It’s a fact: Problem gambling is a reality of our industry, a harsh one. It is a reality that has trumped the progress of our industry because it causes fear and controversy at legislative rooms and can, truly, disrupt some people’s lives.
For a long time this topic has been extremely touchy in our industry, nobody really faces it because then it could mean that we are somehow contributing to it, or maybe we just think there isn’t much we can do about it while also running a business. Another fact: We don’t contribute to problem gambling more than fashion boutiques contribute to compulsive shopping… think about it, but we can certainly help.
Online casino games serve entertainment purposes, but so does Facebook, yet Facebook addiction has not been deemed harmful and family-threatening, though it can be. Addiction happens in all types of environments, have you ever seen the TV show “My Strange Addiction”? If you haven’t, there was a guy addicted to having sex WITH his car, and that’s just a start. Let’s leave car manufacturers to deal with car-sex addiction (or maybe those weird porn websites from Japan for which we won’t give you a link should do it?). However, considering the effects of problem gambling and our connection to it, we encourage a sensitive and responsible approach to the topic, so that your players acknowledge the risks it entails and know how to get help if it arises.
Let us start here: What is problem gambling?
Problem gambling is defined as an urge to continuously gamble despite harmful negative consequences. It usually entails that you cannot stop, even when you want to. People have taken second mortgages on their houses, and spent entire college funds due to problem gambling. Compulsive gambling affects 2%-5% of Americans, and less than a quarter of it is accounted to online gambling.
Now, what could you possibly do?
Addressing problem gambling is touchy because you have to do it in a non-accusatory way, here are a few ideas on how to do it:
- The first approach we suggest is that you keep it informational and short. Let your players know you are bringing this up so that they know you have their back in all types of situations. Sometimes people are ashamed to go to their families for help, and a gambling community can offer great support.
- If you run business like business, and don’t build close relationships with your customers, maybe you can add a small section at the bottom of your main page saying something along these lines: “It’s only a gambling problem if you’re losing, we know, but if your losses are more than just money, maybe this can help: [link to problem gambling hotline, reading material on problem gambling, etc.]”
- You can add a simple banner to a problem gambling hotline, strictly for awareness purposes.
Got questions or comments? Please post them below and we’ll get back at you!