Responsible Gaming

Gambling is legal throughout most of the United States, and it is becoming increasingly accessible. While this is a good thing on the surface, it may also expose new gamblers to the inherent risk of gambling addiction and other unhealthy habits. It’s important for Maryland gamblers to practice responsible gaming.

You can still enjoy casino games and activities while playing responsibly. Fortunately, there are several strategies and helpful resources you can use to do this.

Responsible Gaming Explained

Responsible gaming doesn’t mean you can’t have fun at the casino or aren’t allowed to spend some time placing bets on a sportsbook app. All it means is that you take steps to prepare both emotionally and financially before enjoying a gambling session. For many people, this means the following:

  • Planning how much they are going to spend before they go to the casino
  • Not gambling more than they can afford to lose
  • Gaming with the intent to have fun, not to strike it rich

While the principles behind responsible gaming are simple, they are often difficult to follow. Gaming tends to reach deep into the possibly addictive reward centers of the brain. Since the sports betting industry is new in Maryland, many newcomers to gaming will need to be prepared to avoid losing too much money or developing an unhealthy habit.

Why Does Responsible Gaming Matter?

Everyone visits the casino or horserace track to have a good time. But if you don’t gamble responsibly, you could end up having an overall terrible time by developing a gambling addiction or by losing too much money at the games.

Gambling addiction is a serious condition that can lead to a number of side effects or developments, including:

  • Loss of control over personal income
  • High amounts of debt, and even repossession of one’s assets
  • Emotional problems, like depression and anxiety
  • Alienation of friends and family

In short, it’s important to practice responsible gaming at all times to avoid experiencing these effects. In addition, responsible gaming can help ensure that you still have a great time at the casino without costing yourself in the long run.

How to Practice Responsible Gaming

Although responsible gaming seems simple, in practice, it’s a little more complex. There are several strategies you can and should use to ensure you game responsibly no matter how much time you’ve spent in casinos before.

  • Never wager more than you can afford to lose. It’s a good idea to set a budget before the night begins so you know how much money you can potentially lose before you place your first wagers. Set an upper limit too to avoid chasing a lucky streak for too long.
  • Go with friends, and make sure that you each pledge to keep each other honest. Going with friends will prevent you from spending too much money on a casino game, and you can do the same thing for your fellow gamers.
  • Don’t chase your losses. In fact, it’s better to settle if you’re on a losing streak. Remember, the house always wins!
  • Don’t make gambling a habitual activity you do every day at the end of work. Save casino games or sports betting as special treats you do once in a while to prevent these activities from becoming too dominant in your life.
  • If you feel bad, stop. Gaming is supposed to be entertaining and fun, not stressful.

Even with these strategies, it’s easy to fall into the trap of gambling addiction, especially if you don’t have a lot of gaming experience. If you think you might have a problem, don’t be ashamed. Instead, look for resources you can use to tackle the problem head-on and stop the effects before they get worse.

Knowing that you have a problem is the first step to recovery!

Resources for Responsible Gaming

Fortunately, there are multiple ways you can pursue resolutions for gambling addiction or other problems. In fact, Maryland’s casinos themselves have several useful resources you can check out.

Casino Resources

All legal casinos have a standing policy to interfere with gamblers if they think that they’re becoming addicted or losing too much money than they can afford. Casinos also usually cut off gamblers if they are intoxicated.

Even better, lots of casinos in Maryland have gambling resources or help centers located on-premises. These locations can be useful for stopping yourself from going too far or preventing people in your party from going overboard at the craps table.

Self-Exclusion Programs

Similarly, mobile sportsbook apps and even retail casinos frequently have self-exclusion programs. These give you the power to:

  • Cut yourself off from gaming for however long a time period you deem necessary
  • Prevent yourself from gambling with too much money

For example, you can voluntarily ban yourself from all Maryland casinos for set periods of time, like a month or a year. All the legal mobile sportsbook apps coming to Maryland will also let you impose self-exclusion restrictions. These prevent you from logging into a sportsbook and placing a bet, even if you claim that you feel good enough to do so.

These resources can be valuable tools if you feel that you need a little extra assistance getting your gambling impulses under control.

Maryland Responsible Gaming Resources

The state of Maryland has several local resources that you can use to get help for yourself or a friend if you have a gambling problem and want to practice responsible gaming.

Maryland-specific help resources include:

There are also a number of national resources you can check out, like:

Want to learn more about how you can game responsibly? Check out these resources:

Remember, the best way to deal with a gambling problem is to recognize that you need help, then pursue assistance. The road to recovery may be long, but you can use the resources above and the support of your friends and family to walk it. Gambling should be fun for everyone; make sure that’s the case for yourself by practicing responsible gaming whenever possible.

About the Author

Amber Hoffman

Amber Hoffman is the Executive Editor of MarylandSharp.com. A recovering attorney, she's spent almost a decade developing and managing websites and writing for a variety of industries. Amber became a Cubs fan after living a handful of blocks from Wrigley Field, much to the chagrin of her Mets-loving family and Red Sox-loving husband. Amber writes for a number of online sites including the food and lifestyle site Food And Drink Destinations.