Come across our experts’ motto: gambling is a fun way to spend time and must be treated as a fun entertainment only.
We personally know players who easily get carried away and find it difficult to control their impulsive behaviour when gambling. If you’re such a player, check this article from the WithCasinoBonus team dedicated to our responsible gambling policy. You’ll find here a lot of trusted resources that will help you to enjoy healthy gambling without additional risks.
Having full control over your addiction takes time, professional treatment, and knowledge. Players who don’t have it end up crossing their own boundaries, chasing losses, and going down a nasty rabbit hole. We’re here to help you, so keep reading.
Symptoms & Signs of Gambling Addiction
Just like other recognised addictions, there’s a fine line between gambling and being addicted to gambling. The perfect example is a person who continues wagering even after realising that things are dangerously not going his way.
Needless to say, these scenarios require immediate professional help. That’s why we’ll be going through the early signs and symptoms of gambling addiction:
Obsession with Gambling
An obsession with gambling is a pretty clear sign that something isn’t right. If someone you know is constantly talking about gambling, be it their past experience or future endeavours, they may be suffering from gambling addiction. Gambling is the only thing that can get their dopamine up and running, and it’s an issue that’s only going to keep growing until a person receives professional help.
Obsession with gambling is closely related to building tolerance. We’re referring to players who keep craving bigger and bigger wagers, as if they completely lost their sense of money. Mind you, they’re not far from it – gamblers who’ve built up their gambling tolerance are known for acting totally irrationally with their hard-earned cash.
Inability to Quit
The real struggle begins when the player realises he’s suffering from gambling addiction and there’s no simple way out. He may be fully aware of the issues the addiction continues to cause. He’s trying his best to do a cold turkey and quit gambling once and for all, but all it takes is the smallest of relapses to get back at square one.
Feeling Anxious When Not Gambling
Another clear sign of gambling addiction is the feeling of restlessness and irritability that’s present when trying to quit. The reason behind the irritability is the lack of that good old feeling of “thrill”. Gambling addiction is much more than a stubborn habit. In other words, folks who are suffering from gambling addiction only have peace of mind when they’re gambling.
Using Gambling as an Escape
Some of us gamble just to forget about their daily routine. We may use gambling as a defensive mechanism that helps them forget personal issues. It’s also a coping mechanism to combat feelings of guilt, anxiety, and even depression. For these players, gambling seems like the only way of escaping their reality, and it often results in even bigger issues.
Trying to Recover Losses
Trying to recover losses never goes well. It even has a jargon name online aka chasing losses. It represents a tendency to keep on wagering more and more money hoping to break even. However, as you’ve probably guessed, it doesn’t end that way. It ends with serious financial issues that take months and even years to resolve.
Hiding the Habit
Another way of noticing gambling addiction is if the person tries to hide the habit. Problem gamblers tend to be professional liars, continuously denying their vice and never admitting how much they’re actually gambling. If you’ve ever found yourself in a position where you have to lie to your friends and family about your gambling habits, you might have a problem.
Risking Important Aspects of Life
Gambling addiction starts slowly but can develop into a life-changing issue endangering your family, relationships, and career. An affected person doesn’t think much about the outcome until it starts destroying relationships and causing hefty financial problems.
Finances are an issue that typically affects most problem gamblers. Troubles with money and even debts can lead to serious complications with the life situation. Mindlessly chasing losses is the usual trigger for all of this. It’s the first step to serious financial issues, so never allow yourself to succumb to the pressure!
How to Become a Responsible Gambler
Just because gambling disorders exist doesn’t mean you should avoid gambling at Canadian casinos altogether. There are ways you can gamble responsibly, without risking becoming addicted, endangering your relationships, and putting yourself in financial difficulties. Learn about gambling and responsible budget management for starters.
Set a Budget
The first piece of advice for gamblers is to set a budget. Your budget is basically the money you’re comfortable losing. You’re free to set it either in a weekly or a monthly fashion. We don’t recommend doing daily budgets, especially if you’re just starting out. Of course, once you’ve set your budget for the week/month, you must stick with it.
Set a Time Limit
If budget limits aren’t working for you, perhaps time limits will. All you need to do is determine a fixed amount of time to gamble each day/week/month. That’s the easy part, though. The difficult part is not exceeding the limit. Good news, though, Canadian casinos we recommend have responsible gambling systems that won’t let you exceed the limits you’ve set up.
Understand the Game
If you want to be a responsible gambler, make sure you understand what you’re getting yourself into. No matter what game you’re playing, get to know its rules first. Even if we’re just talking about slots which you can’t really control. You can still learn how the scatter and wild symbols work and how to trigger bonuses and jackpots.
Don’t Chase Losses
We already discussed what chasing losses brings to the table. Long story short, you must never give up to the pressure of chasing your losses. One of the biggest factors in becoming a responsible game is learning to accept that losses are simply a part of the game. Blind efforts of chasing them will only result in even worse financial issues.
Don’t Borrow Money to Gamble
Here’s our golden rule of responsible gambling – don’t borrow money to soothe your gambling cravings! That’s one of the worst things you can do, and a clear-cut sign you already have a much bigger problem to deal with. In other words, only gamble with your own money. More precisely, only gamble with the money you’re comfortable losing.
Never Gamble Under the Influence
Gambling while under the influence of alcohol and drugs may seem OK, but we recommend never even getting started. If you don’t have strong character, the substances in your body will impair your judgement and hinder your decision-making. Playing a few rounds of slots won’t be the end of the world. But if you’re in it to win it, never gamble under the influence!
Balance Gambling with Other Activities
It’s possible to get addicted to gambling if it’s the only form of entertainment you consume. If all you think and dream about is gambling, you might already have a problem. Take your mind off it and invest your time in other activities. The world is full of entertainment besides gambling.
Use Tools Provided
Online casinos in Canada offer all sorts of responsible gambling tools for free access. The most popular are GamBlock, BetFilter, and GamBan. These offer players an intuitive way of limiting gambling time or budget. According to your input, these tools will restrict your gameplay and prevent you from chasing losses.
Realise It’s Not a Way to Make Money
If you’re playing in casinos just for the money, you better run and never come back. Sure, you could win big every now and then, but the house always has an edge over you. The more you gamble, the bigger the house edge becomes. You need to understand that gambling is not a good way to make money.
Seek Help if Needed
Perhaps the most important piece of advice here is not to be afraid or ashamed to seek help. Professional help is oftentimes the only way individuals can properly address their addiction. Luckily, numerous organisations provide support for gambling addiction. It’s a life-changing moment, but one you have to be ready to embrace.
Best Self-Restricting Tools for Gambling Addiction in Canada
As mentioned earlier, online casinos feature various Responsible Gambling tools. This includes support of GamBan and BetFilter. It effectively prevents players from accessing online casinos and placing bets.
Responsible gambling tools are the lifehack for understanding which casinos are fair. Brands that take good care of their players and reputation typically support all sorts of self-restriction tools. We’ve chosen the best tools that have effectively helped tons of Canadians by our experience.
GamBan is a special tool for people who are having difficulties staying away from online casinos. It offers a multi-layered approach that ensures a user can’t access any legal gambling website on iOS and Android devices. GamBan currently offers a 7-day free trial, which means now is the best time to try it out.
BetFliter offers roughly the same service as GamBan. It’s catered toward bettors who are facing a difficult time with bets. It essentially blocks access to licensed online sportsbooks and casinos. The tool is totally discreet after installation, so you won’t be able to uninstall it before the licence period ends.
GamBlock is another similar piece of software used for blocking access to gambling sites. The team behind is using multiple sophisticated systems for preventing users from accessing and bypassing their software. If you’re a tech-savvy person who could break through with VPNs or DNS alterations, GamBlock will still come out on top.
BetBlocker is a completely free piece of software that works on Windows, iOS, and Android devices. It comes in the form of an auto-running app that prevents access to gambling sites. The installation takes less than 2 minutes and you won’t even have to register to start using this Responsible Gambling tool.
NetNanny is inherently different from all tools we mentioned before. It’s a general blocking tool that helps parents keep control over their kids’ browsing activity, blocks unwanted websites and apps, prevents location tracking and access to gambling websites. The latter is the reason why NetNanny is on our list. If you want an all-in-one tool for the job, NetNanny seems like the best choice. Also not that obvious as gambling-focused apps.
Where to Seek Help in Canada: All Services and Their Contacts
Canadian media always puts a massive emphasis on all sorts of problematic behaviours and addictions. Rarely did we see a country go the extra mile to ensure its countrymen have adequate helplines and institutions where they can get professional care 24/7.
We’ll be going through the most notable institutions and hotlines that support problem gamblers. If you or someone you know needs help, don’t hesitate to seek it right away.
ConnexOntario is a completely free and 100% confidential helpline for problematic gamblers. It’s available at 1-866-531-2600 and aims to provide help, information and referral services for problematic gamblers or people who are experiencing challenges with other addiction and/or mental health issues. If you’re not ready to give them a call, check out the ConnexOntario website for more details.
Gamblers Anonymous (GA)
We’re sure you’ve already heard about Gamblers Anonymous, more commonly known as the GA. It’s an organisation that’s popular across the Western world, tackling issues like alcoholism, debt, alcohol, and more. They’re all based on the twelve-step program that aims to resolve problematic gambling and other addictions. GA meetings take place all across Canada, so make sure you visit the official Gamblers Anonymous website for more details.
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
The CAMH is another important institution that provides numerous resources for people that struggle with gambling addiction. CAMH offers several services, including assessment, interventions, outpatient services, residential treatment, and many more. If you’re interested, make sure you contact them at the toll-free 1-800-463-2338 that’s available at any time of day and night, 24/7.
Problem Gambling Helpline
If you’re from Canada, you shouldn’t have trouble finding confidential helplines that provide immediate relief to problematic gamblers. Check these contacts:
- British Columbia Problem Gambling Information and Referral – 1-888-795-6111
- Manitoba Gambling Helpline – 1-800-463-1554
- New Brunswick Problem Gamblers Hotline – 1-800-461-1234
- Ontario Problem Gambling Helpline – 1-888-230-3505
Canadian Partnership for Responsible Gambling (CPRG)
CPRG stands for Canadian Partnership for Responsible Gambling. It’s a combination of non-profit organisations, research centres and regulators that work together to tackle the biggest issues associated with problematic gambling. Its primary goal is to reduce the risks associated with problematic gambling by raising awareness, providing help, and supporting gamblers seeking help at every step of the process.
Credit Counselling Services
Commonly known as CCCS (Consumer Credit Counseling Services) is in charge of finding solutions to tricky financial problems, many of which are directly related to problematic gambling. CCCS’ services are based on financial education, teaching about debt management plans and assisting gamblers with their short-term and long-term budgeting.
Responsible Gambling In Canada: FAQ
What is responsible gambling?
Responsible Gambling is a set of initiatives that raise awareness of the dangers associated with gambling. Not only does it exist to raise awareness, but also to promote certain policies and tools for self-exclusion, reality checks, and banking restrictions.
What should I do if I have gambling issues?
The first step of the process is admitting to yourself that you have a problem. The next step is seeking out professional help, be it online or through therapy sessions.
How can I stop gambling?
If you don’t have enough willpower to gamble responsibly, it’s common to give up to the addiction. Gambling is an officially recognised addiction, so it’s a must to seek professional help right away.
Are there any GamStop self-exclusion programs in Canada?
In Canada, there’s no universal self-exclusion program that works for all licensed operators. These days, every licensed casino has its own self-exclusion tool that helps players curb their playtime and expenses. If you’ve noticed your spending has increased, self-exclusion programs ought to come in handy.
How can I check if I have a gambling addiction?
If you think you or someone you know might suffer from gambling addiction, try to use the Gambling Addiction Assessment tool. It provides a series of questions and aims to help you understand where you (or someone you know) are at the moment and whether or not it’s time to seek professional help.