It’s Safer Gambling Week this week, which is an initiative to promote safer gambling in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Running from 1-7 November 2021, Safer Gambling Week aims to start a conversation and encourage players to know how to gamble safely, the tools available to assist this and the resources available should they require help. Gambling is a form of entertainment that you pay for. This means that you are handing over money for something which should be fun, and which will last for a finite length of time – like buying a cinema ticket.
You've probably heard the phrase ‘When the Fun Stops, Stop', but you might not know a new campaign has replaced this – Take Time to Think. After public evaluations were carried out, ‘Take Time to Think' was chosen as it is ‘simple, not negatively framed, thought-provoking, easily actionable, memorable, better promoted self-reflection and therefore likely to have a broader appeal to players of all types'. It encourages players to pause, and consider the safer gambling tools available. To find out more about the Safer Gambling initiative, click here.
Gambling Help Lines
- In GB call 0808 8020 133 Free call
- In IRL call 1800 936 725 Freephone
- In NI call 08000 886 725 Freephone
Safer Gambling Tools
Any UKGC Licensed Casino will offer tools to help you stay in control of your gambling, starting with Deposit Limits. You can set deposit limits daily, weekly or monthly, and can decrease this limit at any time if you feel you’re spending too much. A decrease in the amount you’ll be able to deposit will be applied instantly, and should you wish to raise this limit or remove it a waiting time of 24+ hours will apply.
Alongside Deposit Limits, players can make use of the following options:
- Loss Limits: Implementing a loss limit will not affect the amount a player is able to deposit, but will disable play once a certain amount has been lost. Loss Limits are complex and well-designed, so any free games will still work when the Loss Limit has been reached, and any money won will then be added, so your limit will move up and down as you gamble, only stopping play once you have lost the maximum amount you are prepared to lose. Loss Limits can be applied daily, weekly, or monthly.
- Time Outs: If you feel you are spending too much time gambling and you want to take a break, you can apply a cool-off limit to your account, usually for any amount of time between 24 hours and 6 weeks. During this time you will not be able to deposit, or play on your account, and you may not be able to log in either.
- Time Limits: Players can set a time limit to ensure they do not spend too much time gambling. Once the time limit has been reached play will be disabled until the limit resets. Time Limits can be set daily, weekly, or monthly.
- Reality Checks: On many casinos this cannot be removed, but can only be altered in how often it shows. A reality check will pop up onto your screen every x-minutes to tell you how long you have been gambling, and how much money you have wagered, won or lost. Perhaps one of the most useful tools to remind us exactly how we are doing.
- Self Exclusion: Should your gambling feel out of your control, or you'd just like to stop, you can Self-Exclude from any UKGC Licensed Casino, for a period of 6 months-5 years. When a Self Exclusion is in place you will not be able to log in, create an account, deposit or play. Self Exclusions will usually apply across an entire brand, so if you are Self Excluded from one site, you will be too from any sister sites.
Alongside each of the tools Casinos offer, in the UK we have GAMSTOP, an online self exclusion scheme that lets you put controls in place to restrict your online gambling activities. For players within the United Kingdom, GAMSTOP is one of the most useful outlets, allowing any players to self exclude for a period of up to 5 years. By using the GAMSTOP service, players will not be able to log into any of their online accounts, and will not be permitted to open any new accounts, as it is compulsory for Casinos regulated by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission to be part of the GAMSTOP Self Exclusion Scheme.
It is free to register on GAMSTOP no matter how long the period of self exclusion you choose is. Further Support is available for free, including a list of useful resources. At the end of the self exclusion period, players can extend their exclusion, and this is also at no cost.
Further Safer Gambling Tools
GAMSTOP are part of the TalkBanStop campaign, which brings together free help and practical tools to those struggling with online gambling. TalkBanStop promotes the use of GAMSTOP alongside GamBan device blocking software, and bank transactional blocks together with accessing help and support via the National Gambling Helpline.
You can install GamBan, which is gambling-specific blocking software for phones, tablets and computers for free by contacting the National Gambling Helpline. For players outside of the United Kingdom, GamBan ranges between £2.08 per month on a yearly plan, to £2.49 for one month.
Make sure to delete any gambling related apps from your devices, and unsubscribe from any emails. You can also unfollow any social media pages, and make the transition easier on yourself. You can install software to block gambling websites and gambling related advertisements. Visit BeGambleAware.org for more information.
You can also contact your bank, and they will be happy to help. Most banks now offer the option to switch off Gambling Transactions on your debit card. A list of these banks, deactivation times, and where you can visit to block the transactions are available on GamCare.org.uk.
Finally, there are ways to self-exclude yourself from these types of gambling too:
- Casinos: visit SENSE
- Arcades: visit Bacta
- Bingo: visit The Bingo Association
- Betting Shops and Bookmakers: visit Self-Exclusion.co.uk
We believe one of the best ways to remain safe is to understand what you're doing, and to know the facts. We have a few different articles on the site to explain what many struggle to comprehend in relation to gambling:
- Debunking Slot Myths: Streaks
- Debunking Slot Myths: Stakes
- Gambling: What You Should Know
- Honesty Should Be The Only Policy
- Slots, Jackpots, Volatility and RTP: Explained
- More Information on GAMSTOP
- Are Jackpot Slots Worth the Risk?
At all times, play within your means and play responsibly. Take Time To Think, and if you need help visit BeGambleAware.org. There is no shame in asking for help.