Responsible Gambling in Pennsylvania

Fact Checked by Jeremy Botter

Responsible gambling is a topic taking over online gambling, and with good reason. Gambling can be fun, but a few people will become problematic gamblers. This is true for a gambling addict or people with other addictions in their chosen vice. With several avenues out there now for people to gamble through and with the ease of depositing their cash through online portals, it's vital that responsible gambling is regulated in Pennsylvania and beyond. This is where the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board comes in.

We need resources and help for the small percentage of gamblers who will be afflicted by problem gambling. As the sports betting and online casino space grows, more and more attention is being given to responsible gaming, both online and in land-based casinos and sportsbooks.

Responsible Gambling Initiatives

Compulsive gambling is a real problem in online betting. The fix isn't banning problem gamblers or interactive gaming services; it's educating people on compulsive and problem gambling. We need to do this before gambling problems arise.

Since sports betting went live in the US and PA, we've seen several initiatives for problem gambling, from self-exclusion and self-imposed limits tools coming into the National Council on Problem Gambling being formed. Pennsylvania has the Council on Compulsive Gambling of Pennsylvania, and other resources and helplines exist. The National Problem Gambling Helpline has been set up for gamblers across the US.

We've even seen a clamp down on using certain promotional language like "Free Bets". We can place ourselves on a self-exclusion list throughout gambling establishments in Pennsylvania or go on a cool-off period to stop gambling or worrisome gambling behavior. Support groups like Gamblers Anonymous have been set up throughout Pennsylvania and beyond. Consider joining a self-exclusion list if you think you might have a gambling problem.

Marketing Practices

We mentioned that using certain language is prohibited, based on the promotion of bonuses and offers of "free" money or "no risk" bets. We want to play responsibly from the word go. To do this, it's in the interest of fairness to both parties that any promotions are clear, and the use of misguided terminology is ended early, whether it's sportsbook or casino entertainment the person is after.

Bonus bets and bet credits are the new buzzwords and probably describe more accurately the rewards offered at the sportsbooks and online casinos given terms and conditions. Certain hidden criteria will always apply to these bonus bets. When an online gaming establishment promotes offers, it must adhere to strict marketing guidelines and clearly show the terms and conditions associated with the bonus credits. It's up to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to monitor these practices in the state.

Problem Gambling Controls

Several tools and resources are available for problem gamblers and family members, including a self-exclusion program, self-exclusion lists, blocks, discretionary time limits, and deposit limits to stop us from chasing losses and spending too much money. National organizations have been set up like a nonprofit organization or the PGCB office in PA. If you join a self-exclusion program, you can get self-excluded from any casino or betting outlet in Pennsylvania upon completed request.


If we want self-exclusion and to join a sportsbook or casino self-exclusion list, the means exist for us. There's no shame in being self-excluded from a casino or other gambling services. Gambling responsibly and strict management of underage gambling is required. If you seek self-exclusion, then it's easy to self-exclude through links on the gambling website. Self-exclusion is a formal process whereby you request the betting operator to prevent you from being able to access their products or services for a specified period. It might seem a little extreme, but if you have a gambling problem, it could be the only viable option.

Place your name on the self-exclusion list, and you can no longer place bets or collect any winnings in those venues. Self-exclusion usually applies for at least one year, but participants can choose the timeframe that best helps them manage their problem gambling. Self-exclusion lists are not considered contracts and are not enforceable under current law. Through participation in a self-exclusion list or if a person has self-excluded from any establishment in Pennsylvania, that individual allows staff and management to physically remove them from the venue.

Join a Self-Exclusion list.

Formal process but not a binding contract by law.

Ban yourself from a venue.

Gambling time limits

In limit-setting, people can set time limits and depositing or spending limits before they gamble. setting limits is typically done on online sportsbooks or casinos. Gamblers choose to limit the amount of time they spend gambling in a session by pre-determining how much time they want to spend wagering. Many winning players won't use time limits and are mainly in place to help set strict guidelines. Time limit setting is not the most used type amongst interactive gamers and people with a gambling problem.

Spending limits 

Spending limits are in place to restrict the amount of money you can spend on the gamble in a particular timeframe. Many people have borrowed money to fund their online gambling addiction. If you are one of the problem gamblers who borrow money to fund your habit, please be aware that help is now available for you so that those gambling losses may go no further. We can toggle our spending limits on the gaming website to align with our bankroll and timeframes. If you're setting spending limits, watch for other warning signs of problem gambling yourself, or if you're a family member of a person who claims they bet for entertainment purposes, keep an eye out.

Deposit controls 

Setting deposit limits - daily, weekly, or monthly- can help us control our gambling and ensure it remains for entertainment purposes only. It's like setting spending limits, and it controls our spending over a certain timeframe. It's easy to get carried away chasing our losses on the gaming floor or online when we get tired or upset. This can be called "Tilting" or "going on tilt," many people it happens to may not even realize they have a gambling problem. It may be wise to use deposit controls to our advantage.

Self-assessment tools 

Self-assessment tools should be available on all online betting sites, such as easily monitoring your spending, profit, and loss. We can set spending and deposit limits by timeframe, but the bare figures should be in front of us in a particular account section dedicated to self-assessment. If this were the case, an individual seeking exclusion might become less common, while compulsive and problem gambling might be stopped before it starts in many cases. It's amazing how many losing gamblers believe they can gamble profitably and record winnings over the longer term. The fact is that less than 2% of people who gamble are counting their winnings over a longer period.

  • Profit and loss figures.
  • Deposit totals.
  • Weekly and monthly spending.
  • Total Withdrawal amount processed.

Best Practices from Online Casinos

With the dishing out of bonuses and promotions, and with players accepting complimentary gifts, etc., through rewards programs, strict problem gambling practices must be implemented, and rigid guidelines must be adhered to at online casinos and sportsbooks. Every regulated betting brand will have a responsible gambling page set up and customer support agents to talk to around the clock.


Caesars' responsible gaming program focuses on the social impact of gambling and pays particular attention to the following:

  • Preventing problem gambling
  • Preventing underage gambling
  • Ensuring that gambling is conducted through the Caesars' website in a fair and open way


FanDuel offers a range of different options that can be used to manage gaming activity on the site. They also have a dedicated video channel that walks through all the warning signs of problem gambling and educates the gambler on gambling responsibly. There is an emphasis on their responsible gaming tools:

  • Tools that allow you to set deposit or wagering limits
  • Time limits to help you control how much time you spend gaming
  • The option to exclude yourself from gaming for some time


BetMGM and their responsible gambling pages ensure that they speak openly about the warning signs of problem gambling and gambling addiction, and they ensure that all their customers have access to details of helplines and links to resources should they need help. Customer support agents are there around the clock to help.

How to Choose a Safe Betting Site in Pennsylvania

We need to choose a licensed and regulated betting site over an offshore site to remain on the road to responsible gaming. Stick to our reviews, reports, and guidelines on Pennsylvania's best-legalized sportsbooks and casinos. Check out the ratings and reviews for all the popular Pennsylvania sports betting apps and PA online casinos for interactive gaming. We want to pick a website with several deposit methods, quick withdrawal processing times, strong customer support, and sites that use the latest SSL technology and two-factor authentication (2Fa).

Problem Gambling Helpline in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board provides educational materials and a comprehensive list of resources for individuals seeking help. In Pennsylvania, responsible gambling is paramount, and you can call The Council on Compulsive Gambling of PA helpline at 1-800-GAMBLER or email Contact the Board’s Office of Compulsive and Problem Gambling or go further afield with a national group set up to help problem gambling, like the National Council on Problem Gambling.

If you suspect someone you know has a gambling problem, don’t wait for the problem to get worse. Low-cost problem gambling treatment is also available through the PA Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs for persons with a gambling addiction or their family members.

Pennsylvania Problem Gambling Resources

All these resources are available to those who need help, advice, or treatment in Pennsylvania and are provided by the PGCB. See some of the best resources and hotlines below:

  • Call the Council on Compulsive Gambling of PA's confidential helpline at 1-800-GAMBLER
  • National Council on Problem Gambling: or call 1-800-522-4700
  • The Board’s Office of Compulsive and Problem Gambling: [email protected] or call 717-346-8300.
  • Check out the PA Department of Drug and Alcohol’s Gambling Addiction Participating Providers List
  • See Gambler’s Anonymous of PA for meeting and group addiction therapy.


Bryan Nicholson

Bryan Nicholson is the author of "ANGLES & EDGES: A Journey through the Evolution of Golf Betting and the Markets" and owner of the handicapping service 'Nick's Picks'. The world-renowned golf betting expert gladly expands his expertise into covering other top markets like odds boosts and moneyline bets.

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