Reducing Gambling Harms:
Recently in political discourse and across the media there has been lots of focus on safer gambling and rightly so. Whilst the majority of punters treat betting as the source of entertainment it should be, for some there may be a loss of control. Here at PokerNews, we know everyone should be mindful of this fact.
According to the statutory British gambling regulator, the Gambling Commission, “Safe and responsible gambling comes from an industry that takes care of its customers, customers who are empowered with the knowledge to manage their gambling and a regulator that ensures the consumer is at the heart of everything we do.” The information contained here is intended to address the first two of these criteria. As we promote the services of gambling providers on this site, we believe it is important that our customers are made aware of the risks that can be associated with gambling, as well as information about where they can find further advice and support should they require it.
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What exactly is ‘Safer Gambling’?
‘Safer gambling’ has become a bit of a buzz-word, but what exactly does it mean? Whilst there is no exact definition, it can be seen as having two branches:
- Individuals- as an individual, chances are you’re practising responsible gambling if you only bet what you can afford to lose, find it rewarding and it doesn’t impact other aspects of your life.
- Operators/Affiliates- for those of us in the industry, safer gambling is about providing education, resources and working to minimise gambling-related harm.
So, do I have a problem?
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to spot when your gambling behaviours are starting to become harmful so we’ve pulled together some of the warning signs. Gambling-related harm is a spectrum with many influencing factors, it’s important to be honest with yourself about your gambling behaviour. Only you can know if you need to get support.
Ever found yourself chasing your losses? Or upped your stakes because a £5 bet just wasn’t as exciting anymore? Maybe you’ve borrowed some money to have a punt, or backed that NAP even though you couldn’t really afford it.
Any of the above could be a sign that you need to think about the impact gambling has on you, and possibly also on those around you, such as family members or friends.
If you feel your gambling has become problematic, or you just want some advice from the experts, there are plenty of resources available that you can turn to.
GamCare are the “leading national provider of free information, advice and support” and offer a range of services, from self-help tools, to live chat, to treatment. Their website can be found at https://www.gamcare.org.uk/
National Gambling Helpline
With a 24 hour, free helpline, the National Gambling Helpline is there for advice for anyone affected by gambling problems at any time, day or night. They are funded by an independent charity and offer confidential help and support. The helpline number is: 0808 8020 133.
BeGambleAware is offers free, confidential help for anyone who is worried about their or someone else’s gambling. You can visit their website at http://begambleaware.org
Gamstop are a free online self-exclusion tool allowing anyone to place restrictions on their gambling activities. Their website can be found at https://www.gamstop.co.uk/
Gambling therapy is a global service offering free practical advice and emotional support to anyone affect by problem gambling. Gambling therapy offers advice in multiple language and further information can be found at https://www.gamblingtherapy.com/en
It’s possible you feel you’re at the top of a slippery slope. Maybe you don’t yet need the help of an organisation like GamCare, but need to take some action to prevent getting to that stage. Most operators have standard tools that can help you secure control of your gambling.
A deposit limit does exactly what it says on the ‘tin’. Select a maximum amount to deposit on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. If you try to deposit after hitting the limit, the transaction will be declined, generally an attempt to increase your limit will only be granted after a 24 or 48 hour cooling off period. Tip- some find it useful to set a monthly limit and deposit on pay day, preventing them from topping up when that money should really be elsewhere.
Cooling Off Period
Some bookmakers offer a ‘cooling off period’, this is one step before self-exclusion. Think of it like temporarily freezing your bank card when you’ve lost it, rather than cancelling completely. This is ideal for punters who need some time away from betting altogether and it will block you from placing any bets. It can also be useful for testing how much you miss betting and could then lead to getting more support if the results surprise you. Select a time frame and you will be blocked from using the product until the window is up, at which point you regain full access.
For some, a long term break is needed whilst they get treatment. Self-exclusion is the best tool for this. With most operators, time frames vary between 6 months and 5 years and the decision to self-exclude is non-reversible. You will be unable to access the account until the selected period of time has elapsed.
Further information on gambling safely with licensed businesses can be found at https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/for-the-public/Safer-gambling/Safer-gambling.aspx
The Safe Conclusion
We hope this page has been useful to you. Even if you are gambling safely it’s worth being aware of the tools and services available, just in case you, or someone you care about, ever needs them. Enjoy your sport, enjoy your betting, but when the fun stops, stop.