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Promoting Responsible Gambling in Ontario

Posted on: July 31, 2023. Last updated on: February 14, 2024 Gamble Responsibly

Online casinos should provide their player with practical and easy-to-locate tools and resources to help manage responsible gambling practices. When playing games, the experience should be enjoyable. However, there are instances when problems arise, and online casinos in Canada have systems where they can identify gamblers with issues and contact them to offer assistance and advice.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) privatized all online services in 2022 and manages and overseen all operations in the state since. They also established iGaming Ontario as a subsidiary that oversees and helps support the industry and players. Some of the processes it manages are anti-money laundering, player registrations, customer service, and types of games allowed. The emphasis from both these organizations, however, is on promoting and encouraging responsible gambling.

Understanding Responsible Gambling

Responsible gambling aims to reduce harm or financial loss to oneself or others. Players must be aware of the time spent and know how to set budgets when using online casinos or sportsbooks. Ontario casinos have many tools, and casinos must incorporate them into their platforms for easy customer access. Some other helpful information iGaming Ontario provides is guides on how the various games work and how RTP and volatility will affect your sessions and experience. It also offers a handy online quiz to assess any issues or possible problems to address.

There are two main ways for you to get assistance when needed.

OLG PlaySmart

The OLG set up Playsmart to help with the province’s problem gamblers. It provides facts, guidance, and means to manage budgets and playing times with valuable resources. The main aim of PlaySmart is for you to recognise that gambling should always be fun. It also assists you in understanding your playing habits to help you make informed decisions to achieve responsible gambling practices.

Among the tools provided by PlaySmart is a slot play calculator. This calculator will show you that there is no surefire way to win on slots, that the odds are always in the casino’s favour, and that it’s more about luck than skill. PlaySmart also helps the OLG with its self-exclusion program and effectively assists players in understanding what healthy gambling habits entail.

Ontario problem gambling helpline

While some enjoy online tools, others prefer speaking to a human. Therefore, Connex Ontario helps with mental health or addiction problems and is available for gamblers in the province. Aside from visiting their website, you can call them at 1-866-531-2600.

Connex Ontario

The Role of the OLG and iGaming Ontario

These two prominent government-approved bodies perform various tasks, but they have a particularly key role in promoting or overseeing the following:

  • Policies: Operators must follow the OLG and iGaming Ontario guidelines that help players minimize the risk of harm to themselves or others. These policies are reviewed and updated regularly.
  • Online support tools: Operators must effectively communicate about safely playing. This includes how the games work and typical misunderstandings surrounding the risks. More importantly, they must inform their players how their responsible gambling tools function.
  • Advertising: Advertising and marketing is not permitted to target those not of legal age, who have self-excluded or identified as high-risk.
  • Age verification process: Gambling is only legal for persons aged 19 years in the province of Ontario. The only exception is when an 18-year-old can purchase lottery tickets but can’t access other parts of the casino site.

How to Identify Gambling Concerns

The OLG’s main aim is that players only gamble for fun and are aware of the risks. The focus is recognizing on time when playing becomes problematic and starts affecting their daily lives. This could include problems with family, work colleagues, or even friends due to financial difficulties.

Operators must establish procedures to observe and identify risky behaviour to offer assistance. Another requirement from the OLG is that players can access 24/7 customer support. In addition, the staff must have adequate training to assist with any queries confidently.

Playsmart is one of the OLG’s responsible gambling programs and has a list to identify problems to help you determine if you feel someone close to you may have a problem, including young adults. Some signs that are worth looking out for include:

  • Being online for long periods without realising
  • Missing important events at work, home, or not meeting up with friends
  • Using funds reserved for essential accounts like rent or bills
  • Borrowing from various sources to clear any gambling deficits
  • Being unable to stop
  • Finding that there are mood variances and changes in personality when partaking
  • Have negative thoughts due to gambling
  • Inexplainable periods of absence
  • Gambling all the time
  • Not completing work or grades going down
  • Boasting about new purchases but cannot explain where they came from
  • Brag about wins
  • Borrowing or even stealing from others

Tools and Feats Ontario Online Casinos Provide

Let us look at some of the options you can find at various sites.

Self-exclusion or breaks from play

The most basic are tools that initiate a self-exclusion, or a break, for a determined period of time. This could be anything from a week to a year or even forever.

Design of Games and their Features

The games must come with straightforward instructions and refrain from misleading their customers. The winning payout amounts should be clearly displayed, and games include a 2.5-second break between each spin. Players cannot play more than one slot at a time, and no auto-spinning is allowed. Lastly, every game needs to display the winnings or losses of a player’s history since the beginning of the session and show the amount of time spent playing.

Setting Limits

Players must also have access to convenient and quickly accessible means to set financial and time gaming limits. Once the player requests them, these limits cannot change before a 24-hour cooling-off period.

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