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10 ways to keep yourself safe when gambling

1)    Ask yourself why you are gambling 
Are you gambling to escape debt or as a way to make quick money? Think carefully about your motivations to gamble. Gambling shouldn’t be seen as the answer to improving your personal finances. If you have concerns about money, speak to a financial adviser or student support services.

2)    Monitor how often you’re gambling online
Websites must give you access to historic account activity. This means you can see exactly when, how much and what you’ve been gambling on over time and make well-informed choices about what to do next.

3)    Keep track of how much time you’ve spent gambling – With a reality check, you can set alerts to pop up on screen, which help you to monitor the time spent gambling either online or on gaming machines in a betting shop.

4)    Limit how much you can spend
If you’re concerned about how much money you’re gambling, you can set a limit on how much you spend across individual gambling products online. You can also set a limit on how much you spend on gaming machines in a betting shop.

5)    Give yourself a timeout 
During a timeout, you can block yourself from gambling online for a set amount of time, of up to 6 weeks, and even bar yourself from gambling during a specific time of day.

6)    Need a longer break? Self-exclude from gambling firms for a minimum of 6 months
If you think you are spending too much time or money gambling – whether online or in gambling premises – you can ask to be self-excluded. This is when you ask the company to stop you from gambling with them for a period of time. The exclusion will last for a minimum of least six months. Self-exclusion can be used if you think you have a problem with gambling and want help to stop. We are also working with industry representatives to develop a national online self-exclusion scheme.

7)    Read the terms and conditions 
Did you know almost 80% of gamblers haven’t read the terms and conditions on the websites they are gambling on? By taking the time to read the T&Cs, you can ensure you understand exactly what you are gambling on, and what restrictions are attached to promotions and bonus offers (such as a minimum spend level before the bonus is paid) – this will help you make an informed decision.

8)    Make sure the website you’re gambling with is licensed 
Make sure you’re gambling with a Gambling Commission licensed business. This means you’ll be protected by gambling and consumer protection rules in Great Britain. Licensed gambling businesses must display that they are licensed and provide a link to our licence register where you can see what type of activities they are allowed to offer and also if we have taken any regulatory action against them. 

9)    Check how your money is protected 
Any gambling business that holds customer funds must explain in their T&Cs how customer funds are protected if the business goes bust - this should help you decide who you want to gamble with.

10) Feel it’s getting too much? Talk to someone 
There are a number of gambling support groups available if you feel your gambling is getting out of control or too much. More information about the signs of problem gambling can be found on the Gambleaware and Gamcare websites. They also provide general information about gambling, including how to gamble safely and where to get help if you or someone you know has problems with their gambling.

National Gambling Helpline on Freephone 0808 8020 133