CCSA Releases World’s First Lower-Risk Gambling Guidelines

Canada’s Centre on Substance and Addiction (CCSA) recently published a list of three guideline it believes can help Canadians become responsible gamblers. The guidelines were compiled after details research and consultations with industry experts.

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Below are the guidelines and the expected benefits:

#1: Spend 1% of your Household Income

The CCSA’s first recommendation is to spend no more than 1% of your household’s monthly income before tax. If you earn $6000 before tax, the maximum you should spend, according to the CCSA, is $60.

If you’re married and live with a spouse who earns a similar amount, your household’s income is $12,000. In that case, you should gamble a maximum of $120 per month. That’s alright. The average Canadian spends $100 at casinos every month.

#2: Bet A Maximum of Four Days per Month

The CCSA believes Canadians need to limit their gambling to one day per week or four days per month to protect their finances. In all fairness, this directive can help a lot of Canadians manage how they gamble.

They could set a date for finding legit casino sites. Next, they can create a budget for spending on the specific day the decide to bet. That way, they’ll know how much money to spend every time they get into a casino.

#3: Avoid Gambling More than Two Game Types

If you’re a regular casino player, the CCSA believes it’s in your best interest to gamble one or two types of games maximum. The explanation is that specializing in a couple of games can help increase your chances of winning. But when you play multiple game types regularly, your chances of winning reduces. 

The CCSA did extensive research before publishing this guideline. And it makes sense. Most casino winners are experienced at one type of games, say poker or blackjack. They know the rules and requirements of their favourite games. And they have the techniques needed to increase their chances of winning.

In case you’re wondering, this is the research CCSA did before it compiled its three major gambling guidelines for Canadians:

  • Analyzing data from 60,000 gamblers in eight countries
  • Consultations with leading gambling research firms
  • Surveying 10,000 Canadians
  • Interviewing experts and focus groups in Canada
  • Collaborating with 20 experts that specialize in anti-gambling harm research

Are the CCSA Guidelines Effective?

The CCSA’s gambling recommendations can work in helping the average Canadian gamble responsibly. But it takes more than the three guidelines to bet safely. Below are more tips to play casino games responsibly:

1. Plan Ahead

Canadians play casino games for varying reasons. Some people do it because it’s fun. Others want to kill time, while some re after making money. Regardless, you need a plan to guide you when to gamble and what to do when you’re not at the casinos.

The reason is that lack of planning can tempt you to gamble irresponsibly. Let’s say you play slots to pass time. If you’re free for an entire day, you could easily get tempted to spend hours playing slots. But if you have a plan to do household chores, read a book and catch up with friends during the day, you’ll have less time for gambling.

2. Gamble at Trustworthy Casinos

All reputable websites offering casino games online have policies meant to promote responsible gambling. For example, they have tools you can use to set weekly spending limits. Or they can allow you to suspend your account if you believe gambling is taking a toll on you.

On the flip side, trustworthy casinos provide reliable services. They have high-quality games designed to payout regularly. This increases your chances of breaking even or making a profit. They’re easy to contact, generous with bonuses and secure. 

3. Play Casino Games for Entertainment

Although some people gamble as a profession, the majority of Canadians do it for fun. That’s because casino games are extremely challenging, especially if your goal is to beat the house. You see, most games have software that helps casinos make guaranteed profits.

In other words, the house has an edge over you. Even if you bet on a 50/50 outcome in roulette, the odds favour the casino. Of course, there’s always a chance you can win a lot of money from slots, blackjack or poker. But it’s never a guarantee. 

Due to that, it’s in your best interest to find a reliable source of income. Then use gambling as a way to entertain yourself through slots, or roulette. 

4. Don’t Chase Losses

Many gamblers spend excess time at casinos because they want to chase their losses. They believe they can’t lose continuously. And so, they keep gambling hoping for a big win. Unfortunately, this rarely happens. And as a result, you end up spending more money than necessary.

As a solution, create your casino goals. Maybe you plan to play 10 hands of blackjack with a $20 budget. If you’re unlucky, leave the casino. You’ll never get the temptation to spend beyond your budget.

5. Learn the Signs of Addiction

If you’re like many people, you would want to learn the warning signs of a serious problem. That way, you can react in good time to avoid adverse effects. In gambling, early warning signs are gambling with money meant for essentials. It also involves borrowing money to gamble, chasing losses and lying about your gambling habits.

When these signs kick in, you want to take a break from gambling. Spend this time thinking of how you can avoid addiction. Maybe you spend too much time at gambling. Learn a new hobby. Maybe you’re too emotional—find a reliable source of income. 


The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction wants you to limit your visit to casinos to a maximum of four days per month. It also suggests you use your household income to determine your gambling budget—1% of your gross income.

Finally, the CCSA believes you need to specialize in a maximum of two casino games to increase your chances of winning. As mentioned, use the tips we’ve shared to become a more responsible casino player.