Gambling should be a bit of fun, affordable and voluntary without being compulsive. The difference between gambling and other addictions is that on a single daily basis you can spend sums of money that could damage your finances and well-being for years, with all the negative consequences that this could have on your family, mental health and personal relationships. Responsible gambling is a must.
Fortunately the UKGC (United Kingdom Gambling Commission) have set rules about responsible gambling limitations that all UKGC-licensed casinos should offer, namely deposit limits, loss limits, temporary breaks and finally self-exclusion. Most casinos will have these easily accessible in your account and they are set instantly and automatically by yourself. There are few though that are obstructive and for example delay the process by you needing to contact Customer Services or e-mail support. This is not what was intended by the UKGC RG terms but due to loopholes in the wording some less reputable sites still delay matters when the problem gambler is in ‘the zone’ and really needs to stop there and then. Not good, but again these are a small minority.
Exclusion online should theoretically be simple due to information being checked via software the casinos use, unlike in Land-Based bookies whereby it relies on a form with a photograph that the busy clerk may not be able to see all the while, or the person you handed the form in to isn’t always in the shop. Remember, if you exclude from one casino under a license, you cannot play at the rest sharing it, or White Label sites. If you do, your bets should be voided and refunded and no winning paid or deposits kept. Unfortunately until casinos sharing the same licence are compelled to list their co-licensees this problem will continue to recur.
Tactics To Stay In Control:
Many sites will offer you a deposit limit option while you are signing up via their responsible gambling box. If not, set one before you play if you need to do so. Some casinos encourage irresponsible gambling by making sure any winnings you withdraw are available for reversal as long as possible to exploit the feelgood factor after a win, and allow you to play it back – so don’t! You can get around this by using the TAB (Take-a-Break) tool in the account. For example, if the casino doesn’t process for 2 working days, then TAB for 3 days so your withdrawal will be processed before you can log-in again. If they don’t process at weekends, then add 2 more days to this TAB to be safe. If you need to submit documents they will ask via e-mail so you can still do this while under the TAB as it doesn’t involve logging-in to your account.
Handling Big Wins:
Sometimes we all get lucky and a small deposit can turn into hundreds or even thousands of Pounds. It may be tempting to raise stakes to say £10 or even £20 a spin knowing that this is coming from your profits thus far. THINK! Get your wallet or purse and put it on the table and take out 40p or whichever small stake you started with. Then take out a £10 or £20 note and THINK! this is what you are spending each spin and that each time you do this, a few gallons of petrol or a day’s food shop is what you’re betting! Stay in perspective at all times, it helps responsible gambling. Withdraw you winnings!
It’s Still Money:
Webwallets which can be loaded with a credit card, or credit cards themselves can be dangerous to responsible gambling – all you see are numbers going out and then appearing in the game balance. Think of this in terms of what the cash in notes would look like, because that’s what it is! One day’s play could take years to pay back if you lose control; the money may be invisible when you load up, but it’ll soon become very visible, for a very long time when that statement arrives.
Set a deposit limit BEFORE playing.
Set a budget that you can afford, and only that.
Set yourself a withdrawal target and stick to it, i.e. when the deposit is doubled.
Use the TAB if the casino is tardy with withdrawals and you know your level of temptation.
Do not use credit cards or gamble on other forms of borrowing – it isn’t clever!
Don’t be afraid the self-exclude if your spending is causing issues.
Do not re-deposit to chase your initial loss – write it off and move on.
Do not play if under the influence or depressed – gambling should not be a form of escapism.
Latest – A Free and Effective Gambling Prevention Combination now Available:
There has previously been issues with many gambling prevention tools, including computer functionality, cost and effectiveness. GamBlock was the first effective tool as far as devices went but the obvious issues were the significant cost and the fact it was device-specific. It also had issues where your PC could shut down just for reading a news article about a lottery winner of gambling sponsorship in sport.
As you can see from the logo below, there is now a free tool BetBlocker which is also a registered charity in its own right. This again is device-specific and won’t stop gambling on a device where it’s not installed, but it will not affect news url’s for example as I mentioned above. It is also free and can be downloaded to as many devices as you have, mobile, desktop and tablet. It works by via a constantly-updated list of thousands of gambling url’s and websites but there’s always a risk the problem gambler can avail themselves of another device, so if you are in the process of assisting a friend or family member make sure it’s installed on all that you are aware of. If it’s not, you then (if in the UK) have a national register to assist with gambling avoidance.
The UK now has a national self-exclusion scheme where problem gamblers or those wishing to take a long break can register their details including name, address and D.O.B. The loophole here is that only UKGC licensed gambling sites are obliged to apply it and people have observed they can gamble if changing their details slightly at a new casino although this is futile as when withdrawal checks are made it will result in deposits refunded and NO winnings paid! The obvious other flaw is that criminal unlicensed casinos will happily take UK players’ money and are not only liable to not pay their winners, provide fake and rigged games and impose no responsible gambling restraints but also are outside the reach of any European jurisdiction. It’s not foolproof alas.
Rogue Casino Affiliates:
Alas some unethical, rule-breaking and greedy casino affiliates are aware that problem gamblers who are excluded will seek out casinos in search engines that are NOT on the GamStop scheme by searching for ‘casinos not on gamstop’ for example. These vermin know that the urges of the PG can lead them to spend and lose recklessly and see them as cash cows to send to the kind of casinos in the previous paragraph. You can report these affiliate sites, if you spot one, to the UKGC as any properly-licensed UKGC casino should not be having advertising partners who act in breach of advertising codes and Gambling Regulations, even if their particular casino is not one outside of the GamStop scheme!
I would highly recommend that you as a problem gambler, or any family member assisting one, close both doors!
Firstly, register with the UK GamStop programme to prevent play at UKGC sites and at the same time install BetBlocker on all devices which like GamStop can be for a specific period of say 6 months or 5 years. This should ensure the PG doesn’t have access to either licensed sites or overseas rogue casinos which are prevented via the BetBlocker tool.
Whilst no system will be 100% effective in stopping those determined to gamble, I strongly recommend that you take the action contained here and use BOTH free tools in unison to be as near to total abstinence as you can hope to achieve online. If you are reading this and have gambling issues, I wish you well in your journey to recovery. Both tools can be accessed through the BetBlocker and GamStop logos below.
Free Prevention Available:
You can download a free and very effective blocking app from Betblocker if necessary!
Betblocker app is FREE, anonymous and you can download it as many times as you like to all your devices. You will not be able to access gambling urls and domains for a pre-set period of a day to 5 years. You cannot shorten this period and cannot remove it – if you want to quit, Betblocker STOPS your online gambling. Period.
The UK National Self-Exclusion Database
GamStop is the new UK-wide self-exclusion scheme whereby UKGC licensees will use their GamStop database to prevent any UK resident from gambling online. You register and choose a period of 6 months, 12 months or 5 years. It only works for UKGC licensed sites though. This is a must-use tool for any UK resident needing to avoid gambling online.
Use the above free helpline or get advice and help from Gambleaware or Gamcare if gambling has become an issue for you! STOP!