While recreational gambling can indeed be a fun and enjoyable experience, it is not always the case for every player. Just as Sidelines is dedicated to ensuring users get the maximum value and entertainment experience, we are as dedicated to ensuring that users get the help and support they need to enjoy sports betting responsibly. Here you will find information and resources regarding the health effects and financial implications involved with sports betting and gambling in general. Additionally, you will also find information regarding safe and secure online betting in order to stay legally protected.
In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (colloquially known as the DSM-5), the American Psychiatric Association (APA) describes problem gambling as involving “repeated problematic gambling behavior that causes significant problems or distress. It is also called gambling addiction or compulsive gambling.” The effects of such a disorder can negatively impact finances, personal and professional relationships, and can even lead to legal problems.
While an official diagnosis of a gambling problem should be left to professionals, the APA also includes a list of symptoms for those who believe they, or a loved one, suffer from problem gambling. As such, anyone who has experienced four of the following situations in the past year is encouraged to seek out professional help.
It is also important to note that there is no one blanket definition of what constitutes gambling addiction, as many people experience different symptoms and severity. For example, binge gambling disorder is characterized by prolonged periods of no gambling whatsoever, yet as a result of one or more specific triggers, can manifest into a sustained, high-intensity gambling bender in which people cannot control their impulses.
If you or a loved one are seeking gambling addiction help, there are a number of resources you can access for assistance. While there are national associations that can offer treatment options, it is important to mention that there are also a number of state-specific resources that can help. As listed on Sidelines website and on all of our partners, those seeking help can call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ, WV, PA), or 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 800-889-9789 (TN), 1-800-270-7117 (MI), or 1-800-522-4700 (CO).
In terms of national-level resources, one of the biggest treatment associations is the Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), which offers a variety of treatment programs and options. Moreover, they also offer affiliate-based treatment programs in 35 states.
Like many online goods and services, online gambling is not without risk. However, the vast majority of these risks can be alleviated by betting with only legal and regulated operators within (and under the purview of) the United States. One of the most common concerns among prospective players is the fear of being ripped off or cheated by sites when it comes to payouts. Yet, online sportsbooks and/or casinos based in the United States and regulated by the relevant authorities ensure customer safety and a reliable mechanism for oversight. However, operations based offshore and unregulated by government agencies present an inherent risk to players. Sidelines is connected with only 100% legal and trustworthy sportsbooks that are regulated by the federal government and state gaming authorities to ensure a safe and fun experience.
Before depositing money with an online gambling operation, there are several things players are encouraged to check in order to ascertain the legitimacy of a site. Here is a list of useful tips:
Player safety does not end once players have established the safety, security, legality, and legitimacy of a given brand. While the aforementioned items are meant to protect players from malicious intent committed by a third party, good and reputable brands will also maintain mechanisms to protect players from themselves. Examples include account limits, self-imposed suspension and exclusion, options to easily close accounts, and more.
Every responsible bettor knows that gambling with real money involves risk. That is why it is imperative for players to gamble well within their means. While the vast majority of players gamble casually for entertainment purposes, those who make online betting more of a hobby than a rarity can set self-imposed limits in regards to funds and time spent online.
Session limits are features provided by betting sites in which players can impose limits on the number of hours spent on the site’s platform. When players opt in for such a service, they can generally choose a maximum number of hours spent on the site within a 24-hour period. Counters can activate upon login and deactivate upon logout, or be for a blanket period of time regardless of activity.
As the name would suggest, deposit limits are self-imposed budget restrictions on the amount of funds players are able to deposit in their operator account over a given period of time. Depending on the site, time limits for deposits can be for periods as brief as 24 hours, to longer-term periods such as weekly or even monthly. However, players should be aware that while it is possible to adjust limits as you go, you will only be able to adjust them once the first limit has expired. Meaning, if you set a $500 deposit limit over a week, you will only be able to make adjustments to your limit on the 8th day.
Spend limits are a form of self-imposed budgeting that enables players to put a hard limit on allowable losses over a set period of time. Similar to deposit limits, players who elect to limit their spending can typically choose time periods as brief as 24 hours, to longer-term periods such as weekly or even monthly. Once players approach their limits, the operator will notify the bettor and block transactions that pass the maximum allowable limit.