HomeCalifornia Responsible Gambling

California responsible gambling

In today’s piece, you will be taught everything you need to know about California responsible gambling, including what responsible gambling is, problem gambling resources in CA, and much more.

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With both brick-and-mortar (in-person) and online gambling sweeping across the country at a rapid rate, so are the problems that come with both. More people than ever have more ways than ever to gamble, and for some, that can become a major problem. 

In response, both state and nationally run entities have been set up to help solve the problems that come with nearly unlimited gambling options. Today, we dive into the resources for responsible gambling in California, detailing the exact steps you can take if you or someone you know starts to feel they have a problem.

What is responsible gambling?

Simply put, responsible gambling means that when you gamble, you are doing so within your limits and not overextending yourself; both financially and emotionally. First and foremost, you should view gambling for what it is, a source of entertainment just as going to sporting events or playing golf could be. In turn, you should not consider gambling as a source of real income that you need to help pay your bills.

Taking breaks from gambling is another path to responsible gambling in California, as is never allowing yourself to wager with funds you can’t afford to lose. Another good way to ensure that you are responsibly gambling in California is to set limits on yourself, both in the amount of money you gamble with and for how long you play.

Problem Gambling Resources in California

There is no shortage of options when it comes to getting help with your gambling habits in the Golden State. Below are just a few of the problem gambling resources in California available today.

Putting yourself on the self-exclusion list bans you from entering a CA casino, or cardroom and registering for online gambling accounts. You can put yourself on the self-exclusion list for 30 days, 90 days, 1 year, or for the rest of your life. Do note, that once you are on the list at the chosen length, you can not under any circumstance be taken off during that time frame.

Nationwide resources for problem gambling

If you don’t think that responsible gambling in California resources has gone far enough, there are also some national programs you can get involved with. Below are a few of the nationwide resources for problem gambling available to you or someone you know as soon as today.

National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG)

  • Founded in 1972, the NCPG is designed to advocate for programs and services to help people and their families dealing with problem gambling. Since forming, they have taken a neutral stance in getting involved in the state’s legalization of gambling, and simply exist to assist federal and state governments in dealing with problem gamblers.
  • They can be reached via phone or text (1-800-522-4700), live chat (NCPGambling.org/chat), and even on X (@NCPGambling)

Gamblers Anonymous

A 12-step program that is similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous groups across the country host free meetings regularly. While they do accept voluntary donations, the group is free to join and is designed to help people through shared experiences and social support overcome their problem gambling. One of the best responsible gambling in California resources, the CA branch can be reached at:

  • Central Valley Hotline Number: 855-2CALLGA (855-222-5542)
  • Inland Empire Hotline Number: 855-2CALLGA (855-222-5542)
  • Northern California Hotline Number: 855-2CALLGA (855-222-5542)
  • Orange County Hotline Number: 855-2CALLGA (855-222-5542)
  • Palm Springs Hotline Number: (760) 325-2808
  • Sacramento Hotline Number: 855-2CALLGA (855-222-5542)
  • San Diego Hotline Number: 855-2CALLGA (855-222-5542)
  • Southern California Hotline Number: 855-2CALLGA (855-222-5542)


If you prefer to start your responsible gambling in California journey exclusively online, GamTalk might be the path for you. An online community that offers a variety of support services for problem gamblers, its users share their journeys, give advice to each other, and provide step-by-step instructions on how to get help. A completely free website to join, people can access a 24/7 live chat feature day and night.

Top tips for gambling responsibly

For those prone to problem gambling, it can be a slippery slope on the path to responsible gambling in responsibly. Let’s look at a few top tips for gambling responsibly in CA.

  • Assume You Will Lose: Whenever you start gambling in California, whether it be in a poker room or a horse track, assume all the money you are gambling with will be lost. The idea of this approach is to only gamble with what you can afford to lose. If the amount of money you lose gambling affects your (or your family’s) lifestyle in any way, you are not gambling responsibly.
  • Take Breaks: One of my go-to strategies for limiting any problem gambling is to take breaks from gambling completely. Assign another activity (or activities) to replace gambling when you start feeling the urge to get back into it, such as going to the gym or for a run. The key to taking a break is finding another activity to do to replace the times of the day and week you normally would be gambling.
  • Only Gamble Sober: Gambling responsibly can already be a slippery slope for some. Add alcohol to the mix, and for most, responsible gambling patterns go out the window. Make a rule for yourself to not gamble while under the influence of alcohol, as it can not only impair your judgment but make you impulsive.

Warning signs for gambling problems

If you believe you or someone you know might have a problem with gambling, there are a few telltale signs to look out for. Below are just a few of the warning signs for gambling problems that you should be aware of.

  • Lying About Bet Size or Volume: Just like with any addiction, those in throws of it will often do anything they can to hide it from those closest to them. If you or someone you know is lying about the amount of money they wager with, or how often they bet, this is a big red flag. It inherently shows that the person is trying to hide the extent of their gambling.
  • Ignoring Bills: Another telltale sign of a problem gambler is that they begin to ignore financial obligations and their mounting stack of bills. Always convinced that their next score is going to settle all their problems, they’ll reallocate money that should be going to bills to gamble with. This can kick off a litany of more issues from repossession of their cars or homes, to utilities at their home being shut off.
  • Mood Swings: If someone’s day-to-day mood varies based on how their gambling is going, they are likely betting with more than they can comfortably afford to lose. It also shows that their gambling has spread beyond innocent entertainment, and is now affecting their mental health in a real way. If their downswings begin to lead to them skipping social events and other engagements, it is a sign they should reach out to responsible gambling in California resources.

Responsible gaming best practices for gambling operators

With more legal gambling companies than ever currently operating in the United States, they should also bear some of the responsibility when it comes to responsible gambling. Here are a few of the responsible gaming best practices for gambling operators.

  • Provide Free Resources: Every gambling operator should have a section of their website dedicated to providing free education-based resources on problem gambling. It should contain much of what we covered above, including the warning signs of problem gambling, where to get help when you need it, and the top tips for preventing problem gambling. It should also in very plain English describe what could happen if you can’t reign in your problem gambling behavior.
  • Self-Exclusion List: Every state that has legal gambling has a Self-Exclusion List, and gambling operators should be very clear about their availability. With time frames ranging from a month to a lifetime, Self-Exclusion Lists are state-registered databases for people who have problems gambling to put themselves on. Once you go through the registration process to be put on the list, you can not be taken off during the timeframe you have selected, for any reason.
  • Monitor Patterns: Gambling operators have access to, and use, enormous amounts of data about their customer base. One of the steps they can take is when they notice an account is constantly depositing and losing money, they can reach out to ensure they are gambling responsibly. While it is difficult to know everyone’s exact financial situation, there are patterns they can note that would identify compulsive gambling.


Just like any addiction, the earlier you get ahead of problem gambling the better off you will be in the long run. Gambling is one of the more difficult addictions to reign in, as because there is no physical damage, people might underestimate just how dangerous it can be.

If you or someone you know might have a problem gambling, it's better to be safe than sorry, and at least be aware of the responsible gambling in California resources available to you. Noted above, there are both state and nationally-backed resources available to help you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Most importantly, you should not be ashamed or embarrassed to seek help, and if you do, know that all of the resources noted today are 100% private and confidential. If you don’t think you can be part of responsible gambling in California, you shouldn’t start gambling at all.


Is gambling addiction a common issue in the state?

Yes, according to the California Department of Public Health, one million of the estimated seven million gamblers in the state suffer from problem gambling.

Can I voluntarily exclude myself from California casinos and betting establishments?

Yes, you can voluntarily exclude yourself from California casinos and betting establishments by signing up for the California Self-Exclusion List. Once you are on this list, for the time frame selected, you can not be taken off the list for any reason.

Are there age restrictions for gambling in California to prevent minors from participating?

Yes, the age minimum for gambling in California is 18 years of age or older, with the horse race tracks and off-track betting locations in the state being the only places for 18-year-olds to gamble.

Can I set personal limits on my gambling activities in California?

Yes, you can and should set personal limits on your gambling activities in California.

Are there financial assistance programs for individuals who need help with gambling debts?

No, there are no state-backed financial assistance programs for individuals who need help with gambling debts.