Many governments debate whether online gambling should be legal. The biggest concern being that the easy availability of the web gambling services creates an increase in gambling addicts. To balance these fears, regulator bodies have placed a “social responsibility” on online casino providers. To attain a license, the gambling websites must promote responsible gambling.
With problem gambling being an actual DMC-5 condition, one could argue that someone suffering from gambling addiction is not in control when spending large amounts of money. Some people consider it the casino’s duty to refund especially large lost bets from problem gamblers. Do casino providers recognize this responsibility?
What is a Responsible Gambling Refund?
A responsible gambling refund describes cases in which online casino providers have refunded money problem gamblers have lost on their website. It is, however, not quite as easy as telling the casino you want your money back after losing it, blaming your gambling addiction. A responsible gambling refund is not a feature casino owners have to offer. In fact, in most cases where a refund was given, there was a lawsuit involved.
Can You Get a Refund for Money Spent While Problem Gambling?
The answer is, theoretically, yes. A casino can refund your lost money if you are a problem gambler. There are multiple court cases, where players had their money refunded, and the casino had to pay hefty fines. However, there are special circumstances in which a refund is possible.
It is based in a casino provider’s license and the regulations they have to stick to. Most licenses include online casino regulations and mandatory responsible gambling features (RGF), like allowing the users to create limits or exclude themselves from using the website. These theoretically allow the casino to monitor and recognize problem gambling behavior.
In any of the cases a player had their money refunded, the casino had previously failed to flag them as a problem gambler and react. According to the social responsibility placed on them by the gambling regulatory board, they should have notified the player, stopped advertising bonus offers to them and refuse large bets. Since they failed to uphold their duty to prevent gambling addiction, the casinos had to refund money, pay fines, and adjust their RGF efficiency.
Meaning, if you want to get a refund, you must:
- prove that you are a problem gambler
- prove that the company should have known and has failed to protect you accordingly
What is Considered Problem Gambling?
Problem gambling is classified in the DSM-5 as a “gambling disorder” and is listed with substance-related addictions. They both aim at activating the brain’s behavioral reward system over and over, and can often appear together.
To be diagnosed, a person must show the following symptoms over a 12-month period:
- Needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired excitement
- Is restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling
- Has made repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop gambling
- Is often preoccupied with gambling (e.g., having persistent thoughts of reliving past gambling experiences, handicapping or planning the next venture, thinking of ways to get money with which to gamble)
- Often gambles when feeling distressed (e.g., helpless, guilty, anxious, depressed)
- After losing money gambling, often returns another day to get even (“chasing” one’s losses)
- Lies to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling
- Has jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, education, or career opportunity because of gambling
- Relies on others to provide money to relieve desperate financial situations caused by gambling
(Source: American Psychiatric Association (May 18, 2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing.)
How do I find Online Casinos with Responsible Gambling Features?
Some casinos use RGFs voluntary, others implement them because their licenses demand them to. If you want to make sure a casino uses RGFs and which RGFs are in place, you can always take a look at casino review websites. For example: Twin Casino is accredited here, at Casinomeister. Not only can you find information about the licenses and RGFs in the review. You can also rely on the fact that the provider has an accreditation seal. Only the online casinos who offer the best service and focus on the player experience and fairness will receive this badge.
The Importance of Responsible Gambling
Gambling addiction can be caused by many biological and environmental factors. A person is more likely to become a problem gambler, when:
- they have mental health disorders
- are young to middle-aged men
- have addictive personality traits
- have gambling friends or relatives
- take medication that lessen dopamine efficiency
- are under job related stress
- are lonely
- have other addictions
- suffer from trauma
- and many more…
With the factor of anonymity coming in in online gambling, it is especially important to offer RGFs in this setting. Using analytical technology to recognize and flag problem gamblers is an essential tool in providing them with help.
Casinos can offer their service legally because they agree to their social responsibility and act according to what the government deems appropriate in society. In fact, the only reason many countries legalized gambling in the first place was in order to take control of illegal gambling without any kind of regulation. They created the licensing process to create a safe and secure space where people could gamble responsibly.
By using techniques such as being able to set limits to bet and deposit amounts or regular reminders about how long a person has played and how much money they have lost, a casino allows its players to gamble but helps them do so in a controlled way. Additionally, they offer information material and contact to helpful services.
An online casino that offers RGFs shows they see their player as a human rather than a walking money bag they can bleed dry without regret.
Responsible Gambling Features are an important part in online gambling legislation. Casinos with a license must implement several features that prevent and detect gambling addiction. Does the casino fail to recognize the signs or act on this knowledge, a problem gambler might be eligible for a refund. Additionally, the casino will be fined and will have to adjust their operations according to the license regulations, because they have failed to act on their social responsibility to protect their players.