Gambling is likely one of the oldest pastimes on the planet, probably conceived as early as humans developed the mental capacity to think of it.

While it primarily gets seen as a strictly entertainment-based hobby, there is no question that indulging in it in excess can drain one’s finances, cause professional and personal ruin, and harm an individual’s mental health.

Compulsive betting gets categorized as an impulse control issue, where a person continues to wager on games of chance, ones of skill, and sporting events, despite an awareness of the negative ramifications this activity can bring.

Thankfully, only 1% of people in North America are prone to suffering from this disorder that affects the brain.

In most cases, people with a gambling disorder often refuse to accept that they are facing a very serious problem or feel shame and guilt about having this affliction.

And on account of this, they do not seek assistance in overcoming it. In some compulsive bettors, it is not uncommon for these persons to experience irritability and restlessness, typical withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to stop betting.

Moreover, to achieve previous highs, they must wager increasingly massive sums. Thus, it becomes clear how this disorder mimics alcohol and drug abuse, as it stimulates the brain’s reward system identically.

And science shows that the potential of forming a gambling addiction increases twenty-three-fold in people also affected by alcohol use disorders.

With the rise of online gaming, concerns have arisen around the globe about more people falling prey to their urges and betting more than they can afford to lose.

Seeing as around 80% of American adults gamble yearly, it is no wonder that regulators are looking to tighten anti-addiction measures, and prevent internet game of chance mavens from surpassing their budgets, the money they have set aside for gaming fun.

Below, a short breakdown follows regarding the sector happenings on this front.

Government’s Spending More On Responsible Gaming

In 2013, New Jersey became the first US state to allow internet games of chance.

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That occurred on the heels of the Department of Justice reinterpreting the Interstate Wire Act of 1961, ruling that it only applied to sports betting and not casino gaming.

Before this, the prevention of gambling addiction in the US only focused on the land-based market.

At the same time, an article in the Canadian Medical Journal appeared, prompting Great White North officials regarding more-aggressive problem-gambling policies.

Then, Canada had the world’s fourth-highest loss rate, at $568 per Canadian annually. Back then, internet gaming was not much of a concern in America’s neighbor to the north.

But now it is, with online gaming in Canada increasing regulations as new markets adopt and allow this entertainment form, which six US states currently permit.

To counteract the wide availability of gaming, the National Council for Problem Gambling began implementing a strategic NCPG initiative called Agility Grants that supplies funding to nonprofit organizations seeking to run problem gambling prevention schemes.

It also released a free workbook titled – Problem Gamblers and Their Finances and helps the not-for-profit Gamblers Anonymous operate a Pressure Relief program that strives to help compulsive gamblers and their families through paying off betting-incurred debts.

The trend seen in North America concerning swelling investments in systems that aim to combat the rise of problem gambling is also evident elsewhere.

Recently, New Zealand’s government put aside $48 million to minimize the harm caused by gambling through a three-year strategic plan that will run throughout 2025.

That represents a 24.6% increase in ministry expenditure on gaming/betting services.

The UK has also been prioritizing this arena since early 2020 after a YouGov poll showed that more Brits than ever were suffering from gambling addiction.

But now, 67% of UK gamblers believe that announced compulsory spending limits will drive many players to offshore sites and the black market.

Record Contributions To Gaming Treatment In The UK & US

According to UK’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock, the Betting and Gaming Council is proud to announce its most vital members have pledged to invest a total of £100 million devoted to improving treatment services for compulsive gamblers.

Operators such as Sky Betting and Gaming, PaddyPower Betfair, Entain, William Hill, and Bet365, which participate in the internet gaming landscape, will deliver their portion of the promised total to the charity GambleAware.

The organization will then act as a commissioning agent, ensuring the donated money reaches those requiring counseling.

In the US, the American Gaming Association issued a Responsible Gaming Statutes and Regulations Guide in 2022 that acts as a centralized collection of regulations that address responsible gaming in the thirty-three states with commercial casinos, plus the District of Columbia.

Also, this document is valid for the interactive gaming section and should be a reference book for lawmakers, regulators, industry stakeholders, and researchers.

It describes advisable time and wager limits, financial and advertising restrictions, and necessary treatment research funding.

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Self-Exclusion Programs Are Becoming The Norm

In March 2020, the UK Gambling Commission debuted its nationwide self-exclusion scheme called GamStop.

That is a database that all UKGC-licensed sites share, and when a gambler activates a self-exclusion ban at one, it instantly forbids that individual from betting at any other UKGC-approved platform.

The system had been in the works since 2017, but it took three years to get off the ground.

The Swedish Gambling Authority was quicker in unleashing its universal self-exclusion scheme – Spelpaus, which went live in 2019.

Now Germany and the Netherlands, newly established European iGaming regions, have launched similar programs shortly after their operators began running their operations.

Sadly, most MGA and Curacao-regulated websites only have site-specific self-exclusion.

Online Casinos Investing In Responsible Gaming Measures

In the past, to activate any betting, session, or loss limits, online casino users had to contact the support staff via email if a site even allowed these options.

Today, they are commonplace at most internet gaming hubs, found on a player’s profile page.

They also include cooling-off periods and wagering alert reminders. Without question, these are super handy tools that allow every Web game of chance fanatic to keep his betting activity in check and get warned if he is close to going over or has surpassed previously set limits.

Brick-and-mortar establishments are nowhere close to offering the same level of responsible gaming player care and support.