Responsible Gambling

Learn all about Responsible Gambling and how online gambling sites can keep you safe, and what you can do if gambling has become a problem.

Online gambling is a favourite pastime for many people worldwide, and for most, it’s an exciting treat when guessing the outcome of their chosen team or landing an unexpected jackpot when playing slots.

In the UK, more people place a wager than in any other country; thankfully, the UK also has some of the strictest gambling laws in the world. Every bookmaker, gambling site and casino that operates in the UK has to, by law, promote responsible gambling.

But what is responsible gambling, and what are the safeguarding measures? This article will cover everything you need to know about responsible gambling, what bettings sites offer in terms of safeguarding and where you can get advice and help if gambling is becoming a problem.

What is responsible gambling?

Gambling is exhilarating. The thrill of a win releases a flood of dopamine and adrenaline into the brain, which feels great, and that’s without the extra cash in your pocket, but even some of the most determined and strong-willed people, this feeling can become addictive. This is why responsible gambling laws exist, not to stop you from gambling unless needed, but to guide you to make safer and more responsible choices before more dire steps are needed.

Contrary to popular belief, bookmakers and betting sites don’t want you to go broke or become addicted. That just doesn’t make financial sense to them. It would be much better for them if you safely and healthily continued to place bets over a lifetime. It’s a win-win scenario for both the betting site and the gambler.

Many tools are available to help you gamble responsibly, such as deposit limits, self exclusions, loss limits and cooling-off periods. All these tools and many more are available on betting sites under the law (UK Gambling Act 2014) and enforced by the UK Gambling Commission.

What and who is the Gambling Commission?

The Gambling Commission is the body responsible for gambling licencing and legislation and is independent of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. The gambling Commission regulates all aspects of gambling, such as bookmakers, bingo halls, casinos, the National Lottery, etc., under the Gambling Act 2005.

They are there to protect you, the consumer, through each step of the way while gambling, from checking on the validity of licencing of a gambling site and its reviews, from unethical behaviour, and even protect you from yourself.

What are the responsibilities of betting sites by law?

The gambling Act 2015 came into force on 1 November 2014. This act requires all entities that want to advertise or transact with gamblers to be licenced.

Gambling sites are required to:

  • Provide online time-outs, deposit limits and self-exclusion features.
  • Maintain technical standards such as RNG (random number generation),
  • Enforce all betting exclusions such as self-exclusions and assist and monitor those who may be affected with gambling problems.
  • Prevent the exploitation and harm of vulnerable people and children.
  • Ensure that gambling is fair.
  • Report criminal activity and not partake in criminal activity.
  • Adhere to the statutory regulations and the Gambling Act.

What do online gambling sites already do to aid in responsible Gambling?

Bookies get a lot of flack, as many people still believe they are out to track the regular Joe into lifelong gambling addiction. However, before the stricter laws came into play, four of the biggest bookmakers signed a code of conduct to protect their consumers. This voluntary code saw them agreeing on banning TV sign-up offers before 9 pm, removing the advertising of gambling machines in shop windows and devoting space to advertising for responsible gambling.

What repercussions are there for bookmakers who break the law?

The repercussions for bookies breaking the law are losing their licence and a ban on trading in the UK. The gambling Commission will, of course, try to resolve any issue, but if formal action occurs, then criminal proceedings can occur against the bookie or online casino. There are also enormous fines for those breaking or bending the rules worth millions of pounds.

What tools are available to promote responsible gambling?

As previously mentioned, there are tools to help you gamble responsibly. They won’t own their own stop you from gambling, but they certainly will help you.

Besides the tools we will list below, remember that the customer service operators are trained to answer your questions and assist with getting in touch with care providers.

  1. Self-Exclusion: All betting sites are required to have this feature. This allows you to exclude yourself from betting at this operator for anything from 24 hours to indefinitely. Once you exclude yourself, it cannot be undone. In most cases, if the bookie has a land-based betting shop, you will also be excluded.
  2. Cooling-off period: This is like self-exclusion, but for shorter time periods, even a few minutes. This gives the gambler a pause to think about their actions and how to proceed.
  3. Deposit limits and loss limits: This is one of the most straightforward tools to manage your bankroll and is available at every online betting site. You set a limit on how much you can bet per week or month, and if you reach that amount, you won’t be able to make another deposit until the allocated time expires. The same goes for loss limits. If you lose the set amount per week or month, you can no longer play until that time passes.
  4. Time outs, time restrictions and session timers: These great tools help to set timers on either your total time played per day or per session. Once you set these timers, they cannot be reset immediately.
  5. Partial exclusion: This tool lets you excuse yourself from certain parts of the site. For example, you can set it so you cannot play slots.
  6. Your customer history: Your betting history can be downloaded from the bookmaker or casino site. This can help you keep track of how long you spent at the site, what you played, and the amounts won and spent. This log can guide you to see where your problem areas are.
  7. Parental controls: It is illegal for both the player and casino to bet under the age of 18 as such online gambling sites will verify your identity and age before you play. There are also software packages available, such as Net Nanny, Cybersitter, Gam Block and Bet Filter, that prevent access to gambling websites.

What else can be done to protect yourself?

There are several things you can do to access if you need additional help or advice when gambling. The first is to self-access yourself and ask the hard questions like why am I betting? Are you lying to others about how often you bet? Is gambling harming your mental health? If the answers leave you concerned, you need to take steps by contacting customer service, any of the helpful resources we have below or your GP.

A diary of your bankroll and your budget can also help track your behaviour. If you are taking money from your rent, bills or food money, you need to take immediate steps such as self-exclusion and possibly contact a gambling counsellor. A simple way to manage your funds for gambling is placing the funds in a separate account, even a digital one such as PayPal or Skrill.

Reach out and talk to someone you trust. If this is not an option for you, you can speak to the betting site’s customer service or call a helpline. If you know someone who is experiencing gambling addiction and you know where the person gables, you can place a call to them, and they will investigate and lock the account until the investigation is completed.

Resources for gambling advice

  • GamCare: is a registered charity and provides confidential advice. Visit their website (https://www.gamcare.org.uk) or contact them toll-free at 0808 8020 133.
  • BeGambleAware: they provide advice and support for responsible gambling for all parties concerned. (https://www.begambleaware.org).
  • Gambling Therapy: is a non-profit organisation that helps problem gamblers (https://www.gamblingtherapy.org).
  • Gamblers Anonymous: is a telephone support service that offers counselling and support to all parties affected by gambling(https://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga)
  • Your GP: contact your GP if you are at all concerned about your gambling habits.

Conclusion

If you follow these steps and seek the appropriate help, you can keep safe and prevent life-changing losses. Remember to keep it light and, most importantly, that gambling should never cause emotional or mental stress.

FAQs

There are various resources available to those in the UK who need help with a gambling problem, such as BeGambleAware, and GamCare. Alternatively, you can find each and every resource on the gambling.com website.

Most online casinos or mobile betting apps allow you to set daily deposit limits on your account to keep things easy and fun.

Time away from the casinos and sportsbooks is a must for responsible gamblers. Most online casinos and mobile betting apps will allow you self exclude if you feel the need to.

People under the age of 18 are not allowed to gamble, whether it is online or at a casino. Players must produce an ID when they wish to gamble or place any bets.

Chris Grand
Chris Grand

Chris GrandHead of Content

I am a knowledgeable and accomplished writer specialising in the iGaming and gambling fields. Leveraging my many years of extensive casino, slots and sports betting knowledge to deliver high-quality content, which I carry through to my audience keeping them updated with the latest industry trends, technology and games. My aim is to deliver honest and true content to the benefit of the reader.