Responsible Gambling is a term we see operators and trustworthy casino sites talk about a lot, but what does it really mean? The principle applies not only to the money spent (or lost) gambling, but also the amount of time spent gambling. Gambling responsibly means that gambling stays fun, safe, and not to the detriment of you or those around you.
Responsible gambling can be done both through personal habits and with the help of responsible gambling tools that remind you to take a break and control your spending.
Before you start gambling online, make sure you are signing up to a reputable gambling operator. These will adhere to a responsible gambling policy, meaning they actively encourage their players to act sensibly with their time and money.
How obsessive habits develop
It can be easy to develop compulsive gambling habit. Gambling can stimulate the brain’s reward system much like drugs or alcohol can. Some gamblers on a losing streak will start ‘chasing.’ This is when you bet even more and more aggressively to try to recoup your losses or to recreate that winning feeling.
This is where limits and gambling blocks come in handy. As a rule, it is sensible to bet only with what you can afford to lose and no more. Setting time limits is also a smart way to be certain that you gamble only as long as you can reasonably allow.
Time is money
If you need some extra help to limit your spending you can set up deposit limits. These can be put in place for a single gambling session or over a certain time period, such as a week or month. For example, you could set a limit of £100 per week. You would be able to deposit as often as you want up to the value of £100. Then, the limit will prevent any further depositing up until the point your limit wears off.
Additionally, operators provide reminders of the time spent playing. These will usually appear as a clock to the side of the game, but operators also have the option of pop-ups that pause the gameplay, reminding you at intervals of the time you have spent on the site. This is known as a ‘reality check’ and allows players to keep track of how long they are gambling for or to remind them to take a break.
The next step a player might take is a time-out. Like a deposit limit, this blocks a player from gambling for a specific period of time set by the player; usually, the options are 24 hours, one week, one month, or longer, up to a period of six weeks.
This is the most extreme option available for those who recognise they have a serious problem. If you are ready and willing to make a hard stop on gambling, you can ask the operator to exclude you (i.e. block you) so that the option to gamble is taken away and you won’t have to rely on self will to manage temptation.
Generally, you can self-exclude for a period of six months or more, meaning you’ll be blocked from gambling on the site and won’t receive any promotional materials. Self-exclusion can also be done for all sites with the help of third-party companies such as GamStop.
GamStop is a completely free, universal self-exclusion scheme. It is now a requirement for all UK licensed gambling sites to be part of GamStop to help protect and support their players.
There are currently 3 exclusion period lengths available; 6 months, 1 year and 5 years. If you sign up to this service, from 24 hours after activating your exclusion you will be blocked and no longer able to visit any applicable sites. Take note that using GamStop does not automatically withdraw any funds from your active accounts so be sure to check the casino’s policy before activating your block. Once the term has ended, you have two options: you can contact GamStop in order to reactivate any accounts and start safely playing once again, or choose to continue to refrain from gambling.
Help is at hand
Under the UK Gambling Commission, all gambling operators within the UK must offer provisions for responsible gambling, such as GamStop, and must ensure they adhere to the rulebook for operators – the LCCP (License Conditions and Codes of Practice). To make sure you are safe and supported, only bet with reputable operators that partner with industry groups who promote your wellbeing. These include the GambleAware programme, the National Responsible Gambling Strategy, and BeGambleAware.
If you recognise harmful gambling habits in yourself or if you have concerns about someone you know, be sure to seek free advice from GambleAware to learn more about the research, prevention and treatment of addiction.