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. It means that gambling is fun, safe, and not to the detriment of you or those around you.

Responsible gambling can be enforced both through personal habits and with the help of responsible gambling tools provided by gambling operators. Before you start gambling online, make sure you are signing up to a reputable gambling operator. These will adhere to a ‘responsible gambling’ policy whereby they will actively encourage their players to behave sensibly both with their time and money. 

Some gamblers on a losing streak will start ‘chasing.’ This is when you bet even more and more aggressively so as to try and 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 smart, so you do not continue to gamble for longer than you can reasonably allow. 

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 even 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 and then the limit will prevent any further depositing, up until the point that 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 know when 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. 

The most extreme option available is enforcing a self-exclusion. Generally, this is for a period of six months or more, and the individual will be blocked from gambling on the site they set the exclusion from and they will not 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. 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 need to contact GamStop in order to reactivate any accounts and start playing once again. 

Under the UK Gambling Commision, 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, and enjoy responsible gambling, only bet with reputable operators, and make sure they partner with industry groups who work to promote your wellbeing. These include the GambleAware programme, the National Responsible Gambling Strategy, and BeGambleAware.