How to gamble responsibly online
Find out what makes a responsible gambler, what makes a problem gambler and how to stay safe when playing online
UK-licensed online casino operators are required to go to great lengths to protect players and to help them stay in control of their gambling activity. The Gambling Commission has strict rules and requirements for operators, including offering certain tools and services.
Here at Find My UK Casino, we also believe it is our duty to help you understand the various responsible gambling tools available, how to stay in control of your play, how to identify problem gambling habits and what to do if you spot them in yourself or another person.
The guide below covers all of this and more, and we recommend you read it all the way through before signing up to an online casino.
MANAGING YOUR PLAY:
Most online casino players do not need to set limits and can manage the time and money they spend without assistance. Others do like to set limits even if they do not have a gambling problem as it is easy to lose track of time and budgets when engrossed in your favourite games.
If you are one of those people, you should set various limits in order to receive a reality check every hour and to notify you when you have spent your predetermined budget. Below, we list the limits all UK-licensed online casinos must allow you to set:
Session limits: also known as reality checks, are notifications that appear on your screen after a set amount of time to remind you how long you have been playing for. You are usually given the option to log-out or keep playing.
Deposit limits: ensure that you do not go over your pre-set gambling budget. Limits can be set for a day, week or month and will prevent you from overspending at an online casino. Once your limit has been hit, you will be blocked from making additional deposits. We recommend that you have a gambling budget and use deposit limits to stick to it.
Loss limits: allow you to set a limit on the amount you are comfortable losing over a set period time, usually a day, week or month. Winning and losing is part of the online casino experience, but while you don’t want to limit the amount you can win, you do want to limit the amount you can lose.
Cooling off: or taking time-out allows you to block yourself from playing online casino games for a set period of time. If you find that you are playing online casino more and more, it can be a good way of slowing things down and freeing up more time to do something else, such as meeting with friends and family. Once the cooling off period has elapsed, you can start playing again.
Self-exclusion: allows players to completely block themselves from the online casino they are playing at for a set period of time, usually from one to five years. During this time, you will not be able to sign-in, deposit or play, and you won’t receive any marketing messages from the casino either.
The steps you need to take in order to set limits will vary from online casino to online casino, but most will allow you to do so when you first create your account. You don’t have to do this, of course, and you can always set limits at a later date.
This is how it is usually done:
- Log in to the online casino
- Click into your player account
- Click on settings and then on responsible gambling
- Set the limits you wish to impose and then click save
At most casinos you will be able to update your limits at any time, unless you have exceeded a limit in which case you will have to wait for the limit period to pass and then make the change.
CHECK LIST: ARE YOU GAMBLING RESPONSIBLY?
Responsible gambling goes beyond just setting limits and includes things like budgeting and knowing when to stop. Read through the below and tick off each to ensure that you are staying in control of your online casino play.
- You are 18+ and are playing at an online casino licensed by the UK Gambling Commission
- You have a strict gambling budget and stick to it at all times
- You have set limits to ensure you don’t lose or spend more than you can afford
- You have set session limits and log-out when prompted to do so by the online casino
- You give yourself a time-out if you feel you are spending too much time playing online casino
- Contact a gambling addiction charity if you believe you are showing signs of problem gambling
HOW TO SPOT THE SIGNS OF A GAMBLING PROBLEM:
The difficult thing about gambling addiction – or any addiction for that matter – is that it can be hard to spot in yourself. If you enjoy an activity you naturally want to do it more and more, and that can certainly happen when playing online casino games.
Some of the early signs that you, or somebody you know, is developing problem gambling habits can easily go unnoticed. That is why it’s important to be aware of what these signs look like and know what to do if you recognise these behaviours.
These are some of the key things to keep an eye out for:
- You/they are playing with more money than you/they can afford to lose
- You/they are gambling with money earmarked for bills or other financial responsibilities
- You/they have borrowed money or sold items in order to fund your/their gambling
- Your/their gambling is interfering with your/their career or home life
- You/they use gambling as a coping method or as an escape mechanism
- You/they gamble under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- You/they are lying to friends and family about the extent of your/their gambling
- You/they are playing for longer and longer periods in order to chase losses
- Gambling makes you/them feel anxious, stressed, depressed or suicidal
WHAT DO TO IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE A GAMBLING PROBLEM:
If any of the above applies to you or a friend or family member, it could be a sign that you/they are developing problem gambling habits. If that is the case, the first thing to remember is that you are not alone and that there is plenty of help and support available to you.
If you do think you have a problem, the best thing to do is to take a break from the online casino(s) that you are playing at. Start with a week or a month and give yourself time to address your gambling behaviour and seek advice if required.
There are plenty of people you can speak to anonymously and with confidence, including several gambling addiction and support charities that operate in the UK. You can find their websites and contact details – including whether they offer live chat – below.
HELP IS AT HAND: CONTACT DETAILS FOR GAMBLING ADDICTION ORGANISATIONS:
As an independent charity, BeGambleAware’s mission is to create awareness of problem gambling while reducing the effects of addictive gambling as well as funding research, education and treatment of gambling-related harms.
Live chat: Yes
Tel: 0808 8020133
One of the UK’s leading responsible gambling organisations, GamCare provides support and information to those affected by addictive gambling, offering advice, education and treatment for problem gamblers throughout the UK.
Live chat: Yes
Tel: 0808 8020133
Gamblers Anonymous facilitates the meeting of men and women suffering from gambling addiction in an effort to help them support each other through their compulsive gambling issues.
Live chat: Yes
THE SENET GROUP:
The Senet Group is an independent organisation made up of online gambling operators including Ladbrokes Coral, Paddy Power Betfair, Sky Betting and Gaming and William Hill. Its purpose is to improve standards in online gambling, particularly around responsible gambling.
You may be familiar with its “When The Fun Stops, Stop” campaign which is heavily advertised on TV in the UK. While not a gambling addiction charity itself, it works with BeGambleAware to help those in need.
Live chat: No
HOW TO COMPLETELY BLOCK ONLINE CASINO SITES:
If you do decide to stop playing online casino and take a cooling-off period or self-exclude, you may wish to take additional steps to ensure you cannot access sites.
While opting to take a break or self-excluding should block you from the online casino(s) you play at, there have been some, albeit rare, cases where players have still been able to sign in or have been marketed to. To help prevent this you can install software that will block online gambling sites.
Here are some of the best products available to people in the UK:
gamban® can be installed on any computer, smartphone or tablet and will block access to all online gambling websites and mobile applications.
The software costs just £1 per month per device, which means you can block access to all online gambling sites for as little as £12 per year.
It targets online gambling sites only, and once installed can’t be removed.
Net Nanny® is a general internet filter used by thousands of people in the UK and further afield to block access to certain categories of website, including online gambling.
There are different products and prices offered, but you can protect up to five computers and mobile devices for around £1 per device per month.
THE MOST RESPONSIBLE ONLINE CASINO OPERATORS:
All online casinos that are licensed by the UK Gambling Commission must meet its strict player protection and responsible gambling requirements, such as offering the tools and limits discussed earlier in this guide. But some operators take this to the next level.
The below online casinos are the ones that in our experience go above and beyond what is required by the UK Gambling Commission and should be considered the most responsible.
LeoVegas has created a website, Leosafeplay, that is dedicated to educating its players and the wider online casino community about responsible gambling.
It is packed full of guides, articles and advice to help players keep in control of their play and mitigate the risk of them developing problem gambling habits.
In addition to this, LeoVegas has launched another initiative – LeoCare – that sees it fund three therapy sessions for players that have developed a gambling problem so long as they have been wagering with them for a year and have spent more than £150.
Read our review of LeoVegas here
PlayOJO has positioned itself as the only truly fair online casino. Why? Because it imposes no wagering requirements whatsoever, rewards players with cashback on every spin whether they win or lose and allows them to withdraw cashback at anytime without no limits.
The operator is also very open and honest when it comes to terms and conditions. This no bullshit approach has made it very popular with players in the UK and beyond and is why we are more than happy to recommend it to you.
Read more about PlayOJO here.
bgo offers a standard range of responsible gambling tools, but what really sets this operator aside from others is that it is based in the UK. This will help reassure those players who are more comfortable wagering with an operator that has an office in England.
What’s more, the bgo customer support team is also based in the UK and offers one of the highest levels of customer service, particularly when it comes to ensuring players are happy and healthy
Read our bgo casino review.
RECAPPING RESPONSIBLE GAMBLING
Online casino is a very popular form of entertainment, and by understanding responsible gambling and setting the necessary limits you can enjoy playing your favourite slots, jackpot, table and live dealer games while remaining happy and healthy.
If you would like to talk to a member of the Find My UK Casino team about responsible gambling, you can send us a message here.