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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.