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The Complete Responsible Gambling Guide in India 2020

Gambling is fun. It’s exciting, thrilling. It makes our heart rate increase when we are close to a big win, and it just as fast brings us to ecstatic joy or disappointment, depending on if we win or lose.

Gambling is an emotional and economical roller-coaster, and it’s important to stay safe and to ride with control.

Most of us can keep our gameplay to a level that fits our life, economy, physical health, and social demands.

But some find themselves lost in their gambling.

The very thing they enjoyed doing has become something destructive, controlling their life.

Research suggests that around 50% of all men in India gamble, and that just over 7% have a gambling problem.

We here at SevenJackpots strongly believe in playing responsibly. Not only is it healthier, but it’s also safer and much more fun.

This guide is created with the utmost care for you to gain knowledge on:

  • What responsible gambling is
  • What problem gambling is
  • How to spot problem gambling
  • What to do if you think you have a problem

What is responsible gambling?

Responsible gambling is gambling that is done in a way that is not negatively affecting one’s life.

Responsible gambling is almost like being a gentleman, with gambling being the beautiful person you’re trying to seduce. Not letting greed or emotions dictate the course of the game, but to play, and act, within one’s limits.

A responsible gambler will make sure to follow these rules when gambling:

  • Playing with the money they’ve set aside for gambling.
  • Playing when they have free, or dedicated, time to do so.
  • Playing games that bring entertainment, rather than playing for chances at winning big at high risk.
  • Not getting emotionally affected by losses.
  • Seeing their gambling as a hobby, something that’s done for fun and entertainment.

How to spot a responsible online casino in India

Not all casinos that accept Indians are created equal, especially when it comes to their focus on safe and responsible gameplay.

If so, how do you spot a real money casino in India that provides a good responsible gambling profile?

One way to determine their basic level of responsibility is to look at their gambling license. The Maltese license (MGA) is by far the strictest of the one’s you’ll find in India, which means that any online casino with it, will automatically have a good focus on safe play.

Casinos that have their own Responsible Gambling-portal are also good signs of casinos that care.

LeoVegas LeoSafePlay and Casumo’s Play Okay are such examples, showing that they put effort into making sure their players have control over their gambling.

Why don’t all casinos have the same focus on safe play?

The level of responsibility that all casinos take and offer varies quite a lot. There are mainly two reasons for this:

  • Gambling license
  • Business decision

For Indians wanting to gamble responsibly, casinos licensed in Malta are those with the strictest requirements.

Licenses issued in Curacao, Gibraltar, Antigua and Barbuda, etc., will still have responsible gaming, but they are not obliged to offer support in the same manner as an MGA casino.

Casinos like LeoVegas and Casumo have both taken business decisions to present even more tools and support than their license regulator requires. Clear proof that they care about their players.

What is problem gambling?

Problem gambling is the opposite of responsible gambling. Problem gambling is a type of gambling that negatively affects one or more aspects of a person’s life.

On Wikipedia, Problem gambling is explained as:

“an urge to gamble continuously despite negative consequences or a desire to stop. Problem gambling is often defined by whether harm is experienced by the gambler or others, rather than by the gambler’s behaviour.”

Problem gamblers are known to lose money they can’t afford to lose, spending more time than they have on gambling, or using gaming as a way to ‘solve’ or ‘forget’ issues.

It’s important to understand that problem gambling, or gambling addiction, is a disease, just like other addictions such as alcohol and substance abuse.

Why is it important to understand that it is a disease?

Many people who struggle with this problem are ashamed of the fact that they have an addiction.

But just as you wouldn’t be ashamed of coming down with the flu, or being diagnosed with, say, diabetes, gambling addiction is nothing to be ashamed of.

It can be cured, as long as you want it to be.

The gambling problem disease: A crash-course in addiction

No matter where it comes from, pleasure is always registered in the same way in the brain.

When something pleasurable is noticed, the brain releases a neurotransmitter called dopamine. It’s released in an area of the brain known as the cerebral cortex, commonly known as the brain’s ‘Pleasure center.’

Gambling abuse will cause a large release of dopamine, which gives a sense of pleasure in the body. The hippocampus memorizes this pleasant feeling, while the amygdala creates an emotional connection.

The result is that your brain programs itself to release dopamine when you gamble. For an addict, dopamine release becomes unbalanced, with little to no dopamine release during other pleasurable activities.

In the end, gambling becomes the only thing that makes them feel good. In short, they get high on gambling.

How problem gambling manifests itself

You probably think that “Bah, my gambling doesn’t cause any trouble,” and you might be right.

But for some, the damage caused by gambling might not even be something they’ve reflected on before.

We have listed some of the most common ‘traits’ of a problem gambler here below.

  • Spending time thinking about gambling
    Letting your mind wander to playing a few spins or hands is okay, but it is when it goes out over your everyday life, that it becomes problematic.
    Planning your life around your gambling sessions, prioritizing gambling over other activities, and counting the hours until you get to gamble again are all signs of gaming taking over your life and habits.
  • Needing to gamble more to reach the same level of ‘thrill’
    When you feel that you ‘need’ to place more, larger, or riskier bets to reach the same ‘thrill’ as before, you might want to start to take a look at your gambling.
    This connects to the dopamine production in your brain and works in the same way as substance abuse does. It’s a strong indication that you are developing an addiction.
  • Unable to stop, even when trying to do so
    You might’ve realized that the way you are playing is not working out for you. So, you try to stop. Friends and family are also telling you to stop.
    But time after time, you fall back and find yourself gambling. Even if you shouldn’t, or can’t afford to.This is a clear sign that you need to take additional measures to curb your gambling problem.
  • Withdrawal symptoms when not playing
    You might think that ‘withdrawal’ only happens to drug addicts, but it can happen to casino players as well.
    If you find yourself becoming very angry, distressed, anxious, or sad, you might be experiencing withdrawal after a period of not playing.Stronger emotions like fever, shaking, and panic attacks are also signs of a problem.
  • Using gambling as a way of ‘treating’ bad moods or anxiety
    For problem gamblers, playing a few hands or spins might have a calming effect. Using gambling to calm down after a rough day is an indication that playing casino games might have that effect on you, which should be addressed.
  • Using gambling as a reward
    Got a promotion at work? Did your favorite cricket team win? Celebrating an anniversary with your partner? Rewarding yourself with gambling is a red flag for a potential gambling problem.
    It might not be a ‘problem’ just yet, but using it as a reward can quickly spiral into an actual issue.
  • Chasing losses
    Here’s one that most of us can relate to. We’ve lost some funds, and we simply keep on playing.
    The idea of it is that we will stop playing when we are back at the amount of rupees we had when we started. We just need that one, big win.
    This does quickly turn into a black vortex of losses, sending us deeper into losing money. It’s especially true if exceeding our set gambling budget, playing with investments that we can’t afford to lose. This is very common amongst Indian problem gamblers.
  • Hiding gambling-habits from friends and family
    Creating lies around how often or how much you play is a big red flag. If you have to hide your gambling habits from those close to you, it is clear that you are gambling in a way that you already know isn’t healthy.
    The good thing is that you are aware of what you are doing is not good. Acknowledging is a great first step to recovery.
  • Committing crimes to afford to gamble
    Crimes might start with stealing money from friends and family with the idea of paying them back, which, of course, never happens.
    It is not uncommon for gambling addicts to get involved in criminal activities to fund their gambling.This is the most extreme level of gambling addiction that can lead to imprisonment or even death.

The Self-Assessment-check

Gambling habits are always on a spectrum; it’s not black and white. To understand where you are on the spectrum, the Self-Assessment check is a valuable tool.

The check presents you with several statements, to which you grade yourself from 0 to 10. Depending on your result, you’ll receive recommendations on the next steps to take to control your gambling.

There are several different checks to take online, each slightly different; we’ve collected the statements from the GamCare self-assessment check here below.

  • Sometimes I gamble for longer than I intend to.
  • Sometimes I lose track of time when I am gambling.
  • Other people say that I spend too much time gambling.
  • I devote time to my gambling when I really should be doing something else.
  • Sometimes I gamble more money than I intend to.
  • Sometimes I try to win back money that I have lost gambling.
  • Sometimes I gamble with money that really should have been used for something else.
  • I sometimes borrow money to enable me to gamble.
  • I do not want to tell other people about how much time and money I spend on my gambling.
  • People close to me think that I gamble too much.
  • Sometimes I feel bad when I think of how much I have lost gambling.
  • Sometimes my gambling has left me short of money.
  • I feel restless if I do not have the opportunity to gamble.
  • Sometimes I feel bad when I think about my gambling.
  • My gambling sometimes makes me feel irritated.

So, you might have a problem – now what?

Admitting to yourself that you have a problem is a great first step to recovery. And from here, you have four different ways to go:

  • Reach out to help groups, like Gamblers Anonymous (GA).
  • Reach out to your doctor for medication against withdrawal.
  • Make use of a therapy program where you get in contact with therapists and medical professionals.
  • Admit yourself to one of the rehabilitation-centers available in India.

It’s normal to opt for more than one of these options. You might, for example, get therapy, while also taking medication.

Every person is different, and only you know what will work best for you.

If you don’t have a problem, but someone you know, does

Witnessing a loved one suffer through gambling abuse is hard. Organizations such as Gamblers Anonymous have help-groups for friends and families of people with addiction.

Of course, it is entirely up to you on how much you can endure, but for the addict, having your support can be immensely important. Make sure not to enable their addiction by lending money or, in other ways, “help” them to gamble.

You can also reach out to online casinos in India where the person is gambling to express your concerns.

Instead, it’s essential to be patient and show that you will be there to support them when they are ready to get help.

Tools that can help you regain, or keep, control

Despite what some think, casino operators want you to have fun in a controlled manner. No operator wants you to lose everything you own.

That’s why gambling sites offer useful tools that all players can use to create a more secure gambling environment for themselves.

There’s no need to use all tools, but we recommend always having at least one of them active and doing a self-assessment check now and then.

Deposit Limit

Limits the amount of money that you can deposit.

Loss Limit

Limits the amount of money you can lose.

Session Limit

Limits the time frame during which you can play.

Wager Limit

Limits the amount of money you can play for.

Player History

Shows you every single spin, hand, or bet placed.

Time Alert

A reminder of time played, amount played, and if you’ve won or lost.

Self-Exclusion

Closes your casino account for a set amount of time or permanently, if requested.

Self-Assessment

A short “quiz”-like test that gives you an overview of your gambling habits.

When it is time to exclude

The first thing to do when you notice that you are unable to control your gambling is to close your online casino accounts. Reach out to the customer support of the casinos where you have accounts and request a permanent self-exclusion.

This will permanently close your account and remove you from any email or SMS lists, making sure that you won’t get contacted by them.

To ensure that you are keeping from opening new accounts, there are a few tools that you can install on your devices.

Gamban

Gamban will block all gambling-related websites on all of your devices. If you’ve recently closed your account at LeoVegas, they will provide you with a Gamban-subscription for free.

Betfilter

Yet another Anti-gambling software is Betfilter. They will make sure to block all gambling sites and prevent any gambling-related ads that might pop up online.

CyberSitter & Netnanny

CyberSitter and Netnanny will allow you to block types of content that you don’t want your children to be exposed to, such as gambling, violence, drugs, and adult content.

When it is time to get help

Some believe that just blocking casino sites and staying away from them will “cure” their addiction. In most cases, this does not work. 

Why an addiction happened in the first place is often difficult to know. You’ll want to solve the root cause, which trained professionals will be able to help you with.

Reaching out to one or more of the below organizations is a big step toward recovery.

  • Gamblers Anonymous
    Gamblers Anonymous, GA, for short, is a group of people who share experiences and work together to help each other. The ‘Anonymous’ fellowships, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), and GA, are known for using a “12-step program” to curb addiction.
  • Hope Trust India
    Hope Trust is an Indian treatment facility located in Hyderabad, Telangana, focused on psychological wellness. They treat various forms of addiction through a 12-step program, CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), Yoga, and meditation.
  • Alpha Healing Center
    Alpha Healing Center is a holistic treatment center located in Gujarat, mainly focused on treating inpatients.
  • Rehabs.in
    At Rehabs, you’ll be able to locate the rehabilitation center closest to you. Each Indian state will have its resources for problem gambling, so you’ll find yours here.
  • Gambling Therapy
    Gambling Therapy is an online portal where you can get in touch with trained professionals. The service is free, and the site is available in English, Hindi, and Punjabi.
  • GamCare
    GamCare are mainly focused on people in the UK, but their website is available in English and Punjabi, making it optimal for Indians.

Final words

It’s important to understand that there’s risk in gambling. Just as there’s risk in drinking alcohol, consuming sugar, chewing ghutka, smoking cigarettes, or eating processed meats. In the end, if you have no problem playing in moderation, that’s great.

What we ask of you is that you check-in with yourself from time to time. How does gambling make you feel? Have you been gambling more lately? Are you keeping to your budget?

Being self-aware is the key to a long and exciting life of gambling.

So go out there, have fun, and always gamble responsibly.