Overcoming a Gambling Problem: A Safer iGaming Industry for Everyone
Disclaimer: The blog is aimed at raising awareness and preventing problem gambling. If anyone you know is struggling with problem gambling, we recommend seeking professional help.
If you pay attention to many of the ads and marketing material for Jack Daniel’s, you’ll come across the slogan “Drink Responsibly.” This is because the manufacturer, which has been around for more than 150 years, cares for the consumer even though the endgame of its product is for people to have fun under the influence. In fact, it is fully conscious of the potential harm its products could cause for vulnerable consumers, and spares no effort in keeping them safe.
The same concept applies to the iGaming industry. An entertainment form such as gambling is a pleasure that should be safely enjoyed, and a large part of ensuring that falls on the shoulders of both providers and operators. This is why we at Technamin are ardent advocates for responsible gaming and safer gambling practices. We believe that it is our responsibility to make sure that the experience provided by our products through operators is safe and secure for end users. Later in this blog, we’ll go into greater detail as to how we uphold responsible gaming. Before defining what we mean by “gambling problem,” let’s first take a look at responsible gaming itself and see what it entails.
It’s All About Safety
As a concept, responsible gaming encompasses a number of initiatives which are aimed at upholding fairness and security in the iGaming industry, as well as shielding gamblers from harm. Just like any industry, the online gaming sector is prone to a number of threats that responsible gaming serves to tackle.
There is information privacy protection which ensures that the private information shared by bettors is kept under lock and key at all times. Then you have the naughty underage gamblers that need to be kept away from betting websites using various techniques such as registration forms and identification documents. Aside from these, responsible gaming strives toward the creation of an overall safer online environment including secure online payments. Another area of interest is marketing which needs to be responsible and mindful of the target audience. Last but not least, we have the topic of today’s blog: gambling addiction.
Nora Galsytan, Technamin’s Head of Compliance, says: “Gambling addiction is a real issue which we are faced with in our industry. It’s important to recognise it as such, and to devise preventative measures. We are actively doing this at Technamin, as any legitimate provider is required to take measures toward keeping bettors safe. Our products are all equipped with necessary tools that help bettors refrain from dangerous behaviour.”
What Is Gambling Addiction and Problem Gaming?
Mayoclinic describes gambling addiction as “the uncontrollable urge to keep gambling despite the toll it takes on your life.” This refers to the types of gamblers who look at gambling as their main source of income, spend a considerable amount of time on the activity and as a result, pose harm to themselves and others. There is even a scientific name for the phenomenon: ludomania.
Human beings have been gambling since as far back as antiquity. And we know that the vast majority of gamblers are responsible. So, how and at what point does gambling become a danger, rather than entertainment? And why do people gamble to the point of it becoming an addiction?
A number of studies have been conducted over many years that show that most problem gamblers have similar traits. They have certain mental disorders such as drug and alcohol abuse, possess specific personality traits, belong to a certain age and gender, or have undergone severe stressful situations in their private and professional lives. All of this may result in various harmful behaviours, among which is problem gambling. It’s important to note, however, that gambling in itself is not problematic and a distinction should be made between gambling and problem gaming.
Signs of Gambling Addiction
Spotting problem gaming at its beginning stages can help prevent it from becoming a full-blown problem. After all, not all gamblers start off problematic. In fact, problem gambles make up a small percentage of gambling communities.
Here are a couple of early signs to look out for:
- Gambling with the sole purpose of generating income: Gambling is a form of entertainment, not income. If you see anyone who engages in the activity for the sole purpose of generating income, then they are likely a problem gambler. In fact, they will start with a smaller amount, and then gamble with large sums of money.
- Feeling on edge when not gambling: Have you ever met a chainsmoker who decided to quit? They feel fidgety and nervous if they don’t smoke. A problem gambler will do the same.
- Obsessed with gambling activities: A problem gambler will be fixated on all things gambling, whereas a normal gambler won’t.
- Turning to gambling when in a stressful situation: “I’m nervous. I need a smoke.” “I’m stressed out. I need to gamble.” Different scenarios, similar situations.
- Borrowing money to gamble: This is one of the most common traits of problem gamblers. At some point, their money will run out and they will have to borrow to satisfy their gambling addiction.
- Chasing losses: A problem gambler will get frustrated if they lose money, and will often play more in order to win their lost money back, often losing more money in the process.
These are some of the most common red flags when it comes to problem gambling. Another way of knowing that a person has a gambling addiction is that they have actually tried to get help or indirectly acknowledged their problem. “I’ve been gambling too much lately…”The good news is, once they reach that level of awareness, they can tackle the problem with the right help.
Speaking of help, there are a number of organisations that are dedicated to helping people with gambling problems, such as BeGambleAware and ResponsibleGaming. The slogan for the latter is “All in for safer gambling.” Their focus is not to stop gambling altogether, but rather to make it a safe activity that is aimed at enjoyment and entertainment alone, and does not lead to addiction and its negative social consequences. This is achieved through both educating bettors, as well as helping vulnerable gamblers who have been dealing with addiction.
But that’s just one side of the coin. Providers and operators are on the other side. They too must ensure that they have an active role in keeping bettors safe from harm while providing them with exciting experiences. Our Head of Compliance Nora expands on this: “Responsible gaming is a balanced cooperation between the player and the operator. The software solutions should be informative and give the opportunity of various limitations to the player when it comes to enjoying the game and staying responsible in the meantime.“
How Technamin Fights Gambling Addiction With Responsible Gaming
As a company, we fully support responsible gaming and when developing our products, we are always conscious of the responsibility which lies on our shoulders as providers when it comes to keeping bettors and their information safe, even though we do not interact with them directly as providers. We at Technamin constructed our platform in strict conformity with widely recognised standards, particularly the GLI-19 platform criteria, which are the cornerstones of the development process behind responsible gaming. We devote a lot of emphasis to encouraging responsible gaming within our organisation in addition to conforming to the aforementioned GLI-19 requirements. Additionally, we hold the Curacao Gaming Licence.
In terms of problem gaming and gambling addiction, we have equipped all of our products with tools that are aimed at preventing such issues and minimising their negative impact. It all starts with implementing a functionality that prevents underage gamblers from accessing our clients’ websites from the get-go. Being underage can be a gateway to problem gambling, as the individual might not be able to make sound decisions at a specific age.
Our products allow bettors the ability to place strict self-imposed limits on themselves. Here are some examples:
- Deposit Limits: a specific threshold for how many deposits can be made
- Total Bet Amount Limits: the amount of total bets the bettor can place on the website
- Total Loss Limits: a threshold for the maximum loss the bettor can experience
The bettor can set these limits on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Once set, there’s no going back. The limits cannot be reversed and will only be reset once the chosen time-frame ends. This feature is especially useful for those types of gamblers who are conscious of problem gaming or are trying to make their gambling addiction go away.
In addition to these self-imposed limits, we also have a number of system limits which are set based on analysis and reports taken from KYC procedures. These too can be configured on daily, weekly, and monthly basis and are not reversible. The system determines the length of the time-out. Operators can use the system limit feature to restrict bettors who exhibit unorthodox behaviour which may be indicative of gambling addiction.
This is where some might have the following question:
“What if the bettor goes and opens another account on the website?”
This is a valid concern which Technamin’s Risk and Fraud team is here to address! As part of our risk and fraud solution, our team is able to identify any sort of marketplace manipulation, a big part of which has to do with detecting multiple accounts and banning them from accessing operator websites. They can prevent any activity which they deem to be suspicious through real-time monitoring and data analysis strategies. All of this is done to keep bettors safe from harm.
We are constantly contributing to responsible gaming and safer gambling and encourage others to do the same. There is a lot of work to be done, and we are not about to stop! “As our industry progresses, so does responsible gaming and all that we do to ensure that bettors have safe experiences in safe environments,” adds Nora. And we agree. All of us need to work together to create a safer industry for everyone!
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