There’s nothing more important when betting online than responsible gambling — it stands as the cornerstone of a safe and enjoyable betting experience. And the good news is that responsible online gambling is both easy to understand and to put into practice thanks to the variety of tools and resources provided. Read on!

Responsible gambling is simply about engaging in healthy gaming behaviors and mitigating potential harms associated with the activity.

On an individual and practical level, it is simply about making a conscious effort to maintain control over one’s gambling activities. This might mean ensuring you stick to a budget, avoiding betting more than you can afford to lose, never chasing losses, and never betting emotionally or compulsively.

From an industry perspective, it involves implementing policies and practices that would encourage safe behavior, and prioritizing the well-being of customers, including the use of responsible gambling tools.

If you think you could use some additional help maintaining responsible gaming behaviors, then most US sportsbooks offer a broad selection of tools to help you stay in control. We recommend taking advantage of the following:

Deposit Limits

This limits how much you can deposit over various periods of time, often ranging between daily, weekly and monthly deposit limits. Choose whatever best suits your budget.

Time Out Sessions

This tool allows you to voluntarily self-exclude from making bets or accessing gambling websites for a set period — typically over 24 hours, with your account being automatically restored. Ideal if you think you’d benefit from a cooling off period.

Self-Exclusion

Think of self-exclusion as a more extended version of a time-out, which can range from months and years, to permanent exclusion.

The rather fragmented nature of online gambling in the United States means that self-exclusion typically only impacts one specific operator. But for this to work optimally (as we’ve seen be successful through the likes of GAMCARE in the UK), a broader self-exclusion option that would prevent users from accessing as many operators as possible would be optimal for responsible gambling.

This doesn’t exist right now in the US. However, with seven operators (FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, Penn Entertainment, Fantastic Betting & Gaming, bet365, and Hard Rock Digital) coming together to form a responsible gambling council of sorts, such advancements seem likely in the future.

Right now, our only advice is that if you do feel the need to self-exclude, do so across as many gambling sites as possible, and seek help if you find yourself tempted to sign up to an alternative.

Wagering Limits

This is just like deposit limits except it limits how much you can wager over a set period of time. Therefore, it is especially useful if you have plenty of cash in your account and a deposit limit wouldn’t necessarily be that effective in encouraging responsible gaming.

Loss Limits

This prevents you from gambling once a certain amount of money has been lost over a set period. Important both for responsible gambling and a useful tool for smart betting strategies.

Reality Checks

The way this works is very simple, the site notifies you when you’ve been playing for a certain amount of time, often an hour or every few hours. You can generally set a custom time based on how you like to play. This prevents you from betting compulsively by putting into perspective the amount of time you’ve spent gambling. As the Draftkings responsible gambling tagline goes, “It’s More Fun When It’s for Fun”, and reality checks are a great way of keeping it that way!

Session Limits

Just like reality checks, but instead of simply being reminded of how much time you've spent gambling, session limits automatically log you off when the limit is met, and you’re only allowed back on once a cool-down period is completed.

Unsure of whether you might need help? One of the simplest ways to determine if you have a problem is by seeing if you fall into any of the common signs of problem gambling. Remember that having issues with any one of the below is enough for us to recommend seeking help with how you bet online.

A preoccupation with gambling

In other words, constantly thinking about upcoming bets.

Worrying about gambling

If you are worried you have a gambling problem, you most likely do. People with healthy relationships with gambling generally don’t have feelings of guilt or shame when betting online.

Gambling when you’re not having fun

If you’re betting online but not enjoying it, that’s a sign your behavior has become compulsive.

Difficulty sticking to limits

Whether they are limits you set yourself or those set by responsible gambling tools, a failure to adhere to limits is usually the sign of a problem.

Chasing losses

You should never chase losses, and you ought to take the desire to do so seriously — it indicates an issue with responsible gambling.

Lying about gambling

If you conceal your gambling from those close to you, that’s a serious sign that your gambling has spiraled out of control.

Borrowing money to gamble

This is one of the most dangerous things you could do when betting online. Seek help immediately if you are borrowing money to fund your betting activities.

Screenshot of Borgata Responsible Gaming Page
(Source: Borgata)

Taking advantage of the responsible gambling efforts of bookmakers is simple. Tools are generally made as accessible and as easy to use as possible, so you can stay in control of your online betting by following these three straightforward steps:

  1. Consider what tools would be most helpful to you

    You don’t need to have a serious gambling problem to utilise such tools. In fact, many of these, such as loss limits, can help everyone focus on the fun while staying in control. Other people may need more serious help depending on the issues they are facing. The first step towards better responsible gambling in any case is to consider your habits, and then the tools available that can best aid in your safety when betting online.

  2. Find a bookmaker which has the tools you need

    Most good US bookmakers nowadays will provide most, if not all, of the tools listed on this page. So, once you’ve figured out which of them you need, pick a reputable bookmaker available in your state and ensure they offer that specific tool.

  3. Go through the process to utilize those tools

    How specifically tools work does depend on which one we’re talking about and the individual operator. Often, it’s a case of setting them up through your profile, and betting limits are often part of the registration process. You may need to contact customer service for certain services such as self-exclusion or if you’re confused about how anything works,

While there are differences in state law, and the way responsible online gambling is handled varies per jurisdiction, there are also plenty of national resources worthy of your responsible gambling trust.

The following are great starting points regardless of where in the USA you call home.

There’s also state-specific responsible gambling help if you’re looking for more regional assistance. The table below includes all the states that currently offer legal gambling, and the relevant resources.

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What to do if there are no hotlines in your area

Some jurisdictions do not appear to have any sort of regional hotline for problem gambling. For such cases, we’ve put in the national hotline 1-800-GAMBLER so everyone reading this has access to help should they need it.

StateHotline Problem GamblingResponsible Gambling Site
Arizona1-800-NEXT-STEPhttps://problemgambling.az.gov/
Colorado1-800-GAMBLERhttps://www.problemgamblingcoalitioncolorado.org/
Connecticut1-888-789-7777https://ccpg.org/
Delaware888-850-8888https://www.deproblemgambling.org/
Illinois1-800-GAMBLERhttps://illinoisproblemgambling.org/
Indiana1-800-9-WITH-IThttps://www.in.gov/igc/problemgamblinghelp/
Kansas1-800-522-4700https://ksgamblinghelp.com/
Kentucky513-322-5998 (Lexington G.A) 855-222-5542 (Louisville G.A plus Cincinnati G.A)https://www.kycpg.org/
Louisiana1-877-770-7867https://www.helpforgambling.org/
Maryland1-800-GAMBLERhttps://www.mdgamblinghelp.org/
Massachusetts1-800-GAMBLERhttps://macgh.org/
Michigan1-800-270-7117https://www.dontregretthebet.org/
New Jersey1-800-GAMBLERhttps://www.njoag.gov/about/divisions-and-offices/division-of-gaming-enforcement-home/responsible-gaming-main/
New York1-877-846-7369https://nyproblemgambling.org/
North Carolina877-718-5543https://ncgaming.gov/responsible-gaming
Ohio1-800-589-9966https://ohio.gov/responsible-gambling
Oregon1-877-MYLIMIThttps://www.opgr.org/
Pennsylvania1-800-GAMBLERhttps://responsibleplay.pa.gov/
Virginia1-888-532-3500https://vcpg.net/

Compared to many European countries, being able to legally bet online is relatively new to the United States. That’s why we're thrilled to see responsible gambling taken so seriously on both a state and national level.

Licenses are given out very strictly, with strong rules and regulations on what operators must do to encourage players to bet safely. Wherever you are, there are tons of resources to help you gamble responsibly. We strongly encourage everyone who can benefit from them in any capacity to take advantage of these opportunities.

Responsible gambling is about staying safe when betting online. It refers to both individual responsibility and corporate/state responsibility to provide you with all the tools, help, and resources required to maximize your chances of betting safely. All of this is vital to maintaining your financial and psychological well-being.

Self-exclusion can refer to you personally deciding to step away from gambling, as well as the tools provided by betting sites to help facilitate such a decision. The way it works is simple: you request to be excluded from a site either permanently or for a certain period, and the operator blocks your account from that point on. You may need to contact customer service to impose self-exclusion on your account.

These are tools provided by a betting site or another third party, which encourage responsible gambling. Common examples include deposit limits, loss limits, spending limits, time-outs, self-exclusion, and reality checks. These are provided alongside helplines and self-assessment tools on virtually all reputable US betting sites.

There are various levels of risk when it comes to gambling. For instance, if someone was betting a small amount that they could easily afford to lose for fun, this would be lower risk than someone betting a large amount compulsively. Safer gambling is all about reducing the risks of gambling behavior.

WRITTEN BY Ben Gibson View all posts by Ben Gibson

Ben has been writing professionally for over a decade. His articles are a great outlet for his inexhaustible supply of sporting facts and enthusiasm. He resides in Yorkshire, where his work is powered by the ever-present sound of a kettle.

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