Frequently asked questions from gambling consumers during lockdown
We receive regular calls on a range of topics from consumers into our Contact Centre, which due to the Covid-19 crisis is currently open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. To continue to support consumers, especially during this time, here we outline some of the most common queries we are receiving.
Someone I know has been gambling under lockdown but the operator hasn’t completed any affordability checks. What are the rules around this?
We expect operators to have checks and controls in place to keep consumers safe and this includes stepping in when a consumer begins showing risks of gambling harm and checking that a consumer can afford their gambling activity. Read more about what we expect from operators on affordability and protecting consumers.
Am I correct in thinking I cannot use a credit card for my gambling account?
Yes, a credit card ban came into force on 14 April 2020 and we are monitoring this closely.
I’m seeing many more gambling adverts online. What can I do to block them?
You can limit the amount of adverts you are seeing on social media. We recently partnered with Twitter to create guidance aimed at supporting users who want to limit the amount of gambling-related content they see on the social media platform. The guidance explains the different ways in which Twitter’s safety tools and settings can be adjusted to reduce the risk of gambling-related messaging and advertisements appearing on your Twitter feed. We hope to do something similar with Facebook in the coming months.
In March we also reminded operators of our expectations around marketing and advertising during the lockdown period. Operators and their affiliates should be acting in a socially responsible way and not exploiting the current situation for marketing purposes.
I’m also seeing more gambling adverts on TV. What are you doing about it?
The industry body which represents betting shops, online betting and gaming, bingo and casinos, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has agreed to voluntarily remove all gaming product advertising on TV and radio for the duration of the Covid-19 lockdown. We welcome this announcement from the BGC as it will further help to protect consumers.
As the industry regulator, we are working closely with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and others to continue to review closely the impact of lockdown on gambling activity.
Complaints & Financial Redress
Can you help me get the money I lost gambling back from an operator?
Unfortunately, we don’t have the powers to resolve individual complaints or help you get your money back. However, we do want to hear from any consumers who have evidence of gambling businesses not following our rules as we use this information to build cases against operators and raise standards.
We do expect operators who hold a Gambling Commission licence to have procedures in place for handling customer complaints and arrangements for disputes to be referred to an independent third party. If you have a complaint, please contact the relevant operator. Learn more about complaints.
I’m having trouble cashing out from my online account? The company keep asking me for different types of ID?
Gambling businesses cannot demand customers submit ID as a condition of cashing out, if they could have asked for that information earlier. Read more about ID verifications and what we expect of operators. On 12 May 2020 we announced further measures to protect consumers and this included stopping all reverse withdrawal options until further notice.
Raffles & Lotteries
What are the rules around buying National Lottery tickets in person during lockdown?
The current operator has issued guidance to players and retailers on safe ways to play National Lottery games in this climate to minimise personal contact. Players should only buy their tickets, or claim prizes in a shop as part of an essential visit and whilst following the strict social distancing rules currently in place. The National Lottery can be played online and players are encouraged to play or check their tickets online or through the National Lottery app where possible.
Individual retailers are within their rights to decide what they stock and choose to sell as part of a customer's essential shop and won't be punished if they decide not to sell National Lottery products. We will of course continue to work with the National Lottery operator to follow government guidance closely and will review its advice for players and retailers in line with any changes to that guidance.
The National Lottery raises important funds for good causes and remains an important source of support at this challenging time.
I was able to gamble with an operator online despite having self-excluded. What can be done?
As of the end of March all online operators are now required to participate in the online self-exclusion scheme GAMSTOP and update their lists of self-excluded consumers every 24 hours. We took action against a number of operators who had failed to use the system and will not hesitate to do so again.
We do want to hear from any consumers who have evidence of gambling businesses not following our rules as we use this information to build cases against operators and raise standards.
Help & Support
Where do I go if I’m worried about someone’s gambling?
When it comes to support and advice about your gambling habits or the gambling habits of someone you care about, you are not alone.
- The National Gambling Helpline provides confidential information, advice and support for anyone affected by gambling problems in England, Scotland and Wales. For more information visit gamcare.org.uk
- Public Health England has also issued guidance, advice and tips on how to maintain your mental wellbeing if you need to stay at home.