The Importance of Gambling Responsibly

Since the Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on sports wagering in 2018, access to both mobile and retail (in-person) sports betting has spread rapidly across the United States, a trend that will continue in the coming years. While we at earnestly believe sports betting is a safe, engaging form of recreation when conducted responsibly, we are also quick to acknowledge the ease with which sports betting can be abused, and the severity of the potential consequences when it is. As such, Dimers' team strives to educate all current and potential sports gamblers on the risks of irresponsible gaming, and to facilitate access to the ever-growing list of resources available to those who need them, which means both gamblers and their loved ones.

What is Responsible Gambling?

The first step towards responsible gambling is understanding what it means to gamble responsibly. While this may seem obvious, even self-evident, it's anything but. As access to legal gambling has spread across the US and new gambling products have constantly been introduced to an ever-growing group of users, some of the fundamental tenets of responsible gambling have inevitably slipped through the cracks. As a starting point, it's critical gamblers review and abide by the following principles, though we want to be very clear that responsible gambling is not limited to the points below:

The fundamentals of responsible gambling:

  • Set limits on how much money and time you spend gambling, and stick to those limits.
  • Take the time to understand every bet you make, including its odds of success and failure, as well as potential losses and payouts.
  • Don't gamble when you're stressed or upset.
  • Don't gamble if you have a history of addiction.
  • Only gamble with money you can afford to lose, which means never gambling with money that you need for something else.
  • If you think you might have a problem with gambling, seek help immediately. There's always someone there to help.

What is a Gambling Problem?

Like every category of problematic behavior, gambling problems come in many forms, which amplifies the importance of staying vigilant and honest with ourselves about our gambling habits. For example, gambling addiction is defined by the uncontrollable urge to gamble, even when you realize gambling is negatively affecting you and the people you love. While that sort of severe gambling problem may be easy to spot, some are more subtle, yet can still lead to grave consequences and rapid escalation. To be sure you're not engaging in problematic gambling, carefully review the list below, all of which behaviors and characteristics may indicate a gambling problem:

Indicators of a gambling problem:

  • Your gambling leads to negative outcomes for you and/or your loved ones.
  • You take extreme measures to find gambling money, including borrowing.
  • You gamble with money you need for something else.
  • Your gambling results in neglecting responsibilities to your family, friends, or work.
  • You have a history of addictive behavior and/or mental health issues.
  • You lie about gambling.
  • You use gambling to escape problems or relieve stress.
  • You see gambling as a form of income.
  • You have the constant urge to gamble
  • You feel irritable or anxious when you're not gambling.

Resources for Gambling Problems

While it is impossible to know how many people struggle with irresponsible gambling, largely due to the stigma around asking for help, current estimates suggest that as many as 6-9 million Americans have some form of gambling problem. Further, the National Center for Responsible Gambling estimates that 1% of the US population has a severe gambling problem, a figure that may look small at a glance, but translates to over three million people. Though no human being can be reduced to a statistic, it's nonetheless critical to keep these numbers in mind if you suspect that you, or someone you love, may have a problem with gambling. Not only do the stats shed light on the breadth of the issue, they remind us how many people have experienced what you're going through, and how many more are offering help.

Learn if you have a gambling problem

There are many terrific resources available for anyone who is either struggling with a gambling problem, or suspects they might be. If you fall into either of these categories, a great first step is to reach out to any of the services below to seek more information:

Gambling Self-Exclusion Programs by State and Sportsbook

For those who have determined they have a severe problem with gambling and wish to take immediate action, one of the most efficient, effective options is registering for voluntary self-exclusion from gambling in your state of residence. Put simply, self-exclusion means adding yourself to a list of people that are not permitted to gamble in your state. Your state government is responsible for maintaining and distributing this list to all licensed gambling operators, saving you the leg work and indignity of conducting this process yourself, and creating a significant barrier to entry should you find yourself tempted to fall back into old habits.

Below are links to the state-run self-exclusion programs currently available across the US. Please note that some states do not run their own self-exclusion programs, but do require betting operators to give patrons the option to self-exclude.

State-Operated Self-Exclusion Programs:

In addition to state-run self-exclusion programs, most major casinos and sportsbooks offer the same service. Below are links to the self-exclusion programs operated by most major sportsbooks across the US. For self-exclusion programs at a particular casino, we advise you to speak with the staff.

Sportsbook-Operated Self-Exclusion Programs:

Gamblers Anonymous

Another great resource for those struggling with gambling problems of any severity is Gamblers Anonymous. Not only is GA available for free across the entire United States, the community-oriented support system the program provides has proven indispensable to countless people with gambling problems for years. Further, as the name suggests, Gamblers Anonymous offers its members complete anonymity, saving them from concerns of being unfairly stigmatized within their communities. The links below can help you learn more about the program, as well as finding meetings both locally or online.

Strategies for Responsible Gambling

We consider it our responsibility to educate all gamblers or potential gamblers on the tenets of responsible gambling, to ensure that as many players as possible experience the enjoyable, low-impact relationship with gambling that Dimers' services are intended to facilitate. With this in mind, below you'll find information on strategies employed to great success by myriad responsible gamblers both in the US and worldwide. 

Set Gambling Limits

Setting limits before you start gambling is a crucial element to playing responsibly, not to mention one that's increasingly easy to implement, given that more and more sportsbooks are providing users the ability to set all limits in all three of the categories described below.

  • Deposit Limits—These are limits regarding how much money can be deposited into a sports betting account. Typically, deposit limits are set for a specific period of time, for example, daily, weekly, monthly, or annually.
  • Wagering Limits—Limits on wagering are quite straight forward, and include capping the total amount of any given wager, capping the quantity of wagers a player can make over a given period of time, and capping the dollar value of multiple combined wagers over a given period of time. 
  • Time Limits—Setting time limits on the duration of your gambling may not be as intuitive to casual players; however, this can be a critical measure when your recreational gambling habit begins to eat up larger swaths of time, a warning sign highly correlated to developing a gambling problem.

Each of the major sportsbooks below allows users to set limits on their accounts. The specific options for account limits vary by sportsbook, and you can learn more by following the links below.

Responsible Gambling References:

  1. The National Council on Problem Gambling: The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) is the national advocate for programs and services to assist problem gamblers and their families. The NCPG also works to raise public awareness about problem gambling and responsible gaming, and provides a comprehensive database of resources available for problem gamblers in every state.
  2. Gamblers Anonymous: Gamblers Anonymous, commonly referred to as “GA,” is a twelve-step program that provides support and guidance to those who struggle with compulsive gambling. A fellowship of men and women who share their experiences, strengths, and hopes with each other, GA is completely free, offersing in-person, virtual, and phone meetings across the entire United States.
  3. International Center for Responsible Gaming: The International Center for Responsible Gaming (ICRG) is the nation's only private, non-profit organization dedicated solely to researching, analyzing and advocating responsible gaming policies and practices. The ICRG is a great resource for education on both problematic and responsible gambling.
  4. The National Association of Gaming Regulators: The National Association of Gaming Regulators (NAGR) is a non-profit organization comprised of state, provincial and tribal gaming regulators. It is dedicated to the advancement of responsible gaming, the uniform enforcement of gaming laws and regulation, and the protection of the public interest. If you believe you have been victimized by a casino, sportsbook, or other betting operator, the NAGR is a great place to start.