Canada, like the rest of the progressive world, has a thriving iGaming sector that shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. With a chunk of Canadian provinces legalizing and regulating online casino gambling and sports betting, the sector is now growing exponentially as more players from around the country than ever before sign up and enjoy high-quality games.
While this is a great stimulus for the economy, it can spell disaster if not closely regulated, particularly when it comes to gambling harm. Those who have worked within the gaming sector, are well aware of the perils of gambling and with online gambling, the dangers are ever more treacherous. If players don’t practice responsible gambling, online gambling addiction can wreak havoc on individuals, families and societies.
Therefore, the Canadian government cannot afford to let players control and limit their gaming sessions by themselves. There have to be some measures and systems in place to keep at-risk players from developing full blown gambling addictions. There are indeed different approaches and strategies that Canada is currently using to battle gambling harm.
It’s become evident that players in jurisdictions like British Columbia or Ontario are more likely to participate in sports betting and iGaming through their province-run online casinos after single-event sports betting was permitted across Canada last year. The requirements for responsible gaming imposed by governmental organizations like the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario became even more crucial when more players started playing online. These requirements continue to benefit both provincially operated online casinos and foreign businesses who will enter Ontario’s regulated iGaming industry soon. Responsible gaming is AGCO’s major focus as per their website.
It’s all about supply and demand – the ever-increasing popularity of online casinos across Canadian borders owes to the fact that people have shown interest. Thus, many operators have been sprouting in various provinces, being granted the necessary licenses to be legally operating. But, there still remains one underlying question: do online casinos based in Canada promote the importance of responsible gambling? Do they provide the right channels to anticipate potential gambling harm? If so, are said channels easily accessible to players? Let’s see how Canada battles gambling addiction as a nation.
For iGaming businesses, AGCO has established three primary advertising restrictions.
- Safeguarding those who have self-excluded from online gambling, are underage, and/or are at high risk.
- Not misleading customers with their product or promotion marketing.
- Only the websites of iGaming merchants may be used to offer incentives, bonuses, and credits.
The Usual Online Casino Responsible Gambling Features
First and foremost, online casino operators must have certain responsible gambling tools and features on their websites. These are very effective if and when used by players. Some of the responsible gambling tools available on Canadian online casinos include:
Underage Gambling Restrictions
Online casinos have a regulatory obligation to verify the identity, age and address of their members. This “Know Your Customer” (more commonly referred to as KYC) verification serves various purposes and one of them is the ability to verify the age of a player and filter out underage players. Even though players are asked to confirm that they’re 18 and above when signing up with a casino, underage players could simply lie and still register. Therefore, such verification is great to weed out underage gamblers and even discourage them from trying to sign up at any other online casino.
Regulated online casino sites will also offer their members the ability to set their own personal limits. These can be daily, weekly or monthly limits or even all three. A player can limit how much money they deposit and at what frequency. Likewise, they can also limit how much they may lose in a specific time frame or how much they may wager in a specific time frame irrespective of whether they’re winning or losing.
Another limit that can be used by players is the session time out limit where they cannot play for more than a certain period of time at a stretch. These limits can be setup by players themselves depending on their gaming budgets, amongst other factors. Once the limits are set, a player cannot change the them at a point where they simply feel like gambling more, but they’ve reached the limit. If limits are changed, it takes a few days, or even weeks for it to be implemented and by this time, the urge to gamble would probably have already subsided.
Self-exclusion is the voluntary agreement a player can make with online or offline operators so as not to bet for a specified period of time. It may be a crucial initial step in assisting with gambling management. Self-exclusion gives those who are having a hard time controlling their gambling behaviors a chance to stop and cool-off and clear their head. It can provide access to extra community resources to help at-risk gamblers deal with their gambling issues and may also give them the support they need if you’re uncertain how to manage their recovery process by themselves.