While gambling is considered to be a fun and exciting pastime in the UK as in the rest of the world, there is a need for regulatory bodies to help control various aspects of the gambling industry. Gambling addiction is one such problem and can cause irreparable damage to the addict.
- It can lead to dire financial problems.
- It adversely affects his physical health.
- It causes high-risk mental health issues.
- It definitely impacts not just the person but also his immediate family, causing sociological issues.
The Need for Responsible Gambling in the UK
The worst thing is because gambling gives you the hope of winning, you do not realize when to back out. If you are losing you hope to win back what you lost, and if you are winning you hope to win more. It is a vicious cycle from which it is very difficult to get out of. The biggest problem – you may not even realize you are turning into a gambling addict. The onus then is on the casino operators, under the guidance of government policy to ensure people are aware of the risk of gambling addiction and at least:
- Help them realize they have a gambling problem.
- Give them guidelines on who to contact once they identify the problem.
That is why responsible gambling initiatives are big in the UK. It is not just company policy; government legislation and policies also require online casino operators to display their commitment towards ensuring you gamble responsibly. That is why you find all online gambling operators have initiatives directed towards ensuring responsible gambling incorporated into their policies. They all display links of organizations you can go to for help if you have a gambling problem.
Our Commitment to Responsible Gambling
We at OnlineSlots Plus are totally committed to ensuring you gamble responsibly and also to ensure the prevention of underage gambling. We believe it is our responsibility to keep players – existing and prospective – informed about the threat of gambling addiction. That is why we have compiled for you a list of things to keep in mind when you are gambling. We have also listed out for you the names of organisations that are committed to responsible gambling and who provide players with a problem with support, including counselling.
One thing you must understand – ensuring responsible gambling is something you have to do; we can only help. The following are a few guidelines and pointers to help you achieve that:
- Never overshoot your bankroll.
- If you have lost more than you have won, or lost all your bankroll the best thing to do is move on, not add more money to your bankroll.
- Gambling is not a way of getting rich quick; this is something you have to understand.
- If you feel you have a gambling problem, get professional help right away. This is something you should do even for a friend you think may be suffering from gambling addiction.
- Check for online tools that can help you keep tabs on your bankroll and put a limit on your spend. Use these tools even if you do not have a problem. It is better to be safe than sorry, as the saying goes.
Resources for Responsible Gambling in the UK
In the United Kingdom, you will find that there are quite a few organizations whose objective is to ensure responsible gambling and help players sort out their gambling addiction. These organizations work with all the major stakeholders – the player, his immediate family and also the industry itself.
- For the players and their family they offer help in the form of counselling services and more.
- For the industry they offer training and data to help the people in it understand social responsibility and also their responsibility to ensure that no players go astray while gambling.
Some of the major organizations in the UK working to ensure responsible gambling include:
- Gamblers Anonymous
- Gambling Therapy
- The Great Foundation
Apart from these organizations there is also the United Kingdom Gambling Commission which regulates gambling in the UK and works towards identifying problem gambling. A study it conducted across 4 quarters in the year 2016 – right up to December 2016 – shows some startling trends that highlight:
- The evolution of gambling in the current social context
- The ease of access for players from the younger age-groups
- The need for and relevance of responsible gambling
The following are some of the issues that the study threw up:
- 78% of the respondents agreed that there were too many opportunities to gamble today.
- 48% of people have indulged in some form of gambling in the past 4 weeks, a 3% increase from December 2015.
- The above number goes down to 33% if you exclude National Lottery participants.
- If you take only online/mobile gambling the number is 17%.
- 53% of men have gambled.
- 44% of women have gambled.
- 55% of gamblers use a laptop or computer.
- 43% of gamblers use a mobile device – smartphone or tablet.
- o Men are more likely to use a smartphone.
- o Women are more likely to use a tablet.
- 26% of gamblers ‘Like’ gambling companies on Facebook.
- 15% of gamblers follow gambling companies on Twitter.
- People in the age group of 18-24 are more likely to be prompted to gamble by social media ads and posts.
- Only 6% of gamblers in the UK have ever self-excluded themselves.
- The awareness of self-exclusion among non-excluders has increased over the years, standing at 37% in 2016 compared to 29% in 2015.
- The proportion of respondents to the study who were identified as problem gamblers stood at 0.7%.
- The proportion of respondents identified as at-risk gamblers stood at 5.5%.
One organization in the UK that has been doing enormous amount of work when it comes to responsible gambling is GambleAware®. Funded by the Responsible Gambling Trust it is the leading charity in the UK for responsible, raising a minimum of £5 million from the UK’s gambling industry. This money is then used to fund its activities in different domains when it comes to responsible gambling, including:
You can contact professionals at GambleAware® for help or even counselling if you have a problem with gambling or know someone in your family and immediate circle of friends who does. You can contact the professional on the National Gambling Helpline that is run by GamCare, which operates in synergy with GambleAware® in specific areas of work. This is not the only organization you can get in touch with through GambleAware®; there are others as well, including:
- Gamblers Anonymous
- Gam-Anon UK and Ireland
- Gambling Therapy
- National Problem Gambling Clinic
- Gordon Moody Association
If you are looking for information on responsible gambling you can visit the GambleAware® website. One section that you can focus on there is the Responsible Gambling InfoHub, an independent online resource on gambling that is free for anyone with a gambling problem or subject matter interest to access. Click here to visit the GambleAware® website.
Gamblers Anonymous is dedicated to helping people with gambling problems. The organization is open to anyone with a gambling problem; there are regular meetings where people come and share their problems and experiences. That is not all; they also share information on the strengths they have derived during their journey, the progress they have made, the challenges they face, and other related issues. There is no membership drive nor is there any registration process; anyone with a gambling problem looking to do something about it is free to come and participate in a meeting. Click here to learn all about Gamblers Anonymous.
Gamblers Anonymous has multiple ways of helping a person with a problem looking to be part of a meeting to share experiences, seek help and support and get over their habit. We list these ways below:
- Meetings: Every week Gamblers Anonymous organizes more than 170 meetings across the UK. All you need to do is find the venue closest to you and turn up. There are different kinds of meetings, however:
- Main: These meetings are exclusively for compulsive gamblers to come and meet others like them and share their experiences and draw help and support from each other.
- Newcomers: These are meetings specifically for newcomers. Other than that, they are just like the main meetings.
- Women-preferred: These are meeting specially designed for women.
- Steps: Gamblers Anonymous has a 12-step program designed to help people face and overcome their gambling problem. The steps meeting focuses specifically on the 12-step program.
- Open: These are meetings where people with a compulsive gambling problem can come with family and friends. You will find that a majority of participants in these meetings are people who have beat their problem and share their experiences and struggles in overcoming their problem, for which they are appreciated and recognized by the others.
- Mixed: These are meetings where a person with an existing gambling problem can come with a friend or family member.
- Gamanon: These are meetings for the family and friends of people with a compulsive gambling problem.
- Unity: They are like mixed meetings, but incorporate elements of Gamanon and GA meetings.
- Forum: The forum in Gamblers Anonymous is an online resource. You can come to the forum and share your story with other participants there. At the forum you are able to ask for advice and also offer help to fellow gamblers.
- Chat room: Gamblers Anonymous also runs a moderated chat room on their website. If you have a gambling problem you can connect directly with other people in the chat room and share your problems. However, you need to log in to the chat room to get in touch with others.
Gambling Therapy is an online support service that works with people from across the world with a gambling problem. In the UK it is part of the Gordon Moody Association. You are guaranteed expert help from people who understand your problem because some of the staff at Gambling Therapy have themselves had gambling problems in the past or have been associated with people with gambling problems. All staff here are counsellors or support workers who have had extensive training in counselling and online support.
When you approach Gambling Therapy you get expert advice and counselling from a team through various means, including:
- Live Advice Helpline, which is a text-based helpline for gambling addicts and people who have gambling problems
- A range of online groups and forums
- E-mail driven confidential advice
- An extensive information repository of local resources across the world
You need to be registered on the website to be able to access all the features that Gambling Therapy provides for anyone looking for help or advice in overcoming a gambling problem. For those using smartphones, there is also an app, the GT app, which can be downloaded from the app store of the platform the smartphone or tablet runs on. The latest update is a treatment programme solely for women with a gambling problem. Click here to learn all about Gambling Therapy.
GamCare is one of the leaders in the UK when it comes to providing information, advice, support and also free counselling to help prevent and treat gambling problems. This independent charity helps people with gambling problems and also their friends and families overcome their problems by interacting with trained professionals with years of experience in the fields of counselling and support.
GamCare also works with the gambling industry in the UK to help increase awareness about problem gambling among players and industry professionals. It offers training and certification programmes for industry professionals, besides raising the visibility of the National Gambling Helpline and making contributions to research.
Apart from helping problem gamblers, GamCare also develops educational and prevention strategies to increase awareness about the issue among the younger population. Another area of work is offering direct support to youngsters with a gambling problem. It executes these strategies through:
- The BigDeal website, which was launched in 2012 and targets youngsters in the age group of 12 to 18 years.
- The Community Youth Education, which is a pilot project being implemented in collaboration with Addiction Recovery Agency (ARA), in schools and colleges across Bristol.
UK players who are not sure if they have a gambling problem can use the GamCare self-assessment tool. This tool has 16 statements that have to be rated on a scale of 0 to 10; the score tells them if they have a gambling problem and if they do, how much is it impacting 4 vital areas of their life:
Problem gamblers and also their friends and families can approach GamCare for help using one of multiple channels available:
- Helpline: A helpline with advisers on call between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 a.m. local time daily.
- NetLine: An online text service for players in the UK that can be accessed from a computer, laptop, smartphone or tablet. It is available daily between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 a.m. local time.
- Forum: An online forum with an active and moderated chatroom that allows players and their families to chat with other players and counsellors.
- Face to Face and Counselling Online: Counselling facilities that are available online and also face-to-face.
The (Fundraising for) Gambling Research, Education and Treatment (GREaT) Foundation was earlier known as Responsibility in Gambling Trust (RIGT) and was set up in 2002. The name change happened in September 2009 – along with the formation of 2 other entities after a review by the UKGC: the Responsible Gambling Fund (RGF) and the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB) but the core objective remained the same: using multiple channels including education, research and treatment to help people overcome their gambling problem.
The GREaT Foundation is a gambling charity that is operated by gambling operators and other industry stakeholders. However, they are not the sole contributors to this foundation; other parties who make donations to the charity include organizations and agencies that have a source of income in the gambling industry. These include, among others:
- Banking industry
- Media industry
- Professional advisors
The government, on its part keeps track of organizations who contribute to this charity and also those who don’t, or who do but not commensurate with the income they generate. For all this, the government works closely with the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). As a result of this tracking, you find a significant number of companies from the UK gambling industry supporting the GREaT Foundation. These include, among others:
- Paddy Power
- Genting UK
- Astra Games
- NetPlay TV Services
GamBlock is an online tool that is designed to help people of different age groups deal with gambling-related problems. GamBlock was launched in the year 2000 and helps prevent:
- Underage gambling
- Gambling in schools
- Gambling at the workplace
GamBlock® uses state-of-the-art analyses and technology to identify and block newer names that need to go on the block list, in terms of websites and also software. It is not a free service, however; users need to buy the software, available in both single and multiple-license formats for individual use. It is used by a number of businesses, government offices, libraries and other such institutions to ensure users cannot make use of their computers for gambling. It is available as a mobile application as well. The best thing is it blocks websites not only by the URL; it uses advanced heuristics to ensure it works in all languages.