The principles of Responsible Gaming apply to many areas of gambling, including online casinos. Responsible Gaming aims to protect vulnerable players and ensure that casinos act fairly toward their clientele. The proliferation of online casinos has made it more important than ever that people are protected when gambling online, as unlike traditional land-based casinos, it can be hard to determine if the casino is legitimate.
But responsible gaming applies to more than just the service provider. Players also need to be aware of the pitfalls of problem gambling and learn ways to avoid being adversely affected. Here we’ll examine ways you can protect yourself when playing online, as well as exploring ways you can ensure you play responsibly and within your means.
Online Casino Safety and Reliability
How Do I Know If a Casino is Safe or Not? Many people wonder about the security of their money and information when playing online, and rightly so – as you’ll read below, there are many unscrupulous operators around. The best way to check the reputation of a site is to consult casino reviews, like those featured on this site, and also do look for seals of approval from regulators, like those outlined below. You can also consult our page about safe casinos for further information.
Who Monitors the Online Casinos? Different jurisdictions have various regulatory bodies that oversee online casinos and provide assurances to customers. The most well-known of these regulators is eCOGRA (E-Commerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance), which is based in Europe and provides standards and regulations by which member casinos must abide. eCOGRA conducts regular audits on its member casinos’ software and practices to ensure they fit within the guidelines.
The types of things online gaming regulators such as eCOGRA are monitoring are:
- Fairness of the software in respect to payout percentage and random number generators (RNG)
- Ability of players to access their money via withdrawals
- The security of player information, like identification and records
- Ethical marketing on the part of the casino in delivering what they promise
Most of the top online casinos (including our recommended casinos) have eCOGRA certification. If in doubt, check the casino’s home page to see if they have an eCOGRA logo (like the one to the right of the paragraph above). But don’t just stop there – make sure you click through that link to see that specific casino’s certification on the eCOGRA website.
Who Are The Other Casino Regulators? Whilst eCOGRA is the best-known online casino regulator, it certainly isn’t the only one. There are others, such as the Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA), the Off Shore Gaming Association (OSGA), and the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission (IMGSC).
However, there are some regulatory bodies that are nothing more than facades that don’t actually do any auditing or enforcement – they just look nice on the casino’s home page. Do your homework about the casino’s regulatory authority before trusting them with your money.
Rogue Casinos – How to Avoid Them
While most online casinos operate fairly and above board, there are some casinos that have had serious complaints made against them and have failed to adequately address these complaints.
Examples of the type of conduct that leads to a casino being blacklisted as a rogue casino includes conduct such as withholding player funds, closing of players’ accounts when they have money in them, and misleading advertising such as using bait and switch to draw players in.
To be labelled as “rogue”, a casino usually has one or more serious complaints made against it and has failed to address repeated requests from regulatory agencies to explain its actions.
For more information about the importance of security issues with online casinos please visit our secure casino guide.
How to Avoid a Rogue Casino: These types of casinos can be avoided by making sure the casino has been certified by a reputable gaming authority. As well as the bodies listed in the previous section, most jurisdictions that grant online casino licenses also have their own internal regulators. By ensuring you only play at a casino licensed in a legitimate jurisdiction, you will avoid risking your money or being misled by dishonest marketing.
For example, Gibraltar is one of the strictest jurisdictions in which to obtain a gaming license, and all casinos operating there are overseen by the Gibraltar Regulation Authority (GRA). Casinos operating in the Mohawk territory of Kahnawake are overseen by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC).
Do your homework on your chosen casino’s jurisdiction and regulators to avoid risking your money and identity at a rogue casino.
We also recommended you visit our black list of casinos – where we believe you should avoid playing at all costs.
Problem Gambling – What to Do?
Many Canadians are affected by the issue of problem gambling, which is an addiction to gambling that can affect one’s lifestyle and mental health. Online gambling makes this issue more prevalent, as it can now remain behind closed doors, with the person affected often keeping their problem from family and friends.
There is help for problem gamblers, with many organizations having been established here in Canada and elsewhere to deal with this problem. For example, the Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario has a 24-hour helpline you can ring to discuss your options, and they can recommend help closer to home.
- Call 1-888-230-3505
- Or visit: http://www.problemgambling.ca
Most online casinos, including all of our recommended casinos, take the issue of problem gambling very seriously, and are careful to monitor players’ behaviour, looking for patterns that may indicate a problem. They also offer options such as self-exclusion for players, either permanently or for a fixed period of time.
With Freedom Comes Responsibility: While technology has given us the freedom to enjoy things like being able to gamble from our own home, ultimately we are all responsible for our own actions. Final responsibility for our gambling habits rests with us.
Allowing one’s gambling to become a problem can affect not only our own life but the lives of people around us, so it’s important to be aware of the dangers when gambling online and to take steps to ensure your gambling does not get out of control. We can do this by noticing our mood while playing – if it’s no longer fun, that may indicate there is a problem. Also, we should ensure we always play within our means and never bet what we can’t afford to lose.
It is illegal for Canadians to gamble online if they are under age. The legal age differs between provinces, with 19 the most common. It is the responsibility of online casinos to ensure players are above the required age limit when creating an account and playing for real money.
As you can see, responsible gaming is not just the provider or the player’s responsibility, but rather it is up to everyone to exercise due care and behave responsibly. Online casinos have a responsibility to behave fairly towards their players in respect to handling funds and respecting privacy, while players have a responsibility to abide by the laws in their jurisdiction and exercise proper bankroll management.
All parties holding up their end will result in an open, transparent, and enjoyable experience for any Canadians wanting to play casino games online. If you stumble across a casino practicing unfair methods, we encourage you to reach out to us at [email protected] and tell us your story. We’ll look into the complaint and determine if a casino is worth “black listing.”