Gambling: what is responsible gambling? (Part 1)


Talking with a counsellor can help. 1866 833-7690

women at slot machinesWhen I tell people I am a Responsible Gambling Supervisor for Responsible Gambling Centres, they often give me a skeptical or confused look and say something like, “isn’t that an oxymoron?” or “I didn’t even know that existed”. In fact, they do exist and Responsible Gambling Centres (RGC) are found in many casinos and gaming establishments across Canada. RGC’s provide information and tips to the public on how to keep gambling fun, and their employees provide factual information on how games and other forms of gambling are played. They dispel myths and offer facts on the odds of winning (and losing!). RGC staff help casino patrons (and their loved ones) get immediate support for problem gambling and share information about how to get in touch with mental health services in the community for gambling-related problems.

Gambling is entertainment because the house always wins

Gambling should be seen as a source of entertainment, like going to dinner, the movies, or a concert because the house always wins. Casinos have a house advantage built in and despite being very transparent about this, many people still get caught up in the chase or the high of attempting to beat the house. The reality is simple: the more you play, the more it will likely cost you. This is because short-term play is unpredictable and anything can happen. This type of recreational gambler is realistic; they play and hope to win but know that the likelihood of winning is actually very low.

Learn from me and recreational gamblers to keep your gambling experience enjoyable by:

  • Setting a cash-only limit – leave all credit and debit cards at home. Decide how much money you are prepared to lose and bring only that amount of cash with you.
  • Respect your budget – don’t borrow money to gamble with and don’t gamble with money meant for essentials like food and rent. Gambling is entertainment so only use your entertainment dollars for this activity.
  • Set a time limit – be aware of the time and stick to your scheduled departure time. Some casinos are designed without clocks and lack natural lighting so patrons are unaware of time. Know when it’s time to call it quits and then quit!
  • Do not chase your losses – some people believe that a machine is ‘due to pay out’ or that lucky Ace is the next flip of the card so they’ll play just a little longer trying to win back the money they’ve lost. It can become a vicious cycle to break.
  • Create the right frame of mind: go in expecting to lose and if you do win, cash out and call it quits!

Gambling responsibly is just another form of entertainment when you keep these tips in mind and accept that lady luck works for the casino. So, go ahead and have a little fun but just remember that over long-term play, the losses will always outnumber the wins.

Types of gambling

  • Lottery, scratch or pull-tab tickets
  • Slot machines
  • Bingo and raffles
  • Casino games such as blackjack, roulette, craps, sic bo, pai gow tiles, Caribbean stud, three card & pai gow poker, casino war, baccarat, keno and Spanish 21
  • Betting on horse racing, sports, pool and/or card games
  • Internet gambling
  • High-risk speculative investing such as penny stocks

Stay tuned for part two of this blog about what problem gambling is, what the signs are and how to get help.

By Amy Demont. Amy is a graduate of the University of New Brunswick and has been with Morneau Shepell since 2010. Amy started as a Team Lead working in the Responsible Gaming Information Centre in Casino NB located in Moncton serving both the patrons and employees of the casino. She currently supervises 5 responsible gambling centres in 3 provinces.

If you or someone you love has a gambling problem, there is help out there. Reach out to a counsellor or someone you trust to regain control of your financial and personal life. Talking with a counsellor can help. 1866 833-7690

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