Our Free Guide to Responsible Gambling and how to Gamble Responsibly

It may come as a surprise to some that a website such as ours, Free Bets UK, care about responsible gambling. However, in this day and age, responsible gambling is a big thing and any serious person or company in the betting and gambling industry takes it extremely seriously. Obviously, the gambling industry survives on people spending money and overall, people losing money, but this has to be done responsibly. So, we have decided to write a full guide on responsible gambling, on both what gambling sites have to do by law, and moral duty, to protect players, but also what you as a customer can do to make sure you are betting responsibly and steps you should be taking to make sure you keep gambling a fun pastime that you enjoy and do you no harm.

The first thing to know about our site is we only advertise betting sites and gaming sites that are fully licenced in the United Kingdom, which is the first layer of protection. This is because back on the 1st November 2014, the UK government brought in new legislation — The Gambling (Licensing and Adverting) Act 2014. This firstly meant that if any gambling company wanted to operate in the United Kingdom, then first, they needed a licence granted by the UK Gambling Commission. The licence was not easy to come by either, there were a number of strict rules that were attached to the licence which had to be adhered to.

What do online gambling sites have to do for responsible gambling?

So, what does this mean for players? Well, there are a number of things that came about with the need for licences that were for the benefit of players. Safety and security measures came in, such as gambling companies having to keep players deposits and funds ringfenced so if the company had financial issues, player’s money was safe. Importantly though, there were many measures that also came in to insure players were betting and gambling responsibly with tools to help keep in control and even take a break if needed.

These days, even the sign-up process needs to be checked with KYC procedures and source of income checks. These checks make sure they know who you are, but also that you are able to fund your gambling activities. It is worth saying this goes to protect the gambling companies as well against money laundering. During the sign-up process, you will also come across the first set of tools that will help you keep your gambling under control.

The first set of tools are deposit limits, where you can choose to limit how much you can deposit, normally on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. This is a great tool and does a lot of good. One great thing is that you can decrease this limit whenever you want, and it is applied immediately. However, if you decide to increase that limit, you can, but it will take 24 hours before it is activated, which many times is long enough to “cool down” if that player has been on a bad run and started to bet irresponsibly.

Also, gambling sites must offer customers the chance to take a break or even self-exclude fully. The “cool off” period or time out is where you can request to take a break from gambling on that website for a set period, ranging from 24 up to, usually, 6 weeks. Once you have requested this, you won’t be able to access any of the websites betting or gambling products, so is great if you are maybe just starting to spend too much.

Moving further from the time-out feature is a stronger ‘self-exclusion’ option. Here you can totally exclude for a set period ranging from 6 months to 5 years. Again, you will not be able to access any gambling products, are removed from all marketing lists, and you can’t reverse this decision. Also, due to the ‘know your customer’ (KYC) checks, you won’t be able to just open a new gambling account with that company during that time as a way to get around your exclusion. You will also be able to block certain sections of the betting site as well. For example, if you place a couple of small bets on the football each week but can’t help getting carried away on the casino section, you can block all casino play if you wish.

What can you do to keep gambling responsibly?

So, the online bookmakers have these features to help look after you, but what can you do as a player to keep gambling responsibly? One of the golden rules with betting and gambling is it should be fun, and you should make sure it stays fun.

Only betting what you can afford to lose sounds like a sensible mantra, but it can be too easy sometimes for emotions to run away and start betting beyond your means. It can help to set a budget of what, if you do lose it, can afford to do so and then stick to it.

Another thing you should do, following on from the last point, is never chase your losses. A £20 losing bet can easily turn into £40 losses, then £60 losses if you try winning all your losses back.

Recently BeGambleAware have been pushing a campaign, which you may have seen on TV, to ‘Avoid Bet Regret’. Here they are encouraging people to get into the habit of tapping out of their betting app before placing a bet, so you can pause, reflect and have a second thought about placing that bet.

As we mentioned earlier, gambling should be fun and should never be looked at as a way to make money. The best way to look at it is to think of your bet or bets as the cost of entertainment, like a football match ticket, and sometimes you are maybe lucky and win a nice little bet. But overall, most people will lose in the long run, so it is important to remember gambling should be a fun bit of entertainment and nothing more.

If you are feeling down, upset or depressed, then you should also avoid gambling. When you are in any of those mindsets, you may make rash decisions and bet recklessly, so make sure you have a clear and happy mind before you think about betting. That also applies to being under the influence of drink or drugs, if you are then you should avoid betting as your inhibitions could be lowered a great deal and again, could lead to you making some badly judge bets and mistakes.

What to do if you think you have a gambling problem?

Unfortunately, there are some people that gambling does become too much and turns into an addiction, which can lead to some serious issues. There is plenty of help there though if needed. Firstly, you can visit sites such as BeGambleAware.org where they have plenty of advice and tools to see if you indeed do have a gambling problem, and if so, how you can go about fixing it. At their website you will find a host of help and advice, including live chat, where you can speak to an advisor who can quickly go about getting you to the right place.

Another great service that has been set up is Gamstop, which can be found at GamStop.co.uk. This is a fantastic service which involves every single online betting site licensed in the United Kingdom. Here you can register your details and self-exclude from all the different UK licensed betting and gambling sites in one go. You simply sign up with your details and within 24 hours you will not be able to use any UK licensed online gambling site for a period of 6 months, 1 year or 5 years dependent on the option you choose. They will also offer you a selection of further tools helping you try to get to grips with gambling.

So please, if you do think your gambling is getting out of control, or you are spending too much or anything else, reach out for help and let’s keep gambling fun.