Responsible Gaming in Massachusetts

With the repeal of the federal ban on sports gambling, there are countless sportsbooks and casinos rushing to get in on the exploding player base, meaning gambling is undergoing a boom right now and that puts some players at risk. While many people gamble occasionally, or on a particular seasonal event, and are just fine, some people are tempted to gamble daily and that could present a risk of addiction. 

Sports betting, wagering, and casino betting can be exhilarating, but when proper self-control isn’t exercised, it can lead to a loss of self-restraint. When players lose their self-control and ability to regulate their own playing and betting, they can go down a spiral that is hard to get out of, which is why it’s important to try and prevent that from happening from the start. Responsible gaming is the practice of enjoying potentially addictive betting and gambling activities with a high degree of preventative measures and safeguards in place to ensure bettors don’t overextend themselves financially. 

What is Responsible Gaming?

Responsible gaming means taking regular and appropriate precautions to prevent yourself from gambling too intensely, spending too much time gambling, or spending too much money gambling on your particular game or games of choice. Gaming that involves betting can be alluring, and even small wins can be intoxicating, but making a small effort to protect yourself can save you a lot of trouble down the road.

Why Is Responsible Gaming Important To Gamblers?

Responsible gaming is important, particularly for gamblers, since it can help them to more fully enjoy their hobby without fostering an environment of compulsion or addiction. This will let gamblers indulge that part of their personality or vice cravings without causing a potentially dangerous or financially-destructive situation. When gambling can be managed as a simple hobby or indulgence, it won’t necessitate addiction treatment, which will usually require the discontinuation of all betting activities. 

Responsible Gaming Best Practices That Are Easy To Implement

Make Sure Your Budget Is Rock-Solid

A great first step to making sure you don’t get yourself in trouble with gaming is to set a budget. Never spend more than your budget, and never budget more than you can afford to lose.

Limit the Time You Spend Gambling

Spending too much time gambling, even with a set budget, can lead to habitual behavior. Habits that you spend considerable time on can become compulsions, and compulsions lead to addictions. 

Don’t Chase Your Losses

Loss chasing is one of the most serious behaviors to be on the lookout for since it can be one of the first signs of gambling addiction. Loss chasing involves constantly betting in the hopes of reversing your accumulated losses with a “lucky streak” or a “big win” that never comes. 

Enjoy the Small Wins

In every gambling situation, the house has the edge, so when you’re playing your aim should be to enjoy playing, not to win. This isn’t to say you won’t win, but they likely won’t be plentiful, so be sure you savor your wins, especially the small ones.

Try Not To Gamble As Part of a Routine

Gambling should be seen as a fun activity, not a normal part of day-to-day life. Make sure to keep gaming sporadic rather than doing it frequently.

Use App Functions To Limit Gambling

Most gambling apps have built-in functions that can be enabled, such as time limits and deposit caps, to prevent players from spending too much time or money on a given day or gaming session.

How Gaming Locations Promote Responsible Gaming

There are several ways that physical, brick-and-mortar gambling locations like casinos help promote an environment of responsible gaming. Some of the ways are self-imposed by the gaming facility, such as allowing players to set personal time limits, and prohibiting accepting wagers or bets from individuals that have become intoxicated. Other methods of helping to promote responsible gaming, such as advertising restrictions and age limits, are imposed by federal and state regulators.

Personal Gaming Time Limits

One way that gaming facilities help players to self-regulate their gaming habits is to allow them to impose time limits on their playing. This is a voluntary act, and it can help players that might otherwise spend far too much time on the casino floor, to maintain better time management, resulting in better wager control.

Cutting Off Intoxicated Individuals

Many betting locations will prohibit their staff from accepting bets from obviously intoxicated players. Once bettors have become intoxicated, they may no longer be capable of appropriate self-control and spending regulation. Not only can allowing intoxicated individuals to gamble lead to possibly addictive behavior and dangerous spending, but it can also create a liability issue for the gaming facility as well.

Minimum Age Requirements

One of the most popular ways to control potentially addictive behavior is to prohibit those from partaking if they are part of a potentially vulnerable subgroup. Those under the age of 21 are one of those groups, and in the US, an individual must be at least 21 years old to enjoy any gambling or betting activity where real money can be won. Those under the age of 21 are not capable of controlling potentially addictive behavior, such as betting, in the eyes of the law.

Strict Advertising Guidelines

Since there are such strict rules in place for prohibiting underage gambling, this also puts a significant restriction on how sportsbooks and casinos can advertise. Apps, websites, and casinos must abide by incredibly strict guidelines on how, where, and to whom they can advertise their services. This has been made somewhat easier with social media since advertising can be much more effectively targeted. 

Resources for Responsible Gaming Information and Support

If you are struggling with setting appropriate limits for your gambling, you may benefit from one of the resources available to help manage gambling habits and addictions. Someone finding it difficult to control their gaming habits is at a critical juncture, and they must get help before it is too late. The consequences of harboring an untreated gambling addiction can be incredibly severe, and if the player gambles daily, the consequences can compound quickly and can cause financial devastation.

Some of the resources available for gambling help include:

Enjoy Gaming Responsibly

Gaming in general, but specifically gambling, wagering, and sports betting can be an exciting experience, especially when you win. However, without sufficient safeguards in place, you may find yourself betting more and more money on an increasingly frequent or even constant basis, which can easily lead to a severe gambling addiction. Doing your part to make sure that you are gaming responsibly can help you ensure that you are able to keep enjoying being a player for as long as possible while keeping your finances and the rest of your life unaffected. 

About the Author

Amber Hoffman

Amber Hoffman is Managing Editor of MassachusettsCasinos.com. A recovering attorney, she's spent almost a decade developing and managing websites and writing for a variety of industries. Amber married into a Red Sox family and has embraced the Sox ever since.