottawa, Moncton, St. Johns, Halifax and Charlottetown. You can also chat online or phone toll-free. The Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) was set up to prevent problem gambling both in Canada and internationally. It works with regulators, operators, families and players to offer valuable support and resources. Players from every province can find toll-free helplines.

Closing Words

Unfortunately, it is sometimes possible to have too much of a good thing! When gambling online, consider the reason why you do so. If the answer is anything other than fun, you may be at risk of gambling addiction. Remember that there are resources online to help you identify negative patterns. If you catch them early enough, it's possible to get yourself back on the right path. Set limits to manage the amount that you can lose and the time you spend. Take a break – grab a coffee at Timmies, go for a walk or visit friends. There is so much more to life! If you have the discipline, close your account for a while. If you find that difficult, you can also self exclude, so the casino will not allow you to log in. Finally, when all else fails, don't be shy about reaching out for help. There are responsible gambling helplines and other resources to assist you.

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