Overview of Responsible Gaming and Our Responsible Gaming Policy
Millions of people enjoy gambling online responsibly and without issues every day. At the same time, there are a small number of people who have issues with additive behavior, or are not able to enjoy gambling without encountering problems.
Here at IsOnlinePokerLegal.com we take these issues seriously, and only deal with poker site operators that take a proactive stance towards caring for problem gamblers.
What Does Responsible Gambling Cover?
While the effects of gambling addiction are main focus of responsible gambling, the concept is much wider than this. Responsible operators also ensure that the 18+ age restriction is enforced, making sure that children are not able to play for real money online. ‘Know Your Customer’ standards are also part of this. When you get asked to provide Id documents with your deposit or withdrawal, the poker sites are protecting both you and themselves against fraud and money laundering.
You will find more detail on all of these areas, plus some related information below.
#1 – Responsible Gaming and Gambling Addiction
Protecting vulnerable players is vital to ensuring that online poker remains healthy and legitimate. Many sites offer self-exclusion programs, and ways to limit the amount that players deposit. It is possible for players that feel they have gambling issues to ban themselves from poker sites.
Sites should also ensure that they offer links and phone numbers to organizations which can assist with problem gambling. There are several of these around the world, including GamCare in the UK and National Problem Gambling Helpline in the US. Here are the contact details for them:
GamCare (UK). GamCare is the UK’s government funded hotline for problem gambling. You can speak to trained experts confidentially on the phone. Face-to-face counselling is also offered. You can contact GamCare at www.gamcare.org.uk or phone them on 0808 8020 133 (inside the UK).
National Problem Gambling Helpline: This nationwide helpline is for US based gamblers. This centralized helpline can advise you and also put you in touch with local services as required. This hotline is available to all 50 states – plus Canada and the US Virgin Islands. Text and chat services are offered along with the phone line –everything is 100% confidential. You can call 1-800-522-4700 or access them via www.ncpgambling.org
If you are unsure of whether you or a loved one show any signs of problem gambling, you can find a self-assessment questionnaire at the UK based GamCare site.
Problem Gambling is Not Always Clear-Cut
Since many problem gamblers do not know that they have issues, it can be worthwhile taking a self-assessment test. This covers the common thought patterns and behaviors linked to problem gambling. If you know someone who displays some or all of the following characteristics, or do this yourself, then it is worth seeking help before your issues get out of hand.
- Spending more money gambling than you can realistically afford
- Losing interest in other activities, for example turning down social invitations to play poker
- Constantly thinking about gambling
- Lying about the amount you are playing, or hiding this from other people
- Borrowing money to pay for gambling
There are several more related factors, including becoming irritable or angry when a friend or relative questions you about gambling.
Sites which have responsible gambling policies will have processes to protect underage gambling from occurring. This will often be tied with the ‘KYC’ (know your customer) requests for identification.
Protection from Fraud
Many players find requests for documentation intrusive. In fact, these are vital steps in the responsible gambling process and should be welcomed by players who want to enjoy poker in a clean and fraud-free environment. By ensuring back-up documents are needed, the poker sites prevent credit card fraud becoming endemic. This in turn allows them to offer bonuses, promotions and a safe place to enjoy online poker. The KYC part of responsible gaming also protects genuine players from the effects of money laundering.
When players request a cash out, sites should process these promptly, and not set unrealistic minimum limits on what can be withdrawn. By doing this, responsible poker sites build trust and ensure that players are happy to deposit with them moving forward.
Delays with withdrawals should be seen as a red flag for online poker players. Long delays often indicate issues with liquidity or problems with payment processors.
In online poker games, decks of cards are shuffled using ‘Random Number Generators’. This is powerful software which uses external sources to ensure that the deal is completely random and fair. As much as some players complain about this area, billions of hands of online poker have been dealt at the major sites with no sign of biased deals.
Fair sites will have their RNG software externally tested, and will display a link or badge indicating this on their homepage. There are many 3rd party organizations which carry out these tests. Examples to look out for include eCogra and iGaming Labs.
For a list of articles covering poker sites which adhere to responsible gaming standards, check out our main Poker Sites page.