However, gambling can quickly turn into a problem if the player does not keep a close watch on it. Too much gambling can have a negative impact on your personal life, your career, your household finances, and your physical and/or mental health. It is estimated that up to 3% of Canadians suffer from a gambling problem – roughly as many people as those who suffer from alcoholism.
The good news is that there is hope out there. In order to keep players safe, online casinos practice what’s called responsible gaming. Read on to find out about responsible gaming, what help is out there for players, and how to find assistance if you or someone close to you is having a hard time keeping their gambling under control.
Important: Underage gambling is illegal and both operators and legal guardians may be held liable for it. Check the legal gambling age in your province to make sure your gambling is not breaking the law.
|Province||Legal Age to Gamble|
|Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec||18|
|British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan||19|
Signs of problem gambling or gambling addiction include:
- Lying about your gambling habits to friends and family
- Chasing losses and trying to win back lost money
- Borrowing money in order to be able to keep playing
- Being unable to stop thinking about gambling
- Being unable to fight the urge to play
- Committing crimes to be able to carry on gambling
- Neglecting important aspects of your life to focus on gambling
What does gambling do to your brain?
Problem gambling can be very harmful to your mental health. People who live with this addiction may experience depression, distress and other anxiety-related problems. Besides mental distress, it can also cause physical symptoms, such as intestinal disorders and migraine.
Just like any other addictions, being addicted to gambling can make you feel despondent and helpless. But it’s important not to give up hope, even when all seems lost. There is help out there.
How bad can gambling addiction get?
When you’re in the grip of a gambling addiction, everything becomes secondary to fulfilling your need to gamble. This can lead to terrible consequences, including:
- Alienating and losing family and friends
- Missing important relationship milestones
- Losing huge sums of money
- Incurring enormous debts
- Going bankrupt
- Losing your job
- Losing your home
- Ending up in prison for crimes you committed to be able to keep on gambling (such as theft or fraud)
Responsible Gaming covers the efforts by an online gambling site to protect players and encourage safe gambling habits
All licensed and reputable operators are legally required to implement measures that promote responsible gambling. These include limits on deposits, bets and session times, as well as the option for players to self-exclude and freeze their casino account for a period of time.
It also extends to the protection of minors and underage persons from being exposed to gambling activity.
Online casinos are responsible to take measures to protect players from falling victim to gambling problems. They do this by implementing various tools across their site which can help you keep your gambling in check. These include setting limits on your deposits, wagering amounts as well as the amount of time you spend on the site.
- Cooling-off periods are a good way to take a break from gambling as players will be blocked from accessing the site during this time. There’s also the option to self-exclude by temporarily or permanently shut down your casino account. This can be re-opened after the self-exclusion period if the player wishes. Customer support at the will be able to help if players have any concerns.
- Limits are another good way players can stay in control when gambling online. Limits that players can set include : How much money they deposit, how much money they lose, and even how much time they spend logged on to a casino site.
The following organizations offer help and support for those experiencing some form of gambling problem.
- Canada Safety Council
What they do: Provide more detailed information on gambling addiction, how to avoid it as well as a list of trusted helplines you can contact for help and support.
Contact info: https://canadasafetycouncil.org/gambling-addiction/
- Canadian Centre for Addictions
What they do: List the warning signs to recognize gambling addiction as well as the various methods used to treat it. They also provide free screenings and assessments by qualified addiction counselors.
- Responsible Gambling Council
What they do: Provide a list of groups which provide treatment services for gambling addiction in each province.
Gambling Helplines Canada
Gambling should be fun, safe and responsible. At the same time, we’re aware that gambling addiction is a real and dangerous condition. If your gambling habits have become a burden for you or the people around you, help is available.
|Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission Helpline||1-866-332-2322|
|British Columbia Problem Gambling Information and Referral Service||1-888-795-6111|
|Manitoba Gambling Helpline||1-800-463-1554|
|New Brunswick Problem Gamblers Hotline||1-800-461-1234|
|Newfoundland and Labrador Helpline||1-888-899-4357|
|Nova Scotia Toll-Free Gambling Helpline||1-888-347-8888|
|Nunavut Kamatsiaqtut Helpline||1-800-265-3333|
|Ontario Problem Gambling Helpline||1-888-230-3505|
|Prince Edward Island Gambling Addiction Treatment Program||1-888-299-8399|
|Québec – Gambling Help and Referral||(514) 527-0140 Montreal and surrounding area |
1-800-461-0140 and 1-866-767-5389 throughout province
|Saskatchewan Problem Gambling Helpline||1-800-306-6789|