Skip to content
Sponsored Content

Responsible Gambling Tips for Online Casino Players in Canada

More Canadians than ever are having fun wagering with casino games, whether that’s spinning roulette wheels or slots, or making cunning moves with poker and blackjack.

More Canadians than ever are having fun wagering with casino games, whether that’s spinning roulette wheels or slots, or making cunning moves with poker and blackjack. The thrill of winning and the highs and lows of luck ebbing and flowing makes the entertainment available at casinos a great way to amuse oneself. However, it’s important that the gaming is fun, safe, and responsible. If it leads to financial or psychological stress then it’s time to modify the pattern of one’s play, or to take a break.

Picking an Appropriate Bankroll

The first major financial choice a player makes when signing up at a new site is how much to deposit as playing funds (also known as the bankroll). This should be carefully considered. While it’s entirely possible to end up in the black and make profits with casino gaming, the reverse is true as well. Just as when considering a suitable budget for other pastimes, whether visiting the cinema or playing golf, a player should only deposit the sum they can comfortably afford to lose. Nobody wants to end up in the red, of course, but luck can happen in streaks and if that happens to be a losing streak then a bankroll can be whittled away rapidly.

If in doubt, deposit less rather than more. Erring on the side of caution will never put a player in a spot of financial trouble, whereas being blasé can lead to losing more than one ought (and, in turn, this leads some players to deposit more to try and win it back, which is very unwise). In the current economic climate saving is difficult which makes it all the more important to carefully consider the situation and not deposit too much.

Choosing the Right Stakes

Once the right amount to use as the bankroll has been selected, and the money has been deposited, players next need to determine the appropriate stakes for each wager. Naturally, the stakes should reflect the bankroll (betting half a bankroll is wildly excessive, but if a million dollars has been deposited a stake of $1 is faintly ridiculous). A good rule of thumb, and one which scales according to whether a bankroll is large or small (and if it grows or shrinks) is to use 1% or so of the bankroll as a stake on each given wager.

Regardless of judgment, players will sometimes encounter barren betting streaks or enjoy purple patches. A poker player can make the mathematically right call only to end up out of luck when the thousand to one shot another player was holding out for comes off. Slots can throw up consecutive wins, or multiple losses in a row. Because of this, it behooves a player well to be able to absorb numerous losses in a row and this can be achieved by the 1% guideline.

Using Casino Tools

When it comes to determining the right bankroll and individual stakes for any given player a degree of judgment and financial discipline is required. Many online casinos in Canada now support players in this with tools available in the settings of a player’s account. These can be used to set maximum limits for deposits, and for individual bets. Even for players who do not consider themselves at risk of crossing their personal financial lines these tools are well worth taking advantage of because they add an extra layer of assurance.

Whether through absentmindedness or emotional volatility, players sometimes do deposit excessively, either to begin with or by following up losses by immediately depositing more. Careful consideration of appropriate limits and then setting up restrictions in line with that is a good way of staying financially stable and ensuring betting is a source of fun rather than stress.

Play when Levelheaded

Staying on an even keel emotionally is good advice for life generally, and never more so than when considering betting. And this applies as much to feeling in an excessively good mood as feeling low. While it’s great to feel happy, when it comes to financial matters this can lead a player to be less concerned about losses and potential losses than they should be (which can rapidly change once the euphoria fades). Obviously, feeling depressed or angry can lead to poor decision-making, and it’s deeply unwise to transfer funds when in such a foul mood. This impairment also carries through to certain games, notably poker and blackjack, as these have low house edges but such low edges are reliant on the player making the right calls. If a player has compromised judgment and is making poor choices because they’re under stress then this will actively worsen their outcomes with such games, leading to frustration as well as losses, which can become a vicious circle.

At the other end of the scale, elation with either a big win or a series of wins in a row can cause overconfidence. This exuberance may lead a player to take riskier decisions or increase stakes (which may well be the point at which the worm turns and losses start being incurred).

Avoid ‘Clever’ Strategies

Sometimes players try to guarantee themselves profits over the course of a gaming session, or to tilt the odds to their liking, by making use of a seemingly compelling mathematical strategy. However, this is misleading to the point of deceit. If casinos could be beaten this way they would not exist because the business model would be fundamentally undermined.

One of the most popular of these is the Martingale strategy. The way this works is by doubling stakes after a loss (with wagers typically made in an approximately binary market, such as red or black in roulette). The idea is that sooner or later a win will occur and this will lead to a net profit of one initial stake, at which point the stakes are reset to the starting level. However, there are multiple problems with this approach. One is that every game has an upper limit and this can be hit relatively quickly. A second is that this obviously throws away the 1% of bankroll betting guideline and can rapidly reduce playing funds. And the worst is that any win will be small, but any loss will be devastating. This type of gaming is highly dangerous, with a high chance of a small profit, but the downside of any loss being enormous. It is simply not worth the risk.

Use Promotions Wisely

The competition between the leading online casinos means that promotions, particularly welcome bonuses, can be very generous. These include both no deposit special offers such as free spins or free cash, and match deposit bonuses. The latter are typically offered at a rate of 100% up to a threshold of a few hundred dollars (though some have even higher rates or thresholds). Players who make use of such promos can thereby effectively double their initial bankroll.

However, it’s always important to check the terms and conditions before leaping in with both feet. Most special offers feature the wagering requirement (also known as a playthrough requirement). This is the total sum that must be wagered prior to the possibility of withdrawing bonus funds and associated winnings, written as a multiple of the bonus’ total value. A $10 free cash promo with a 30x wagering requirement would need $300 of bets to be placed ahead of withdrawal. A prohibitively high WR (200x being atrocious, and 30x being a good average) makes a bonus far less valuable. Sometimes, a deal that seems too good to be true is precisely that thanks to the detail in the terms and conditions.

Use Responsible Gambling Resources

Beyond playing at online casinos that offer responsible gambling toolkits and behaving in a safe and sensible manner, players can also make use of numerous resources dedicated to supporting responsible play. These include the Responsible Gaming Council, a Canadian non-profit organization that fights against problem gambling. The OLG’s PlaySmart functions as a gambling encyclopedia with a focus on keeping gaming fun and safe, while Connex Ontario helps those in the province who are battling addictions and other mental health issues. Meanwhile, the Lower Risk Gambling Guidelines, developed by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA), aims at reducing the potential risks players face.

From setting sound betting limits to clever use of promotions, players can take a lot of steps to ensure casino gaming is fun rather than fraught.