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how to gamble responsibly

We independently review betting sites. Sign-ups through our links may earn us a commission at no extra cost to you, this never influences our listings’ order.

The majority of people who use betting sites in the UK do so without any issues, however, for some gambling can become a problem. The ‘risk and reward’ aspect of gambling can become addictive, up until the point at which it is only the risk factor that is important. This can lead to severe problems – mentally, financially and socially. Even if you have used betting sites without an issue for many years, a sudden change in your circumstances can lead to you developing gambling problems, therefore it is always vitally important that you gamble responsibly.

This page aims to educate you completely about how you should always approach your gambling, and in a responsible way. It outlines how you can work towards keep your gambling on responsible levels, how to identify if you have a gambling problem, and the help you can get if your gambling has gotten out of hand.

Understanding Responsible Gambling – Its Importance and the Principles Behind It

In life, we need to take responsibility for our actions that may cause harm to ourselves or to others. This entails an understanding that some things that we do are solely down to us, and us alone. This includes gambling – we make the decision to risk money in the hope of winning more. When it comes down to it, no one forces us to gamble, therefore it is up to us to do so in a way the nullifies the chances of our gambling doing harm, either to ourselves or those close to us.

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Gambling should only be undertaken if we are in a position to make informed decisions. If we are betting irrationally, or to dangerous levels, or simply because we enjoy the ‘thrill’ of gambling so much that the consequences (even losing, or placing ourselves in dire financial straits) do not matter, then the decisions we are making cannot, in any way, be described as either informed or rational.

Another principle of responsible gambling is the prevention of underage gambling. Responsible gambling recognises that gambling should be limited to adults who are capable of making informed decisions. Strict age restrictions and robust identification measures are necessary to prevent minors (those under 18 in the UK) from engaging in gambling activities, protecting them from potential harm and addiction.

Responsible gambling also encourages the use of self-exclusion programs such as GAMSTOP. These initiatives allow individuals to voluntarily exclude themselves from gambling establishments or online platforms, providing a valuable tool for those struggling with gambling-related issues. Self-exclusion empowers individuals to take control of their gambling habits and seek assistance when needed.

Furthermore, responsible gambling promotes the adoption of strategies designed to minimise harm. These strategies include implementing responsible advertising practices, providing resources for problem gambling support and offering responsible gambling tools such as deposit limits, time limits and reality checks. Such measures aim to mitigate the negative consequences of gambling and promote responsible behaviour.

Overall, understanding responsible gambling is essential to safeguard the well-being of individuals and communities. It encourages informed decision-making, prevents underage gambling, supports self-exclusion programs and helps individuals implement harm minimisation strategies. By adhering to these principles, the gambling industry can create an environment that is both entertaining and safe, ensuring that individuals can enjoy gambling responsibly without experiencing significant harm.

Why We Promote Responsible Gambling

bscu logoAt BettingSites.co.uk, we recognise the importance of promoting responsible gambling practices. Our commitment to responsible gambling is rooted in several key reasons that align with our values and objectives.

The well-being of our site users when it comes to gambling is our responsibility, and something that we have a duty to prioritise. As betting experts and punters ourselves, we recognise the importance that gambling remains a recreational activity, but one that always carries the risk of it becoming addictive. By promoting responsible gambling, it is our aim to educate our site users about the risk that gambling carries with it, and to be able to set them upon a path to recovery should they find that their gambling is causing harm – mentally, financially, emotionally or socially, or any combination of those factors.

Furthermore, responsible gambling aligns with our long-term success and the kind of service that we strive to provide. By promoting responsible gambling practices, we foster a trustworthy and ethical reputation within the industry. This enables us to promote a healthy environment for our site users by demonstrating our commitment to them, helping sustain the long-term success of our business.

Of course promoting responsible gambling is in line with legal and regulatory requirements. Many jurisdictions have implemented strict regulations and guidelines to ensure responsible gambling practices are followed, and none more are as strict as those stipulated by the UKGC. By adhering to these standards and actively promoting responsible gambling, we demonstrate our compliance with legal obligations and contribute to the overall integrity and credibility of the industry.

Responsible Gambling at Online Casinos and Betting Sites

gamstop logoIt is in the best interests of online casinos and betting sites in the UK to foster an environment that encourages responsible gambling. Most business flourish if they treat their customers fairly, and make sure they are kept safe. With a focus on promoting responsible gambling, UK casinos and bookies have implemented various initiatives to protect their customers and foster a more sustainable gambling environment.

One of the most prominent initiatives in the UK gambling industry is the self-exclusion scheme, known as GAMSTOP. Launched in 2018, GAMSTOP allows players to voluntarily exclude themselves from all licensed online gambling sites in the UK. Once registered, players are unable to access any gambling-related content for the chosen self-exclusion period, typically ranging from six months to five years. This system ensures that individuals seeking help for potential gambling addiction can take a break and seek support without the temptation of online gambling platforms.

In addition to self-exclusion schemes, UK casinos and bookmakers promote responsible gambling through stringent age verification processes. Before a player can deposit or wager, they must undergo thorough age verification checks to ensure they are of the legal gambling age in the UK, which is 21.

Another vital aspect of promoting responsible gambling is educating sit users about the potential risks associated with excessive gambling. Online casinos and bookies are required to provide clear information about responsible gambling measures, including setting deposit limits, time limits and reality checks to help players manage their gambling behaviour effectively.

Furthermore, the UKGC plays the most crucial role in regulating the industry and enforcing responsible gambling practices. The UKGC sets strict guidelines and standards that operators are legally obliged to follow, and failure to comply can result in severe penalties, including fines, sanctions and the potential suspension or permanent loss of their licence.

Many gambling operators also contribute financially to organisations dedicated to addressing gambling-related harm. They support initiatives such as GamCare and BeGambleAware which offer counselling, support and resources for those affected by problem gambling. These organisations also provide helplines, live chat services and information to help individuals recognise and address potential gambling addiction issues.

How To Gamble Responsibly And Keep Yourself Safe

Gambling responsibly is essential to ensure that it remains an enjoyable and controlled activity. Here are five tips to help you gamble responsibly:

Set a Budget

Before you start gambling, establish a clear and affordable budget for your gambling activities. This budget should be separate from your essential expenses, such as rent or mortgage payments, utility and food bills and the money you need for the other important aspects of your life such as hobbies and entertainment. Stick to this budget and avoid chasing losses by going beyond what you can afford to lose.

Manage Your Time

Set time limits for your gambling sessions. It’s extremely easy to lose track of time while immersed in the thrill of gambling. By allocating specific time frames for gambling, you can avoid spending excessive hours and maintain a healthy and appropriate balance with other activities in your life.

Avoid Chasing Losses

Losing is a natural part of gambling, and it’s crucial to accept that you won’t always win. Never chase losses by increasing your bets to recoup previous losses quickly. This behaviour can lead to deeper financial troubles and a negative gambling experience. ALL gamblers, no matter how expert and experienced, suffer the occasion loss-streak so it’s how you react that’s important.

Set Deposit Limits

Within the next year or so, regulation changes will mean you will be obliged to set deposit limits at UKGC online casinos and betting sites. It is advisable that you do this anyway, even though currently it is not a requirement. It helps prevent impulsive decisions and encourages responsible bankroll management.

Know When to Seek Help

If you ever feel that gambling is becoming a problem and affecting other aspects of your life negatively, don’t hesitate to seek help. Reach out to support organisations like GamCare or BeGambleAware, which offer confidential assistance and resources to individuals dealing with gambling-related issues. You’ll find a full list of helpful resources listed below.

Recognising Problematic Gambling

As with any form of addiction, the first step that needs to be taken by anyone who is gambling for longer or for more money than they originally intended is the recognition that a problem exists. This can be difficult, as people with gambling and other impulsive behaviour issues are frequently in denial. Acknowledging they have a problem leads to fears that they will be unable to do what they enjoy, even if it is having a detrimental affect on them and others. Here are some signs that you may be a problematic gambler. If you recognise any of these behaviours from your own gambling, then it’s time to talk to someone.

Thinking About Gambling 24/7

No matter how a person starts gambling, for some it can soon become the most important thing in their lives, sometimes overshadowing everything else. They do not want to stop gambling and when they have to stop (to go to work, for example), they can think of little else other than the next time they can start gambling. If gambling has taken over your life to the extent that it is more important than your employment, relationships and other interests, then it has become a problem.

Chasing Losses

A significant indicator of a gambling problem is the compulsion to chase losses. If you keep gambling more money away to hopefully recover what you’ve lost only to find yourself in deeper financial trouble, then it’s a clear warning sign. Responsible gambling involves accepting losses and not letting them drive your future gambling decisions.

Inability to Control Gambling Behaviour

If you feel powerless to stop gambling or consistently exceed your self-imposed limits, then it’s likely a sign that your gambling behaviour is becoming problematic. Loss of control over gambling can lead to financial strain and emotional distress, and will affect the people who care about you too.

Neglecting Responsibilities

When gambling takes priority over fulfilling your responsibilities at work, school, or home it indicates that you might have a gambling problem. Neglecting commitments – such as missing deadlines or avoiding social engagements – can be a consequence of excessive gambling habits.

Concealing Gambling Activities

If you find yourself concealing or lying about your gambling activities to family, friends and colleagues, then this is a very firm indication of a gambling problem. Feeling the need to keep your gambling behaviour a secret suggests a lack of control and shame associated with your actions, or a fear that if found out, people close to you will take action to stop you from gambling.

Seeking Help with Gambling Problems – Who Can Help?

In the UK, there are several resources available to help individuals dealing with gambling problems and addiction. These organisations provide support, advice and counselling for those affected by gambling addiction. Here is a list of some prominent resources:

  • GamCare is one of the leading organisations in the UK that offers support and treatment for individuals affected by problem gambling. They provide a helpline, live chat and online forums where you can speak with trained advisers and access confidential advice.
  • BeGambleAware is an independent charity that aims to promote responsible gambling and offers support to those struggling with gambling-related harm. They provide a helpline and a self-assessment tool to help individuals understand their gambling behaviour.
  • National Gambling Helpline is a helpline is operated by GamCare and offers free and confidential support 24/7 for individuals affected by problem gambling. Telephone: 0808 8020 133
  • Gamblers Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who have come together to share their experiences, strengths and hopes in recovering from a gambling problem. They offer support through regular meetings.
  • The Gordon Moody Association provides residential treatment and support for individuals with gambling problems. They offer therapeutic support and a safe environment for those seeking help.
  • The Young Gamers & Gamblers Education Trust is focused on raising awareness and providing educational programs to prevent gambling-related harm, particularly among young people.
  • Gambling Therapy is an online service that offers support and assistance to individuals affected by problem gambling. They provide online chat support, forums and self-help tools.

Safer Gambling Tools – How You Can Help Yourself

In the UK, there are several tools and resources available to help individuals prevent access to online betting sites and casinos and promote responsible gambling. Here is a short list of such tools:

  • GamStop is a self-exclusion scheme that allows individuals to voluntarily exclude themselves from all UK licensed online gambling sites. Once registered, you will be unable to access any gambling-related content for the chosen self-exclusion period, which can range from six months to five years.
  • At Sites You Use – you can set limits for deposits and time spent at the online casino and sports betting sites you frequently use. You can also set reality checks to remind you how much time you have spent at the site.
  • Parental Control Software – If you are concerned about underage gambling or want to restrict access to gambling sites for yourself or others, parental control software can be helpful. It allows you to block access to specific websites including gambling sites, and set time limits for internet usage.
  • Internet Service Provider (ISP) Filters – Some internet service providers offer filtering options that can block access to gambling sites. You can contact your ISP to inquire about these filtering services and how to set them up.
  • Mobile Network Filters – Some mobile networks provide content filters that allow users to block access to certain types of content including gambling websites. Check with your mobile network provider for details on how to enable these filters.
  • Browser Extensions – Certain browser extensions and add-ons are designed to block access to gambling sites. They often allow you to customise the level of filtering based on your preferences and are available for all common browsers including Chrome, Firefox, Edge and Safari.

Promoting Responsible Gambling – a Collaborative Effort

Promoting responsible gambling is a shared responsibility between UK casinos and players. UK casinos have taken significant strides to create a safer gambling environment by implementing various initiatives and measures. They provide players with tools to set deposit limits, time restrictions and self-exclusion options, empowering individuals to control their gambling habits effectively. In addition, casinos prominently display responsible gambling information on their websites, educating players about the potential risks and providing resources for seeking help if needed.

Collaboration between UK casinos and players involves raising awareness about responsible gambling through communication and educational campaigns. Casinos often encourage players to gamble for entertainment rather than financial gain, promoting a healthy and balanced approach to gambling. By fostering this partnership, UK casinos and players work together to create a more sustainable gambling culture that prioritises player well-being and minimises the risks associated with excessive gambling behaviour.

Players should not ‘blame’ online betting sites and casinos for permitting them to gamble. At the end of the day, it is an individual’s choice to gamble and if problems are encountered, it is an individual’s choice not to seek help. This is a core tenet of responsible gambling practices.

Encouraging a Safe Gambling Environment for All in the United Kingdom

Encouraging a safe gambling environment in the UK is a collective effort that involves various stakeholders including regulatory bodies, gambling operators, support organisations and the players themselves. The UK has been proactive in implementing responsible gambling measures to protect players and minimise the potential harms associated with gambling. Regulatory bodies such as the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) set strict guidelines and standards that gambling operators must follow to ensure fair play and player protection.

Gambling operators, on the other hand, have invested in responsible gambling initiatives, such as self-exclusion programs, deposit limits, and age verification processes to promote safe gambling practices. Support organisations like GamCare and BeGambleAware play a crucial role in providing counselling, support, and resources for individuals affected by gambling-related harm.

Ultimately, players also have a significant role to play by being aware of their gambling habits, setting limits, and seeking help if they feel their gambling is becoming problematic. Through these collective efforts, the UK continues to foster a safer gambling environment where entertainment can be enjoyed responsibly while mitigating potential risks.

Wrapping Up

Responsible gambling has emerged as a paramount concern in the UK, reflecting a collective commitment from regulatory authorities, gambling operators, support organisations and players alike. The UKGC has taken significant strides to foster a safer gambling environment, where entertainment and leisure can coexist with effective player protection. Through the implementation of self-exclusion schemes, deposit limits, age verification processes and educational campaigns, UK casinos and betting sites have demonstrated their dedication to promoting responsible gambling practices.

The involvement of support organisations like GamCare and BeGambleAware has offered a lifeline to those facing gambling-related harm, providing crucial counselling and resources. Equally crucial is the responsibility shouldered by players, who are encouraged to be mindful of their gambling habits, set limits and seek help when necessary. As a result of these collaborative efforts, the UK has successfully crafted a gambling ecosystem that balances the enjoyment of gambling with the imperative to safeguard against potential risks.

Nonetheless, the journey towards responsible gambling remains an ongoing endeavour, with continued dedication needed to ensure a sustainable and secure gambling landscape for all. By staying vigilant and maintaining a collective commitment, the UK’s approach to responsible gambling sets an example for other jurisdictions, affirming that a balanced and safe gambling experience is within reach for players and operators alike.

Peter Addison
Peter Addison
Peter Addison

Peter joined the BettingSites.co.uk team in 2023, having previously worked for many high-profile gambling-related sites such as RightCasino, JustSlots, WhichBingo and Gambling.com. An experienced head when it comes to all aspects of iGaming, Peter is a fanatic fan of sport, including football and US sports such as baseball and American football. He is also a multi-published fiction writer, although sadly, not a wealthy one.