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How to take a break from gambling

It’s no secret that gambling is a lot of fun. There’s no rush quite like winning big, so there’s no wonder why it’s one of the favourite pastimes of cultures across the world.

It’s also no secret that the thrills have the potential to become addictive to the point it’s harmful to you and those around you.

It’s important to gamble responsibly, and that means recognising when the fun stops. If you feel you are spending money beyond your means, there are resources available to help you take a break. Here’s our guide to tools you can use to help you stay safe with the time you spend gambling.

Cool-off period

Pausing a game to take a breather is one of the most crucial ways to play consciously and safely. However, this requires a lot of will power. To keep you aware of the passage of time, you could set an alarm to go off after a 20- or 30-minute interval. Use this as a reminder to step away from the screen and focus on something else: you could talk to a friend, get a snack or check you’re not neglecting other responsibilities.

Self-exclude from any site

If you have trouble with one particular site, you can temporarily or permanently ban yourself. All online gambling websites will provide a facility for you to do this. It can usually be found in the “Responsible Gambling” or “Safer Gambling” section of their website, or through your personal account page. If you require any help, check the site’s help section to find their customer services phone number or email address so you can speak with a member of staff who will explain their process. 

Betblock 

This is a handy tool to help you block all online gambling websites at once. It’s free to use and you can install it on as many devices as you like. It’s totally customisable too – you can select how long you want to be blocked for, so if you feel you only need a weekend to cool-off, that’s fine, or if you’d like to wait until you’ve set some money aside, that works too.



Simply install it on your device and it will blanket block over 13,000 online casino sites, including those without a license. It’s strict too – once the tool is activated you cannot remove the restrictions until your selected restriction length has expired, so there’s no potential for you crave to temptation.

Gamban

Gamban is a similar service to Betblock which bans not only online casinos but also other types of online gambling, such as skins, esports, sportsbooks, cryptocurrencies and trading sites. It’s easy to use and comes with a 7-day free trial period. After that, you can choose between a monthly cool-off subscription at £2.49 per month or an annual exclusion subscription at £2.09 per month. 

Bank block

Many banks have had the initiative to help their customers restrict their spending on gambling at a bank level. They have built options into their software that allow you to turn off transactions on gambling sites from your bank account, bank card or credit card. This means that if you attempt to deposit money at an online casino using that bank account, the payment will automatically be declined.

Each scheme does this differently, so be sure to get information on how to set it up directly from their website. Banks currently offering this service include: Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Bank, Halifax, Bank of Scotland, MBNA, HSBC, Monzo, Starling, Natwest, Barclays and Santander.

GamStop

This is a highly effective, lasting solution for those who feel they have a serious problem with gambling. It is a free-to-use online service run by non-profit organisation The National Online Self-Exclusion Scheme Limited. It allows players to self-exclude from all UK licensed operators in the UK, so that you are effectively ‘banned’ and cannot enter any casino sites at all, including those with which you don’t have an account. The results are more-or-less permanent, so should only be used by those who wish to say goodbye to gambling on a long-term basis. We have more details on the service in our guide to GamStop

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