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Responsible gambling: Advice, help, safety

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Checked by Geraldine S.Lorella F.

Our goal is to serve up the best possible player experience. Responsible gambling is a huge part of that.

At Time2play, we pride ourselves on being a transparent brand you can trust, and we’ve implemented a whole host of initiatives to transform that vision into reality.   

From an optimized scoring system to a player-centric community, here are the top things we’re doing to promote responsible gambling on our platform and the industry at large.

How we support responsible gambling

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Transparent ratings from real experts

We use the same criteria to rate online gambling sites – everyone gets the same test, and we give numeric scores based on concrete, measurable benchmarks. Our rating criteria are publicly available, so you can see that we’re not just making up numbers. 

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Real, unedited player reviews

We encourage our readers to get involved. More voices = better quality, as far as we’re concerned. We want to hear from you, and we want you to tell us why you like/dislike each gambling site. It’s valuable to other players, and it’s useful for our own reviewing process too.

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The Playscore – a marketwide view

We’re not afraid to put our cards on the table. Our Playscore crawls the web for as many reviews as it can find, and amalgamates them into one easy average score. We’ll tell you what we think about each gambling site, and we’ll show you what everyone else thinks too.

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No paid ranking boosts

This goes hand-in-hand with our transparent rating system. If everyone can see what it takes to get a good score, it’d look pretty weird if worse places started ranking high. The top spots in our tables are based solely on our own opinions, and we don’t rent them out to any operator with a checkbook.

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A real community

We encourage you to sign up to Time2play and engage with each other on our forums. We think we’re pretty good at rating gambling sites, but we don’t want it to be just us. Hear from other players, learn from real people, support and advise each other. That’s how we win. 

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A comprehensive one-stop-shop

We’re aiming to expand to every major vertical of the global market, so our community, Playscores, and open systems will be available for whatever operator you want to get the dirt on.

Why we support responsible gambling

Betting is one of humanity’s oldest forms of fun, and we’ve all heard stories about lucky players who’ve done well for themselves. But the effects of problem gambling can be devastating, both to individuals and families. 

Gambling has its dangers, but with help available and protections in place, they’re mitigated. We’re committed to doing our part there. Here are some of the reasons why we take a pro-player and pro-people stance in the online gambling industry:

  • Widespread Issue

    Widespread issue

    Around 5.5 million Americans are classified as being problem or pathological gamblers.

  • Withdrawals

    Economic problems

    Problem gamblers can rack up debt very quickly, and are significantly more likely to have severe financial issues than nongamblers. 

  • Work Issues

    Work trouble

    Severe problem gambling is linked to a range of negative consequences which affect work.

  • hammer

    Crime association

    In one study, more than 30% of arrested compulsive gamblers had committed a robbery within the past year, nearly double the rate of low-risk arrested gamblers.

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    Family trouble

    Around 50% of people receiving treatment for pathological gambling reported losing or endangering a relationship because of gambling. 

  • Kids

    The children

    According to PA gaming regulators, up to 15% of US/Canadian youth have demonstrated symptoms of problem gambling. Also, children of problem gamblers have shown an increased risk of mental health issues, including depression and suicide.

We show sections highlighting these risks on many of our pages. Why? We’ve got a few reasons:

  • We want you to remain safe and have the best gambling experience possible.
  • We’re not afraid to address the downsides and risks associated with gambling.
  • They clearly demonstrate why responsible gambling  is so important for the industry.

The rest of this page discusses how we can best avoid falling into the traps of problem gambling, and what we can do to climb back up.

How can we gamble responsibly?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all definition of responsible gambling. It’s a broad set of initiatives by lawmakers and operators to promote fairness in the industry and to combat the potential harms associated with gambling. 

In the USA, the most common initiatives we find are dedicated pages on gambling sites and social and sweepstakes casinos, guiding players to their responsible gambling tools and external help organizations. These are often state-specific and legally required by a gambling site in order to get its license. You’ll usually recognize the seals by the RG stamped across them – it’ll be the same logo on all legal sites in a given state. 

Fair games are an important part of responsible gambling too – any casino site will need to have its games audited to make sure they pay out regularly and aren’t overwhelmingly favoring the house. This sort of stuff is usually handled by each state’s gaming control board. In New Jersey, for example, it’s the Division of Gaming Enforcement, while it’s the Gaming Control Board in Pennsylvania.

While legal protections are in place, there are plenty of things we ourselves can do to drill into the safe side of things.

  • Real Money

    Money management

    Setting budgets before gambling is one of the most effective practices we’ve come across. It’s way easier to stop when you set yourself a hard number. Make sure it’s a number you can afford, and stick to it. Stopping at the finish line between black and white is an easier job than slowing down in the shades of grey.

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    Expectation management

    One of gambling’s biggest myths – if you play long enough, you’re guaranteed a big win. You’re not. Think back on your favorite sporting comebacks, and you’ll know wins are never set in stone. With casino games, RNG software is legally required – it means casinos can’t deliberately take advantage of you, but it also means nothing, be it win or loss, is guaranteed.

  • Know When To Stop

    Know when to stop

    Chasing losses is one of the worst things you can do in terms of responsible play. If you’re in a hole, you need to know when to stop digging. Setting budgets can help you here too.

  • Stay Informed

    Ask for help

    Just about every task in life is easier when you’ve got someone to rely on. Never be afraid to reach out and ask for help. It may be hard, but the benefits far outweigh the risks. If turning to those closest to you is too hard, there are professional organizations you can reach out to, which specialize in helping struggling players.

Gambling addiction — tips on spotting the signs

Even if you know about responsible gambling, spotting the signs of problem gambling isn’t always an easy task. You may think the signs would be obvious, but never write off the possibility – remember, prevention is always better than cure. 

We’ve put together a list of tips that could help you flag the warning signs.

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Tip 1

Stop cold turkey and see how you feel

Try to spend a few days without gambling. Is it harder than you thought it would be? Do you find yourself snappy and irritable at all? How often do you think about gambling? If you’re unhappy with any of the answers to these questions, you may want to think about reaching out.

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Tip 2

Analyze your money trail

What part of your budget does your gambling money come from? Have you ever had to cut back on living expenses to fund your gambling? Have you ever borrowed money to gamble, or stolen it? These are all clear warning signs.

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Tip 3

Think back over your losses

Have you ever ‘chased a loss’ – lost more than you wanted to, then lost even more trying to win it back? Has a loss ever made you feel stressed and distraught? Have you ever lied about losses, especially to those closest to you?

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Tip 4

Ask your friends and family

What does your family think about your gambling? Does it affect your relationships with them or your friends? Are you relying on them to fund your gambling?

The signs mentioned are heavily linked to gambling addiction. That being said, we’re not here to diagnose you. That’s not our job, and it’s not yours either. If these signs have aroused any concern, reach out to a professional, and they’ll have achieved their function. You should never self-diagnose without consulting an expert.

Do you need help?

If you’ve decided to reach out, you’ve got options. There are plenty of support organizations that provide help to those who want to control their gambling better.

You can reach us at [email protected] for more information.

National Council on Problem Gambling

The NCPG is a nationwide organization that’s been operating since 1972. It’s a huge promoter of programs and services which help individuals and families who have been affected by problem gambling. They can be contacted confidentially at any time of day via phone, chat, or text. Contact details can be found on their website.

American Addiction Centres

Since opening in 2007, AAC has grown into America’s largest network of rehab facilities. It boasts a success rate of more than double the national average. They can be confidentially contacted 24/7 via freephone. The number is available on their website.


Officially called the Council on Compulsive Gambling of NJ, 800-Gambler is a 24/7 confidential helpline, recommended on the responsible gaming pages of most NJ gambling sites. Their 1-800-GAMBLER helpline is a confidential, free, 24/7 service that can be accessed by most of the US. You can also contact them through text or chat through their website, or use it to find a meeting.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

SAMHSA is a government site run by the US Department of Health and Human Services. Their website allows you to find treatment services near you, and offers a national helpline which directs people to treatment and information services, 24 hours a day.

Gamblers Anonymous

Operating since 1957, Gamblers Anonymous is a community organization, describing itself as having only one membership requirement – a desire to stop gambling. It runs hotlines in every state, and has a web tool to help its users locate nearby meetings.

State government pages

State regulators who license gambling operations often have pages dedicated to responsible gambling. The NJDGE (New Jersey) and the MGCB (Michigan) are good examples, but check your state’s government website to see what else is available for you.

Other responsible gambling tools

Other self-help options are available beyond contacting support organizations.

Access to gambling history

Many gambling sites keep a log of every bet you have made, all your wins and all your losses. This can help you get a complete overview of your gambling, and help you decide when to stop.

Reality checks

These tend to work a little differently, depending on the operator. However, the basic premise is that players will be able to set a pop-up which reminds them of gambling risks at frequent intervals. The interval can be based on money spent, time spent, etc.


There are plenty of free self-tests available online that can indicate whether your gambling is problematic. Of course, these shouldn’t be taken as professional diagnoses, but they can help spur players towards getting help.

Operator-provided responsible gambling tools

US gambling sites, especially online casinos, are legally required to have account tools to help you control your play. These usually include features like the ones listed here:

  • Deposit limits (limiting how much funding you can give your gambling account)
  • Loss limits (limiting your play after a certain amount of money has been lost)
  • Session limits (limiting how long you can spend on a gambling site)
  • Self-suspension (a temporary, self-imposed, timed ban)
  • Self-exclusion (a self-imposed semi-permanent ban from gambling in a specific state)

Protecting minors

Protecting minors from gambling is extremely important. For one thing, underage gambling is a serious criminal offense, and no gambling site will ever pay out illegal winnings.  According to The National Center for Biotechnology Information, between 4% and 8% of US minors between 12-17 have a serious gambling problem, and another 10-15% are at risk of developing one.

Fortunately, there are things we can do to try to limit exposure as much as possible. Parental control apps such as Kidlogger and Qustodio give parents the ability to monitor kids’ internet use and filter out potentially harmful content. Software which completely blocks all online gambling also exists, but be careful not to shoot yourself in the foot if you enjoy the occasional bet too.


Legal age by state

18 and 21 are the big milestones for legal gambling in the USA – the specifics tend to vary by state. Some stuff is more consistent than others. Lottery tickets, for example, are legal at 18 just about everywhere, with the exceptions being Arizona, Iowa and Louisiana, where it’s 21, and Nebraska, where it’s 19.

State Legal age – casino Legal age – sports betting
Alabama 21 N/A
Alaska 21 N/A
Arizona 21 N/A
Arkansas 21 21
California 18/21 (casino-specific) N/A
Colorado 21 18
Connecticut 21 N/A
Delaware 21 21
Florida 21 N/A
Georgia 18 N/A
Hawaii 21 N/A
Idaho 18 N/A
Illinois 21 21
Indiana 21 21
Iowa 21 21
Kansas 21 N/A
Kentucky N/A N/A
Louisiana 21 N/A
Maine 21 N/A
Maryland 21 N/A
Massachusetts 21 N/A
Michigan 18/21 (casino-dependent) 21
Minnesota 18 N/A
Mississippi 21 21
Missouri 21 N/A
Montana 18 18
Nebraska 21 N/A
Nevada 21 21
New Hampshire 21 18
New Jersey 21 21
New Mexico 21 21
New York 21 21
North Carolina 21 21
North Dakota 21 18
Ohio 21 N/A
Oklahoma 18 N/A
Oregon 21 18
Pennsylvania 21 21
Rhode Island 21 18
South Dakota 18 21
South Carolina 21 N/A
Tennessee N/A 21
Texas 21 N/A
Utah 21 N/A
Vermont 21 N/A
Virginia 21 21
Washington 18 18
West Virginia 21 21
Wisconsin 21 N/A
Wyoming 21 18

Other vulnerable groups

Minors aren’t the only demographic who are disproportionately at risk from the dangers of gambling. We believe in the value of bringing attention to those who are most at risk, and highlighting their struggles. Together, we can provide knowledge and build a better, stronger, safer gambling environment for all.

Data and statistics on gambling vulnerabilities common in the US and how they influence behavior


What is responsible gambling?

There is no exhaustive definition of responsible gambling. However, it is largely concerned with employing processes, primarily set by lawmakers and gambling operators, which aim to make the gambling industry a better place, both through fairness initiatives and player protection. Learn more in our section on gambling responsibly.

Why is responsible gambling important?

Responsible gambling initiatives help protect vulnerable players. They also prevent legal and licensed casinos from employing predatory practices to extract money from the general gambling population.

How can I gamble responsibly?

Apart from using the responsible gambling tools provided by operators, you can employ some tips such as budget-setting, managing expectations, knowing when to stop, and asking for help. More details can be found in our section on gambling responsibly.

What are responsible gambling tools?

Operators in the USA are legally mandated to provide tools which allow players to impose limits on their gambling, giving them increased control over it. These include limits on play time and financial losses, and even include the power to temporarily or semi-permanently ban yourself from all gambling statewide. Learn more in our section on responsible gambling tools.

Where can I get help for problem gambling?

There are various organizations that help gamblers across the US to find support at critical moments. Some of the most prominent are the National Council on Problem Gambling and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. A longer list can be found in our Get Help section.

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