At the Interface of (Ir)Responsible Online Gambling? Experiences and Practices of Recreational and Problem Gamblers


  • Jani Kinnunen University of Tampere, Finland
  • Maria Heiskanen


The concept of responsible gambling has been widely discussed in the academic literature in recent years. The actors of the gambling field use the concept with divergent nuances. The concept includes different levels which all aim at the prevention of gambling harm. First, it means socially responsible policies regulated by governments, in order to promote public health. Second, responsible gambling is linked to practices and tools which are utilized by gambling operators. Finally, ‘responsible gambling’ assumes that there is or the concept even creates a ‘responsible gambler’ who is able to manage his behavior in a responsible way.

Digital and networked gaming environments have made it possible to track and monitor all the player activities. This is evident especially in online environments. At the same time, new responsible gambling tools have been created and integrated into online gambling games and sites. These tools enable individual limits for money and time consumption of players. They are often voluntary but in some cases have predetermined maximum limits.

Responsible gambling emerges at the interface of recreational and problem gambling. In this paper, we study the responsible gambling tools of a Finnish and a foreign online gambling operator. For example, how big are the limits the players have to set before gambling? Based on the interview data, we will also analyze gambling experiences of 16 recreational gamblers and 17 problem gamblers and the practices they utilize to manage their consumption of money, time and other resources. The focus is on how players’ experiences and practices are connected with the tools and policies of gambling operators and how they reflect other levels of the concept of responsible gambling