Placing bets to try and win cash prizes is a thrilling pastime. But it's important to gamble responsibly to ensure your gaming is always enjoyable and never dangerous. So, what is responsible gambling? Put simply, this is when you play with funds that you can afford to lose.
As your safety is our top concern, we agree that you should only gamble with disposable money. Because of the Gambling Act 2005, all establishments that accept UK customers must provide guidance and certain limitations to protect you. Also, there are other ways to keep your gaming fun.
Read our guide to get some expert tips on how to gamble responsibly.
Tools To Control Your Gambling
Our experts suggest that you should always keep track of your funds when gaming. Bad with numbers? No worries, as long as you record your deposits and withdrawals after each session, it's simple.
Always work out what you can afford to gamble before you start. For example, never play with money destined to pay bills. When you make bets, record your wins or losses in a log - this could be a physical book or a free online Google Sheet. This system is a great way to see if you're on a losing or winning streak.
We also recommend that you set up a deposit limit to stop you from gambling too much. Your casino can help you do this. Scroll down for more info on responsible gambling tools at online casinos.
Dedicated Gaming Account
We advise that you place your gaming funds in a separate account to avoid confusion. If you bet directly from your bank account, you can lose track of your winnings or losses. Therefore, we recommend opening a digital wallet, such as PayPal or Skrill, to create a dedicated gaming account.
Responsible Gambling Services at Online Casinos
The UK Gambling Commission make online casinos provide responsible gambling services to keep your gaming under control:
Checks - the casino must provide prompts and timeouts to help you control how much you play
Deposit limits - you can personally ask the casino to limit the amount you deposit within a set timeframe
Easy access to personal gambling history - you can check out the stats of your transactions, deposits, and withdrawals to keep a tab on your gaming
Breaks - you can set a break period anything from 24 hours to 6 weeks
Self-Exclude - you can self-exclude to curb your gambling.
Also, keep in mind that customer service teams are trained to help people with gambling issues.
How Casinos and Bookmakers Promote Responsible Gambling
Along with giving you tools to help control your gambling (outlined above), casinos and bookmakers promote responsible gambling in other ways. For instance, some of the biggest companies in the UK formed the Betting & Gaming Council to set a code of practice. The members of this organisation, who represent 90% of UK betting and gaming businesses, protect their players by following set rules:
- No advertising of gaming machines in betting shop windows
- No TV advertising of sign-up offers before 9 pm
- All adverts must dedicate 20% of space to responsible gambling messages
The Betting & Gaming Council set these rules to help achieve its five principal aims:
1. Preventing underage gambling and protecting young people
2. Increasing support for treatment of gambling harm
3. Strengthening and expanding codes of practice for advertising and marketing
4. Protecting and empowering customers
5. Creating a culture of safer gambling
To adhere to UK law, online casinos always provide links to organisations that help problem gamblers. Scroll down to find out more about these services.
If you're struggling to control your gambling, various organisations can help.
GamCare provides free support to anyone in the UK affected by problem gambling. Its services are confidential and non-judgemental.
You can call the free helpline on 0808 8020 133, which is open from 8 am to 12 midnight. The organisation also offers a live chat service, a live text chatroom and a forum, all available 24/7. It also holds frequent meetings at various locations to provide in-person support.
For more details, visit the GamCare website.
Gamblers Anonymous has been helping gambling addicts since 1957. Today, Its website gives you information on meetings close to you, an online forum, chat rooms and links to helpful reading material. Visit Gamblers Anonymous to find out more.
BeGambleAware provides free and confidential help online and via the Gambling Helpline. It's advisers teach you how to control your gambling and educate people about how gambling works. They also give you information on how to determine if someone close to you has a gambling problem.
This independent charity provides tools that help you gamble responsibly. These include money-management and self-exclusion apps and gambling blocking software.
National Centre for Behavioural Addictions
This umbrella centre is home to the National Problem Gambling Clinic and the National Centre for Gaming Disorders. Visit its website to find links to both organisations.
Each one provides you with various tools and support to help you tackle a gambling problem.
Since 1971, the Gordon Moody charity has been providing gambling addiction therapy services. Originally called Gordon House, Reverend Gordon Moody MBE set it up as a hostel for men suffering from addiction.
The organisation now provides various services online to help anyone with gambling problems. Visit the Gordon Moody website for more info.
How To Know That You Have a Gambling Problem
Do you love playing at casinos but don't know if you have your hobby under control? Our NewFreeSpinsNoDeposit experts advise that you take this quick test to see if you have a gambling problem.
Follow this scoring guide when answering these eight questions below.
Each answer of 'never' scores 0
Each answer of 'sometimes' scores 1
Each answer of 'often' scores 2
Each answer of 'nearly' scores 3
If your total score is eight or higher, you may have a gambling problem. If this is the case, we recommend that you seek advice from one of the helpful services mentioned above.
1. Do you wager more than you can afford to lose?
2. Do you increase the amounts of money you gamble to get the same feeling?
3. Have you tried to win back the money you have lost?
4. Has your gambling caused you stress or anxiety?
5. Have other people commented that you have a gambling problem?
6. Have you taken out loans or sold possessions to get money to gamble?
7. Has your gambling resulted in financial problems?
8. Do you feel guilty about the way you gamble?
What Happens When a Site Breaks the Law?
Although rare, sometimes casinos sites can break the law. If a gambling site does this, the UK Gambling Commission can revoke its license. This measure is a significant blow for a company because it can't operate in the UK without a permit - a market worth over £14 billion a year.
Depending on the severity of the misconduct, however, the site may keep its license but receive a fine. Recently, the Gambling Commission has increased the charges against operators that engage in illegal activity. In 2020, gambling companies paid out over £44 million in fines.
Casinos That Have Broken Responsible Gambling Laws
888.com paid a penalty package of over £7.8million for failing to protect vulnerable customers from gambling-related harm. As it is one of the largest gambling companies in the UK, the verdict by the Gambling Commission showed that they are not afraid of holding big businesses to account.
The Commission's investigation discovered various cases of misconduct. Firstly, Due to a technical failure in 888's systems, over 7,000 customers who had chosen to self-exclude from their casino/poker/sports platform could still access their accounts via the site's bingo platform.
The issue went undetected for a prolonged period, which allowed people who had self-excluded to continue to gamble. Although 888 had set self-exclusion procedures, they failed to protect potentially vulnerable customers.
888 also failed to recognise visible signs of problem gambling behaviour by an individual. It was so significant that it resulted in criminal activity. The customer staked over £1.3million, including £55k stolen from an employer. During 13 months, this customer placed many bets and gambled an average of 3-4 hours a day.
Betway paid a record £11.6m settlement for accepting stolen money from “VIP” customers, some of whom were displaying signs of gambling addiction. Therefore, the Gambling Commission concluded that Betway had failed to fulfil its obligations to prevent problem gambling and money laundering.
Betway accepted £8m of deposits over four years from one customer who lost £4m. Even though the site flagged the account as a potential risk 20 times, the site's staff accepted the gambler's word that he could afford these losses. Furthermore, an external report failed to verify if the customer could in fact afford the bets.
Betway only closed the player's account after the police contacted the company about the customer.
The UK Gambling Commission fined InTouch Games £3.4 million for failures in social responsibility, anti-money laundering (AML), and marketing practices. The group, which operates bonusboss.co.uk, cashmo.co.uk, casino.mfortune.co.uk, and many more sites, also received an official warning from the Commission in April 2021.
The Commission found that the operator had failed to meet specific social responsibility requirements. These included not using all relevant sources of information to ensure effective decision making and stating in its responsible gambling team interaction guidance that they can give customers bonuses upon providing identification.
Anti-money laundering issues included failing to review Source of Funds information when requested. The UKGC also ruled that InTouch Games was unable to conduct appropriate levels of enhanced customer due diligence.
Finally, the operator had left out information about the terms and conditions of bonus offers when sending text messages to its customers.
Responsible Gambling FAQs
What is problem gambling?
Problem gambling is when you play with money that you can't afford to lose. To keep your gaming fun, we suggest that you keep track of your funds. Always use a separate account and deposit limits when playing at online casinos or making bets. If you think that you might have a gambling problem, seek advice from one of the services mentioned in our responsible gambling guide.
How can I gamble responsibly?
The best way to gamble responsibly is to set limits before you gamble. You can impose restrictions before you play at UK online casinos to stop your gambling from turning into a problem. Likewise, remember that you should always treat gambling as entertainment and not a source of reliable income.
How can I cut down on my gambling?
There are various ways you can cut down on your gambling. Thanks to laws set by the Gambling Commission, all establishments that offer betting services to UK customers must provide you with responsible gambling tools. These include deposit limits, gaming timeouts and links to gambling addiction services if you need support.
How can I protect my children from online gambling?
It is illegal for online casinos to accept players under 18. Therefore, online gambling sites must adhere to strict rule regulations when verifying new players to protect children. Our experts recommend changing your browser settings to block gambling sites if you want to be extra precautious. Most browsers give you this option.
How can I tell if someone has a gambling problem?
Telling if someone has a gambling problem can be difficult. However, there are telltale signs that you should look out for. These can range from stealing to fund their gambling to being anti-soical. If the actions of someone close to you is starting to become a worry, contact gamcare.org.uk.