Responsible Gambling Guide
Whether you enjoy trying your hand at blackjack or spinning slots, betting can be an exhilarating hobby. However, it is crucial to practice responsible gambling to ensure that it remains an enjoyable and safe experience.
So scroll down for expert tips, online tools, and a list of online casinos that promote responsible gambling to help you stay in control when placing bets.
What Is Responsible Gambling?
Responsible gambling means you wager within your financial means and treat the activity as entertainment - not a way to make money. It involves setting a budget you can afford and sticking to it. Therefore, responsible gamblers never chase losses, as this can lead to a vicious cycle of betting more and losing more.
What Is Problem Gambling?
The Gambling Commission, the UK's authoritative regulation body, outlines problem gambling as wagering that negatively impacts family, personal life, or recreational activities. It identifies a problem gambler as someone who faces negative repercussions and may lose control over their gambling habits.
What sets problem gamblers apart from low-risk or moderate-risk players is the severity of the damage inflicted by gambling and the extent of their compulsion.
UK Surveys indicate that approximately 0.5% to 3% of gamblers grapple with gambling addiction. To monitor the situation closely, the UKGC employs screening instruments like the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI). This data-driven approach helps the organisation form strategies to mitigate the issue.
How To Gamble Responsibly: Ten Tips
To keep your keep betting both fun and safe, follow these 10 top tips:
1. Never Rely on Gambling as a Source of Income
Keep it real. Gambling is primarily a form of entertainment. Treating it as a reliable income source is a risky move.
2. Track Time and Money
Ever lost track of time at a casino? Use a timer or alarm as a reality check. Apps and spreadsheets can help you monitor your spending and time commitment.
3. Set a Budget
Before you dive into the exhilarating world of casinos or online platforms, it's crucial to set financial boundaries. Crafting a sensible budget is your safest bet for both enjoying your time and practising responsible gambling.
Why Is a Budget Important?
Let's be clear. You don't want to jeopardise your financial well-being for a night at the casino. A budget serves as your financial safeguard, ensuring your gambling spend remains separate from your essential outgoings. It provides not only peace of mind but also keen insights into your gambling habits.
How to Create Your Monthly Gambling Budget
- Calculate Your Monthly Income: Tally up all your income sources to get an accurate monthly figure.
Total Monthly Income = Salary + Side Gigs + Other Income Sources
- Deduct Your Essential Expenses: Remove your necessary living costs from your monthly income, such as rent, groceries, utilities and other fixed payments.
Remaining Funds = Total Monthly Income - Essential Expenses
- Decide on a Percentage: Allocate a reasonable percentage of your leftover funds for gambling. The aim is to set aside a sum that doesn't interfere with your financial commitments.
Gambling Budget = Remaining Funds x (Allocated Percentage/100)
- Set up a Tracking System: Whether you're a fan of traditional logbooks or digital apps, keep an accurate record of all your gambling transactions, including deposits, wins and losses.
- Review and Adjust: At each month's end, scrutinise your logs. Have you stuck to your budget? If not, find the areas that need attention and tweak either your budget or habits accordingly.
Built-In Casino Budget Features
Many online platforms offer budgeting tools that can enhance your personal budgeting system. Features like deposit limits and self-exclusion can help you stay on track, ensuring you never exceed your budget.
By setting a budget and adhering to it, you not only elevate your gambling experiences but also ensure you're financially secure.
4. Bet Smart
Never bet more than you can afford. Aim to wager at most 1% of your total bankroll for a balanced approach.
5. Never Chase Losses
A losing bet isn't a sign to double down. Don't go chasing; it usually ends badly.
6. Learn the Rules
Whether it's poker or roulette, understanding the game improves your odds and decision-making.
7. Monitor Your Emotional State
Feeling stressed or down? Skip the betting. Emotions can impair your judgement.
8. Sobriety is Key
Drugs and alcohol cloud your decision-making. Keep a clear head when you're wagering.
9. Open a Dedicated Gaming Account
Financial clarity is crucial when you're gambling. Mixing your gaming funds with the money for your day-to-day expenses can create confusion and lead to poor decision-making. A solution? Open a separate account solely for your gaming activities. Digital wallets like PayPal and Skrill offer an ideal avenue for this.
Along with providing a layer of security between your main financial sources and gaming sites, many payment systems have features we can help you better manage your funds. Yet even just opening a dedicated gaming account makes it easier for you to monitor your wins and losses, as all gambling transactions are in one place.
10. Use Responsible Gambling Tools
New casino sites in the UK provide a variety of responsible gambling tools - such as time limits, budget monitors, etc. - to facilitate safe betting. Our iGaming experts recommend that you make the most of these features to help you stay in control of your gambling
Responsible Gambling Tools: An Overview
The following responsible gambling tools - which you can find at any of the new casino sites listed above - can help you stay safe when betting.
|Responsible Gambling Tool||Financial Control||Time Allocation||Social Responsibility|
|Game Time Reminder||x||✓||x|
|Minor Gambling Preventive Tools||x||x||✓|
|Responsible Gambling Advice||N/A||x||✓|
|Reverse Withdrawal Settings||✓||x||N/A|
|Trained Customer Support||x||x||✓|
Game Time Reminder
This feature sends you periodic notifications about your time on a game. While it doesn't help you control your finances or social responsibilities, it can help you keep track of how long you’ve been playing and determine how long is too long.
A Cooling-Off Limit allows you to take a short break from gambling, usually 24 hours to 6 weeks. This tool helps you maintain financial control and time allocation.
With this feature, you can view your past gaming activities. This is useful for both keeping track of your spending and evaluating how much time you're dedicating to gambling.
Similar to Cooling-Off Limits, Time-Out Options provide a break from gambling but for a shorter period. It assists in time allocation and can prevent you from chasing losses.
This tool allows you to set limits on how much you can deposit or bet. It's solely focused on helping you manage your financial resources.
This function limits how many automatic plays you can set up on games like slots. It aids in both time and financial management.
Through this tool, you can exclude yourself from gambling for a longer period, typically six months to a year. It's a comprehensive option, covering financial control, time allocation, and social responsibility.
As the name suggests, you can close your gambling account. This is a drastic measure but covers all three aspects: financial control, time management, and social responsibility.
This tool lets you set a maximum loss limit before you start gambling, allowing you to manage your finances better.
These are quizzes that evaluate your gambling behaviour. While they don't help with time or money management, they are effective for gauging your social responsibilities.
This tool enables you to set a time limit for each gambling session. It mainly helps in managing your time.
Minor Gambling Preventive Tools
These are tools designed to prevent underage gambling, thereby fulfilling a social responsibility.
Responsible Gambling Advice
Some platforms offer guidelines and tips for responsible gambling. While it doesn't directly help in time or financial management, it promotes social responsibility.
This feature lets you set a gambling budget and track it over time, focusing purely on financial control.
Reverse Withdrawal Settings
This allows you to cancel a withdrawal request within a specific time frame. It can be risky but offers some degree of financial control.
Trained Customer Support
Having access to a knowledgeable support team can be crucial for maintaining social responsibilities, as they can guide you towards responsible gambling practices.
A reality check is a pop-up that appears after you've been playing for a predetermined amount of time. Its main function is time management.
Trusted UK Casinos That Promote Responsible Gambling
Responsible Gambling Council (RGC)
The Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) champions the principle that gambling shouldn’t harm individuals or communities. Its core beliefs include:
- Every gambler should be aware of the inherent risks.
- Research can drive better practices and harm prevention.
- Public safety and wellbeing should be at the forefront of regulations.
A world where gambling comes without a human cost. This is anchored in two main pillars:
- Prevention: Stop gambling harms before they start.
- Mitigation: Offer effective solutions when problems arise.
They aim to unite people and organisations to reduce gambling's human impact. By driving dialogue and action, they help prevent gambling harm and provide necessary support.
How Can the RGC Help You?
If you're involved in the gambling industry or simply enjoy a flutter, the RGC offers resources and services that can benefit you:
- Training and advice to help you understand and manage risks.
- Accreditation for land-based and online gambling operations to ensure responsible practices.
- Community support for those affected by gambling.
How Operators Promote Responsible Gambling in the UK
Many top UK companies have come together to form the Betting & Gaming Council. Representing over 90% of UK betting and gaming businesses, they've set some clear rules:
- No gaming machine ads in betting shop windows.
- TV advertising of sign-up offers only after 9 p.m.
- At least 20% of ad space is dedicated to responsible gambling messages.
Their mission? Achieve these five key aims:
- Protect the youth from underage gambling.
- Boost support for those affected by gambling harm.
- Establish stronger codes for advertising and marketing.
- Empower and protect customers like you.
- Promote a safer gambling culture.
But that's not all. Online casinos in the UK also link to organisations dedicated to helping problem gamblers. Curious about these services? Scroll down to learn more.
Legal Requirements for Gambling Providers
Since November 1st, 2014, the Gambling Act 2014 has been in play. It mandates that all operators interacting with UK punters must have a gambling commission licence.
So, what do bookies need to do by law?
- Comply with the Gambling Act and its regulations.
- Report any criminal activities and uphold fairness in gambling.
- Shield children and vulnerable individuals from gambling harm.
- Follow responsible codes like self-exclusion and support those impacted by gambling issues.
- Meet technical standards, such as random number generation.
- Offer features like time-outs, deposit limits, and self-exclusion.
Different bookies might offer varied features, but they all aim to promote responsible gambling.
Gambling Operators That Have Broken the Law by Not Protecting CustomersBreaking the Law in the UK
If a gambling operator violates the law by facilitating irresponsible gambling, the UK Gambling Commission can revoke its license, effectively barring it from conducting business in the UK. This is a significant setback for any company, given the UK's market value of over £5.9 billion in 2021.
For instance, during the 2020-2021 financial year, the Gambling Commission suspended five operator licenses, revoked one operator license, and suspended nine personal management license holders. It also imposed more than £32.1 million in fines on fifteen gambling businesses, the highest amount of any previous year.
Gambling Operators Penalized for Irresponsible Gambling Practices
888 UK Limited Fined £9.4 Million
In March 2022, the UK Gambling Commission fined 888 UK Limited £9.4 million and issued an official warning after uncovering violations related to social responsibility and money laundering.
888 UK Limited, which operates 78 websites including 888.com, will undergo extensive independent auditing as a result.
According to a press release from the UK Gambling Commission, the company committed the following social responsibility failures:
- Not effectively identifying players at risk of harm because their policies determined financial checks should be carried out after a customer had deposited £40,000.
- Not carrying out a customer interaction with a customer who lost £37,000 in a six-week period during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Not taking into account the Commission’s formal guidance on customer interaction.
- Giving a customer they knew was an NHS worker earning £1,400 a month a monthly deposit cap of £1,300.
- Conducting interactions that predominantly consisted of an email detailing responsible gambling tools, which did not require a customer response.
- Not proactively placing restrictions on accounts where social responsibility concerns were raised, according to a Commission assessment.
- Not ensuring that if a customer has multiple accounts, those accounts are managed for customer interaction holistically, and financial limits can be implemented across all accounts. In one instance, a customer had one of his 11 accounts restricted because of Source of Funds (SOF) concerns but was allowed to open three more accounts and continue gambling.
Money laundering failures included:
- Implementing a policy where customers were allowed to deposit £40,000 before carrying out SOF checks.
- Accepting verbal assurances from customers regarding employment income and relying on open-source information to validate SOF.
- Not specifying which documents should be requested as part of SOF checks.
- Allowing one customer to spend £65,835 in just five months without SOF checks being carried out.
- Not effectively implementing its policies, which stated that customers have ten days to present SOF documentation before their account was restricted. In one case, a customer’s SOF was not requested until three weeks after the ten-day trigger, and they lost £15,000 during that period.
Betway fined £408,915
The UK Gambling Commission fined Betway Limited £408,915 for advertising on the children’s pages of West Ham United Football Club’s website.
An investigation revealed that between 14 April 2020 and 6 November 2021, Betway's logo, which linked to its website, appeared on a webpage inviting children to print a teddy for children to colour in.
The Commission also noticed a logo with a link to a betting site was featured on the ‘Young Hammers at Home’ webpage between 24 October 2021 and 15 November 2021.
Leanne Oxley, Gambling Commission Director of Enforcement, said: “Protecting children from gambling harm is at the heart of what we do.
“Although there is no suggestion that the operator was deliberately targeting children or that children had been allowed to gamble, we take the breach of any rules to protect children extremely seriously.
“We note the remedial actions since taken by the licensee but advise all operators to learn from this case and ensure that they take responsibility and have the correct processes in place so that websites directed at children do not include advertisements for gambling
Responsible Gambling: Final Thoughts
In the end, the thrill of the game is only as good as your ability to play responsibly. You've got the tools, the tips, and a list of casinos that prioritise safe betting - now it's up to you to use them wisely .
Gambling Support Services in the UK
Struggling to gamble responsibly? Don't face your issues alone. These UK organisations are here to offer you free, anonymous support.
Problem Gambling Ireland
Although based in Ireland, this organisation offers vast resources beneficial to UK gamblers. Access practical guides, professional advice, and self-help tools that make a difference.
Learn more at Problem Gambling Ireland.
Smart Recovery UK
For those who prefer a self-management approach, Smart Recovery UK could be the answer. By offering self-help tools and peer support, it empowers you to reclaim your life.
Visit Smart Recovery UK for more details.
HelpGuide collaborates with the UK and offers a unique blend of digital self-help tools and general wellness advice, focusing on self-help, emotional intelligence, and coping strategies.
For more info, check out HelpGuide.