There is no question that gambling, both live and online is big business.

The United States of America is the second biggest spender when it comes gambling. As of May 2020, it is estimated that $35.5 billion is spent across all gambling sectors in the last year. The US is only rivaled by China, who’s residents spent an estimated $36.5 billion on gambling a year.

According to figures from National Gambling Statistics, 85% of American have gambled at least once. There is some form of legal gambling available in 48 states; only Utah and Hawaii deem it entirely illegal both live and online.

There are plenty of people around the US placing wagers at sportsbooks, casinos and playing poker, in casinos and racetracks, online and on their phones. Currently only Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada allow residents to play online poker (it is permitted in West Virginia, but no site is currently live).

However, many other states allow for online sports betting, bets on horse races, online lottery wagers and more.

Due to the high volume of people that enjoy gambling, it is important that all players know how to gamble responsibly. Gambling habits can spiral out of control.

Players need to know what options they have to make informed choices on how to gamble safety, whether that be choosing a reputable site that will keep your money safe, or knowing how to self-exclude or to gamble within your limits.

What Does Problem Gambling Look Like?

Gambling should be fun and you should only gamble what you can afford to lose. However, if you find yourself over-stretching your finances, chasing your loses, or are defensive about your gambling habits, then it is important to seek help.

In the UK, the National Health Service has put together a quick questionnaire to find out if you are exhibiting problem gambling behavior.

Key questions to ask yourself: Are you:

  • Betting more that you can afford to lose?
  • Gambling with larger and larger amounts of money to get a buzz?
  • Chasing losses?
  • Borrowing or stealing money to gamble?
  • Lying to friends and family about the amount you are wagering, winning or losing?
  • Suffering from financial problems caused by gambling?
  • Feelings of guilt, stress, or anxiety caused by gambling?

The International Centre for Responsible Gaming put together this video highlighting what a gambling disorder can look like.

Don’t suffer in silence—if you identify yourself in these videos, help is on hand. It is important to know there are resources available.

Choosing a Safe Site

When it comes to online gambling, there are plenty of sites out there offering casino, slots and poker games but not all are legal.

The reason you want to gamble on a legal site is because they are regulated. This means there is a governing body making sure the games are fair, your money will be kept safe and generally you will be protected from unscrupulous behavior.

To find out what sites are legal to play on you want to choose a reputable site that is regulated by your state or country regulator. At pokerfuse we pride ourselves on fair and honest reporting and we have plenty of pages on which states offer online gambling and which are the best for players to have a safe and fair experience.

Any sites on here will be regulated to the high standards set by their regulators. We do not list or link to illegal or “offshore” sportsbooks, online casinos or poker rooms.

Getting Help

Here we look at the states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware and what they are doing to combat problem gambling.

However, if you live in a different state and want to seek help there is a great interactive map on the National Council on Problem Gambling where you can easily see what provisions are on offer.

If you are in the UK, contact GamCare. There is also a nationwide self-exclusion registry, GamStop.

Responsible Gambling: Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) are in charge for making gambling in PA safe and fun for all. Online gambling is legal and completely above board in the State and the regulator (PGCB) want to create as safe environment for players as they possibly can.

The PGCB works to provide education, outreach and prevention options to anyone that may be affected by a gambling disorder.

The PGCB has an Office of Compulsive and Problem Gambling that works both on the state and federal level to make sure they have the ability to help problem gamblers.

Thanks to the PGCB, you can join the Self Exclusion program if you don’t trust yourself not to gamble within your means. You can prevent yourself from igaming, fantasy contests, and video gaming terminals.

You can go here for more help and resources thanks to the new PA government website Responsible Play PA. The self-exclusion register can be found here.

To date, over 16,000 people have self-excluded in PA banning themselves from casinos for 1-year, 5-years or a lifetime—which goes to show the program is working and that having this in place for players who see behavior in themselves is important to keep gambling fun and preventing harm.

The PGCB is also the first state regulator to be part of the PlayPause program, a new initiative set up to allow players to ban themselves from online igaming sites in all jurisdictions that participate in the program.

It allows players to simply and easily limit their online play or spend in fantasy contests, online casino games, online poker, and/or online sports wagering.

You can call the PGCB Helpline: 1-800-GAMBLER for immediate assistance or visit the PGCB directly.

Responsible Gambling: Michigan

Like PA, the state of Michigan has the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) that makes sure players in the state are protected when they decide to play online. A Compulsive Gaming Prevention Fund has been set up to help problem gamblers seek help.

In addition the MGCB has created a Disassociated Person’s list which basically is another term to describe how to self-exclude; and once filled in prevents players from visiting live Detroit casinos under law.

Interestingly MGCB also offer the players to highlight any unlawful activity they think has happened on online gambling sites. Players may file a written complaint with the relevant operator or platform provider if you believe the internet gaming law or the site’s terms of service were not followed. You can go here for more information.

You can call 1-800-270-7117 to access the Michigan Problem Gambling Helpline and is strictly confidential.

Responsible Gaming: New Jersey

It is legal to play online poker, casino and sports in the state of New Jersey and is regulated by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) —which is mandated to keep operators and casino to a high standard of accountability when keeping players and their funds safe.

New Jersey has set up a lot of provisions to help with problem gambling.

A non-for-profit organization has been set up called the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, Inc to provide education and referral services for people affected by a gambling problem. Free webinars are currently running offering support for a variety of gambling addictions.

“The Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey works collaboratively with the DGE to offer the self-exclusion program covering Internet as well as land-based casino gambling. This can be a very valuable tool for individual’s struggling with problems as result of their gambling,” it reads of the DGE website.

Like seen over in Michigan, NJ offers players the ability to register a complaint with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) so that issues can be flagged.

Self-exclusion programs run in the state and you can go here to self-exclude for both online and live casinos.

Once you have self-excluded you can expect the following: For bricks and mortar casinos the DGE will share a photo and description of you to each casino and you will be removed of casino mailing and promotional marketing lists.

For self-excluding from an online casino the DGE will share your player account details or provide your self-exclusion application with each casino licensed with the DGE.

You can call the statewide Gamblers Anonymous on 855-222-5542 for impartial help.

Responsible Gambling: Nevada

Gambling should be fun, and for a lot of people it is—with Vegas the world’s largest tourist destination for gambling. Online gambling is permitted too, though limited to just online poker and mobile sports betting.

It’s worth remembering that gambling should be seen a form of entertainment and as such, when it stops becoming fun, you should stop gambling.

The Nevada Council of Problem Gambling is a non-profit set up to help the residents of Nevada with any problems that arise from troubling gambling habits.

“Our goal is to get people talking about this important community health issue that may affect up to 6% of Nevada adults, that’s an estimated 142,000 people who may be suffering the negative emotional, financial and personal consequences of a gambling problem. The impact of this disorder affects countless others around the gambler – friends, family, children, and all segments of the community.”

For a confidential conversation you can call Problem Gamblers Helpline: 1-800-522-4700 for immediate help.

Responsible Gambling: Delaware

Live and online casinos in Delaware are linked to Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway & Casino and are the only legal places to gamble in the State.

If you reside in Delaware and are suffering from the effects of problem gambling you can call the Delaware Council on Gambling Problems Helpline on 1-888-850-8888 which is open 24 hours, 7 days a week.

Or you can self-exclude from live and online casinos on their respective online websites. Go here to find the Self Exclusion forms for each of the racinos.

You can also check out the DE Problem Gambling site that has tons of information to help with any gambling problems you might have. Currently support meetings are now being offered via Zoom.

If you know of someone with a gambling problem, the DE Problem Gambling council can help as they also provide free and confidential treatment services for family members of problem gamblers, not just the gamblers themselves.

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Please play responsibly. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call 1-800 GAMBLER.