How to ‘Play Responsibly’ at Online Casinos?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of responsible gambling. It’s mentioned in TV ads by Ray Winstone for Bet365 and Jeff Stelling for Sky Bet. And if you’ve watched any Premier League games this season, you’ve more than likely been told to “play responsibly” during the ad breaks. But what does it all mean? And what is responsible gambling or RG? Well, today, we’re going to clear all of that up for you. We’ll show you how online casinos and sports betting sites are trying to combat problem gambling. And we’ll look at various responsible gambling tools available to players in the UK. Our goal is to help you understand the responsible gambling movement and practice safer gambling. Let’s get going…
What is Responsible Gambling?
The main objective of responsible gambling is to help British gamblers stay safe. The majority of UK players have no problems controlling their gambling and see it as pure entertainment. However, we’re all different people and some of us have trouble assessing risk or have not developed an awareness of potential harm. That’s where the RG movement comes into play. By utilising a nationwide support network, responsible gambling tools and implementing rules regarding the advertising of gambling, RG aims to keep gambling fair and fun for all customers.
The UK Gambling Commission is the main driver of RG initiatives. The UKGC guide to safer gambling shows a number of ways in which this is achieved. And all of the guidelines are based on the latest research into UK gambling problems. Firstly, gambling operators cannot use false advertising, time pressure or appeal to young people. Then, all UKGC-licensed gambling operator sites must provide tools to either provide safer gambling or help with problem gambling. And following that, the UKGC lists a range of support organisations as a last resort.
This three-pronged approach by regulators helps protect vulnerable players of all ages. It also raises awareness of potential harms among concerned players and gambling businesses. And win or lose, it promotes the message that spending money on gambling should be primarily for entertainment and fun. Whenever a customer loses sight of these things, the whole industry suffers. After all, prevention is better than cure. So, with all that in mind, let’s look at the various responsible gambling tools that can be used to mitigate the risk of problem gambling.
Responsible Gambling Tools
Gambling operators in the UK (meaning the best online casinos and sports betting sites) help their customer base in various ways. They should all provide access to the latest responsible gambling tools, as well as make customers aware of their existence. Here, we will cover the technology in place at most UK gambling sites, as well as third-party tools, that help tackle problem gambling. After all, those with a gambling problem need all the help they can get…
First up, each and every UK gambler needs ways of limiting their own playtime. Industry group research has shown that problem gamblers can spend hours on slots or table games, for example. Often this is to the detriment of all other activities. Therefore, online casinos and betting sites enable gamblers to set limits on how much they can play every day. This can be a strict limit that will log out a player after that time has elapsed. Or it can be a pop-up notification every so often to remind players of how long they’ve been gambling.
Spending money hand over fist is no good if you can’t afford to do so. And that’s especially the case when choosing to gamble your money. Therefore, it’s wise to use the deposit limit technology at online casinos and sportsbook sites. This puts a hard limit (of your choosing) on how much money you can deposit per day, week and/or month. By doing this all in advance, you can work out a gambling budget and avoid throwing good money after bad in the heat of the moment. Another one to consider is a loss limit – which does what it says on the tin.
If you gamble too often and lose too much money, self-exclusion enables you to take a break. This can be momentary, known as a cooling-off period. Or it can be on a more permanent basis. When you self-exclude, you cannot log into your casino or sportsbook account for whatever timeframe you choose. For example, you can choose to not play for a week, month or even a year. You can even blacklist yourself from any given UK gambling site permanently. Your account will be closed and you won’t be able to create a new one with the same details.
GamBlock and Other Tools
If self-excluding from a single site isn’t enough, there are third-party tools that prevent you from accessing any UK gambling site. There are plenty of options you can research but the most popular one is GamBlock. By enabling it on your home computer, laptop and/or mobile devices, you won’t be able to game at any of the sites on GamBlock’s list of UK casinos and sportsbooks. This is, of course, a kind of nuclear option. But if you’re struggling it can make all the difference. All legit UK operators should be signed up at GamBlock for this exact reason.
Blocking Gambling Payments
Of course, it’s possible to find gambling sites that are not on GamBlock. And addicts want to gamble regardless of the harm it causes them and others. So, if you really can’t afford to lose any more money, check out the options at your UK bank account, eWallet or an alternative payment method. Each of them, including PayPal, Mondo and Revolut online casinos, has facilities for blocking gambling payments. Head to the settings of your account to set this up. Alternatively, you can contact the customer support team to show you exactly what you need to do.
Where To Get Help & Support
If you or your loved ones are struggling to keep your gambling under control, there are plenty of addiction treatment and support organisations in the UK. Sometimes it’s just good to talk to a neutral professional who can help you through a tough time. This is also the case if you are trying to support someone else who is battling their gambling demons. Therefore it’s worth checking out our guide to responsible gambling in the UK. There, we’ve listed all of the major support organisations, including Gamblers Anonymous, GamCare and the Samaritans.
With an education from the University of Cambridge and while working with iGaming for the last 6 years, Stephen has obtained a lot of knowledge about the industry. He usually writes about the different types of online casinos, casino bonuses and various gambling strategies.Read more about the author