Responsible Gambling at Online Casinos in Ontario - A Detailed Review
Avid Canadian online casino and sportsbook players who enjoy online gambling activities at reputable, safe, and trustworthy online casinos and sportsbooks often come across a variety of responsible gaming tools. When it comes to responsible Ontario gambling, legal online casinos and sportsbooks have to utilize certain responsible gaming practices, and one of these is the Ontario gambling helpline which we will discuss in detail in the following sections. In the following sections, we will also discuss different Ontario problem gambling organizations that do their best to prevent underage gambling and make sure that everyone can benefit from setting deposits, betting, and other limits.
The truth is that all licensed and legally operating online casinos and sportsbooks have stringent rules and regulations to follow, and one of these requires implementing responsible gambling tools to protect players' wellbeing. Being offered responsible betting tools is essential to stay on the right track and keep your finances in check. Not betting safely and responsibly can easily land players in a world of issues, including financial struggles. Needless to say, these can be very devastating, which is what the Ontario gambling helpline and Ontario problem gambling agencies and organizations want to prevent.
The importance of responsible betting practices and policies goes way beyond making sure that players have all the right tools and resources to avoid betting debt and other financial issues. Responsible gaming organizations involved in the Ontario iGaming market also aim to keep your wagering habits and activities at a safe and acceptable level by educating you on all the different dangers that come hand in hand with problem gambling. Many of these are very hard to notice, especially if you are a beginner.
Further in this responsible Ontario gaming page, we take a look at the most prominent responsible gambling organizations in the industry, the most useful iGaming tools you get to use to stay on the right track, the most successful Ontario problem gambling organizations, and different safety rules and practices that legally operating online casinos and sportsbooks in Ontario must adhere to.
Why Are Responsible Gambling Tools and Organizations Important?
We have already briefly touched on this, but let's see why responsible gaming organizations and tools are so important in today's thriving iGaming market. As you know, online gambling is an excellent way to rewind when you have some spare time. Online wagering is also one of the most convenient iGaming options out there to potentially collect some big winnings and boost your online wagering budget. It is all fun and games until someone finds themselves in crippling debt while struggling with an online gambling problem.
Get The Help You Need
Those who struggle with addiction are in need of professional help and this is where the Ontario gambling helpline and similar organizations come in very handy providing all the needed resources and help struggling individuals desperately need to leave that vicious cycle of betting addiction as winners. Nobody is immune to struggling with problem gambling, even those who are well-familiar with how problem gambling works. This is why it is extremely important to have different responsible gambling tools at your disposal to keep you away from betting urges that doubtlessly can easily creep on you.
Tools Will Protect You
Essentially, responsible gambling tools help keep your betting habits and iGaming spending in check. Responsible wagering tools also help you avoid all the different harms and issues that arise among problem gamblers. Ontario problem gambling organizations have many objectives and different responsibilities, and one of these includes the protection of players who are more susceptible to developing an online gambling problem. Underage gambling prevention is also yet another objective of the Ontario gambling helpline and similar organizations.
A Safe Environment
In addition, responsible Ontario gambling organizations are focused on creating a safe online wagering environment for every Ontario gambler. This is done by utilizing responsible gambling tools of different kinds. Essentially, every responsible gambling organization's main goal is to offer tools and resources to iGaming fans to combat the inherent addictive nature of online gambling. Considering the fact that Ontario is home to a legal iGaming market, all legally-operating online casinos and sportsbooks must employ responsible betting tools the right way to prevent problem gambling among their customers.
What is Gambling Addiction?
Now that you know all about the importance of having responsible gambling tools and organizations at your disposal, let's briefly examine what gambling problem is and how it usually manifests. If you check out the official Ontario gambling helpline page or any other safer gambling website, you will come across the same definition of gambling addiction.
The Urging Thrill
In the simplest terms, gambling addiction is defined as the uncontrollable and disorderly urge to engage in betting activities despite all the different negative consequences and harms that it brings. This is the most common definition of problem gambling or gambling disorder. Gambling problem can also be thought of as a gambling behaviour that leads to a variety of societal, financial, and mental issues.
Takes a Toll
Individuals who struggle with gambling disorders are not capable of managing their betting urges. Even when their online gambling habits take a toll on their lives, gambling addicts cannot control their wagering urges. Similar to drug addicts and alcoholics, gambling addicts are willing to compromise their mental health and relationships with their family and friends in order to satisfy their urge to wager.
Moderate Your Fun
For most people, laying a bet is a fun and harmless form of entertainment. According to a report by KFL&A Public Health, the Ontario problem gambling rate stands at around 0.4% and 0.8%. According to the same report, between 2% and 3.4% of Ontario players are moderate-risk gamblers. The report also suggests that problem gambling is more common among younger generations and individuals with a lower socio-economic status. Now, let's see how to recognize if you, or someone you know, struggles with a gambling disorder. Educating yourself is crucial for preventing harmful wagering, so make sure you know these symptoms and signs.
Ontario Gambling Helpline: How to Recognize If You or Someone You Know Has a Gambling Problem?
If you check out the official website for the responsible Ontario gambling organization or Ontario gambling helpline, you will find sections with tips for recognizing problem gambling behaviour and habits. There are many signs that suggest someone is a problem gambler.
Some of these are most subtle than the others, hence harder to recognize. What follows are some of the major symptoms and signs of iGaming problem or compulsive gambling you should definitely familiarize yourself with. If any of these apply to you or somebody you know, make sure you take further steps, and the most important one is seeking professional help.
Keep in mind that seeking professional help in these cases is nothing to be ashamed of but a sign of willingness to better yourself and your life. Seeking professional help may be the hardest thing to do, but this is one of the most important steps toward getting out of the vicious problem gambling cycle.
- Social Isolation: Isolating from friends and family by spending time gambling online or visiting sportsbooks and casinos.
- Inability to Control Gambling Urges: Not being able to control gambling urges even when it takes a toll on your life and causes a whole range of issues.
- Gambling Preoccupation: Ignoring work and family responsibilities and loss of interest in hobbies and everything else that does not involve wagering.
- Spending More on Gambling: Increasing the amount of money spent on gambling to experience the same thrill or recoup lost money.
- Problems at the Workplace: These may include skipping work, lack of motivation and concentration, and difficulty completing work tasks.
- Lying about the Money Spent on Gambling From Friends and Family: This causes other issues with friends and family members.
- Depressed and Irritated Behaviour: Many problem gamblers experience irritation and depression when gambling.
- Aggression: Many problem gamblers become aggressive when they are losing and this behaviour is usually accompanied by physical symptoms, such as anxiety, stomach aches, and headaches.
- Risking Close Relationships: Problem gamblers experience issues with friends and family as well as co-workers due to their excessive iGaming activities.
These are just some of the many other signs and symptoms of problem gambling. It is important to know that there is a big difference between a casual and a compulsive gambler. Many problem gamblers try to cut back, control or stop their iGaming activities altogether but without much success. Casual gamblers can stay on the right track by setting limits- they can stop betting when on a losing streak. For a person struggling with a compulsive gambling disorder, the urges are too strong and compelling to just stop.
When losing, most compulsive gamblers want to keep playing in order to recover their lost money. Some even turn to fraud and theft to keep playing, and this is the biggest sign of iGaming problem.
If you know anyone who exhibits this behaviour, make sure you tell the person all the different signs that you have noticed. Make sure you listen and be there for the person. If you notice any of the signs in yourself, seeking professional help is the best and only way. Fortunately, there are a variety of valuable responsible gambling tools that may prevent you from finding yourself in need of professional help.
Ontario Problem Gambling Solutions: Most Useful iGaming Tools Found in Ontario
As you can imagine, every legal online casino or sportsbook market has its own set of responsible wagering rules and regulations. The Ontario iGaming scene is no different. The vast majority of responsible gaming organizations in Ontario recommend players use different safer iGaming tools to limit their iGaming activities, and these are listed below.
One of the most commonly available responsible gaming tools at online casinos and sportsbooks in Ontario is the deposit limit. In most cases, you can set daily, weekly, and monthly deposit limits and by doing so, you limit the amount you can deposit at your chosen online casino or sportsbook in a day, week, or month. Unlike deposit limits set by online casinos or sportsbooks, setting your own deposit limits is voluntary and optional.
Time limits are also commonly available at online casinos in Ontario. Time or session limits, refer to the maximum length of time you can spend wagering at your chosen online casino or sportsbook over a predetermined period. Most online casinos and sportsbooks let you set time limits between one and eight hours in a twenty-four period. Either way, setting a time limit is an excellent way to avoid spending too much time on betting.
Next, we have loss limits which are also valuable tools for limiting your iGaming activities. Loss limits refer to the maximum amount you can lose over a predetermined time period. Essentially, loss limits are designed to limit the losses players can potentially suffer during their iGaming sessions at online casinos and sportsbooks.
Time-out or cool-off tools are also extremely valuable, especially for newbies and vulnerable players who may be more susceptible to all the different dangers of problem gambling. When you use a time-out feature at your chosen online casino or sportsbook, you voluntarily suspend your wagering activities for a shorter time period, usually one month.
Self-exclusion options are very similar to time-out or cool-off tools, but self-exclusion involves a longer suspension. When you self-exclude yourself from wagering at an online casino or sportsbook, the operator must close your account, as well as return any funds you may have in your account. Self-exclusion is usually a longer suspension that lasts at least six months.
Responsible Ontario Gambling Helpline and Other Key Safe Gaming Organizations in Ontario
The Canadian iGaming scene has quite a few different responsible gambling organizations in place. Some of these are based in Canada, while others are internationally governed bodies. Regardless of their location, every responsible gambling organization has the same business model, responsibilities, and goals, as you will learn in the following section.
Gamblers Anonymous is one of the most successful responsible gambling organizations, not only in this province but in many other key iGaming markets. Gamblers Anonymous is primarily active in the UK but it also serves Canadian customers. The organization was founded in 1964 by two men, who, for many years, struggled with problem gambling. Their chance meeting led to the formation of one of the most successful organizations of this kind.
It is also interesting to note that the very first Gamblers Anonymous group meeting was held in 1957, which was over five decades ago. In 1964, the organization was officially recognized, and the rest is history. The organization operates from its Doncaster office. The only requirement to become a member of the Gamblers Anonymous program is a desire to get back on the right track and stop wagering at online casinos. The main goal of the organization is to help struggling individuals by offering free resources and most importantly- a support system that makes a huge difference.
Canadian Partnership for Responsible Gaming
Next, we have the Canadian Partnership for Responsible Gaming, and this is one of the strongest safer iGaming organizations in place today alongside the Ontario Gambling Helpline, which we will discuss as well. As mentioned on the official website of the Canadian Partnership for Responsible Gaming, this is a network of several different organizations that work together in order to encourage safe and responsible gambling.
The organization's main office is located in Toronto, Ontario. The idea of creating a network of different organizations with the same goals and objectives was born in 2001 when the Responsible Gambling Council decided to sponsor a forum that brought together a massive group of like-minded people who wanted to better the Canadian iGaming scene by making it a safer place for everyone.
The Responsible Gambling Council is one of the network's key members, alongside the Atlantic Lottery, Liquor Gaming and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba, Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission, Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation, Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries, Loto-Quebec, Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority.
Responsible Gambling Council (RGC)
Another very successful organization that focuses on responsible gambling practices and policies is the Responsible Gambling Council or RGC. The Responsible Gambling Council has an office in Toronto, Ontario. The organization has been active in Canada for over twenty-three years, and over the years, its main goal never changed, to be one of the leaders in problem gambling prevention in Canada. Judging by its impeccable record, the RGC does not fail anyone.
Just like other organizations of this kind, the Responsible Gambling Council exists with the purpose of preventing betting-related harms and ensuring that everyone is aware of the risks and dangers that problem gambling inevitably brings. The RGC also works very hard on educating individuals about the importance of creating sustainable and safe betting habits and benefits.
The RGC is also very much involved with online casino and sportsbook operators. It provides advisory and training services for online casinos and their employees. As for its support aimed at players, the RGC provides the much-needed community support, alongside free resources needed for minimizing all the risks involved in wagering.
When discussing responsible gambling organizations that help tirelessly every step of the way, we also have to mention OLG PlaySmart. OLG PlaySmart is the ultimate source for facts, tools, and advice related to betting. Unlike other organizations we discuss here, OLG PlaySmart is specifically created to assist players residing in Ontario. The website is packed with free tools and the resources you need, to keep your gambling habits in check.
PlaySmart is a responsible gambling program launched by OLG, which is the main governmental agency in Ontario that manages and conducts all different sorts of gambling facilities, including lotteries, bingo games, online casinos, and even charitable gambling centres. The program was launched in 2016 and its main goal is to protect and educate players.
On the official PlaySmart website, you have access to deposit, time, and other responsible gambling tools. The website also shares different online casino winning strategies and tips for boosting your winning odds. There is also a section with free recourse that can help you extend and keep your betting sessions more fun. With different PlaySmart tools, you can gain more insight into your iGaming habits, and needless to say, this is crucial when it comes to safer, responsible gambling.
Responsible Ontario Gambling Helpline
The Ontario gambling helpline is yet another key player in the Ontario iGaming market, and you will soon understand why. If you're looking for information about different gambling treatment centers and resources available in Ontario, contact the Ontario gambling helpline at 1-888-230-3505. The Ontario gambling helpline is an awesome referral service that guides individuals struggling with iGaming addiction or problem gambling in the right direction towards receiving professional assistance.
Essentially, when you call the Ontario gambling helpline, you get in touch with a friendly customer care agent who will ask you about your iGaming habits in order to recommend you the best treatment centres and resources which fit your individual needs. The Ontario gambling helpline is funded and supported by the Ontario Government.
Next, we have Connex Ontario, an excellent organization promoting responsible gambling practices and principles. Connex Ontario also has a confidential and free helpline service you can easily reach at 1-866-531-2600. It should be noted that the service is available around the clock. You can also get in touch with Connex Ontario representative via Live Chat and email.
Connex Ontario came into existence in 1991, in Ontario. Connex Ontario, just like most other safer iGaming organizations, is supported by the Ontario Government and Ontario Health. They provide easy access to valuable information on iGaming and other forms of addiction.
The organization works closely with the Ontario Telemedicine Network, Metrolinx, OPP, and Health Connect Ontario to ensure everyone receives the very best health advice from highly qualified and experienced healthcare professionals. As mentioned on the official website, Connex Ontario provides free information on problem gambling treatment facilities, as well as free access to self-help groups and distress centres.
For urgent help, contact any of these organizations through their hotline numbers:
Responsible Gambling Practices and Rules All Legal Ontario iGaming Sites Must Follow
In this section, we briefly go over all the different responsible gambling practices, rules, and regulations that both online casinos and online sportsbooks licensed by the Ontario Alcohol and Gaming Commission must follow.
As mentioned on the official website of the Ontario Alcohol and Gaming Commission under the Responsible Gambling section, all online casinos and sportsbooks that are licensed by the agency must provide their customers with accurate information and materials about the dangers of problem gambling. Legal online casinos and sportsbooks also must provide their customers with additional resources. According to the Ontario Alcohol and Gaming Commission, legally operating online casinos and sportsbooks must provide all needed information about setting deposit limits, as well as their self-exclusion programs. Licensed online casinos and sportsbooks also must include the Connex Ontario helpline number somewhere on their sites.
There is a very long marketing and advertising section on the official website of the Ontario Alcohol and Gaming Commission. This is not unusual considering the fact that advertising iGaming-related products are strictly regulated. As mentioned on the site, iGaming-related marketing, and advertising materials should not target self-excluded and underage individuals.
iGaming-related billboards and similar materials cannot be played near schools. Essentially, targeting minors in any form through marketing campaigns is strictly forbidden. It is also strictly forbidden to rely on misleading information when creating marketing campaigns, such as promoting iGaming as a way of achieving financial security. It is also forbidden to run marketing campaigns that encourage iGaming as a way of recovering past financial losses.
Casino brands in Ontario cannot run marketing campaigns that guarantee big winnings and make false promises. It is also important to note that marketing materials that relate to bonuses and promotions are also strictly forbidden unless these are related to legal lottery terminals or OLG's sites.
Here are some important rules set by the AGCO to ensure responsible gambling.
- Identifying and Assisting At-Risk Individuals
Legally operating online casinos in Ontario are also tasked with identifying problem gambling habits and activities among their customers. In addition, they are also responsible for assisting struggling individuals by offering free resources as one way of assistance and guidance. Offering responsible gambling tools is another form of helping at-risk players. In addition, legally operating iGaming sites must promote at least one responsible gambling organization on their sites.
- Employee Training
All individuals and casino staff members working behind the scenes directly interacting with players must receive professional training from an approved employee training program. Different casino training programs are specifically designed to teach staff members how to interact with customers, identify vulnerable individuals, and most importantly, how to interact with people who show signs of vulnerability and problem gambling.
- Self-Exclusion and Breaks in Play
All licensed Ontario iGaming sites, including online casinos, and online sportsbooks, must employ an optional self-exclusion program. Essentially, all registered players should have the option to suspend their accounts for a longer time period. In addition, online casinos should remove their self-excluded players from their mailing lists, so that they do not receive any iGaming-related promotions during the suspension. Self-exclusions should last at least six months.
- Game Design and Features
Game features and designs should not be misleading in any shape or form. Games offered by legally operating online casinos or sportsbooks should not give players the perception that their skill or speed of play impacts the outcome. Game features should not change between sessions, and the same goes for the rules. Games should not include any subliminal messages and present winning amounts that are inaccurate. It is also important to note that demo-play games should not display misleading information, such as winning real prizes.
- Limit Setting Features
Legally operating online casinos and sportsbooks also must offer their customers limit-setting options, and these include deposit limits or loss limits. Customers should be offered an obvious and easy way to set time-based and financial limits during the process of registration and at any point after creating their accounts. These options must be readily available, easy to find, and easy to set. Licensed online casino or sportsbook operators cannot eliminate or change financial and other limits set by customers without their knowledge or without their request.
Problem Gambling Tools Offered by Popular Ontario iGaming Sites
In this section, we briefly take a look at responsible gambling tools you get to use at the most popular online casinos in Ontario. Remember that these are all brands licensed by the Ontario Alcohol and Gaming Commission, so you can rest assured that they comply with all the safer iGaming rules and regulations we discussed in the previous section.
Registered players at BetMGM Casino can easily self-exclude themselves from playing here, as well as set daily, weekly, and monthly deposit, betting, and loss limits. DraftKings Casino customers are treated the same way. In other words, setting time, betting, and deposit limits is possible. DraftKings Casino also has a self-exclusion program that works flawlessly. Two other great iGaming platforms in Ontario, LeoVegas Casino and Party Casino, also take care of your wellbeing by offering self-exclusion, cool-off, and deposit limit tools. Unibet Casino and many other licensed online casino or sportsbook operators in Ontario have similar problem gambling programs in place.
Ontario Responsible Gambling Organizations vs International Organizations
The most successful safer iGaming organizations in Ontario, including Connex Ontario, offer loads of free resources to individuals struggling with problem gambling. Similar resources are also offered by many international organizations, such as the International Center for Responsible Gambling. However, unlike Connex Ontario, the ICRG does not offer a 24/7-accessible helpline.
In fact, not many internationally operating organizations offer this kind of support. Other than this, most responsible gambling organizations in Canada and those that operate internationally offer the same resources, guides, and counselling groups.
- Which authority is responsible for setting responsible gambling rules and regulations in Ontario? The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario is responsible for setting and enforcing responsible gambling rules and policies for online casinos in Ontario.
- What kind of safer iGaming tools are offered to Ontario players at popular online casinos? Ontario iGaming fans are usually offered deposit and betting limits, alongside cool-off and self-exclusion tools. Some online casinos and sportsbooks also offer players the opportunity to set time limits.
- What are the most prominent safer iGaming organizations in Ontario? The most prominent safer iGaming organizations in Ontario are Connex Ontario and the RGC.
- How do I set financial and time limits at online casinos? You can set different time-related and financial limits during the process of registering for an account. You can set deposits and other limits after accessing your account settings on the online casino site or app.
- Which safer iGaming tools licensed online casinos and sportsbooks in Ontario must offer? Licensed online sportsbooks and casinos in Ontario must utilize a self-exclusion program and offer deposit and time limits.
With so many responsible gambling organizations actively working in Ontario, it is safe to assume that promoting safer and responsible gambling practices is paramount for all legal sportsbooks and casinos online. The AGCO is also a huge promoter of responsible gambling and the same is true for every online iGaming brand out there licensed to operate in the province. With this being said, every single gambler has all the resources necessary to minimize the risk of developing a gambling disorder, and this makes a huge difference.