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Ways to stay safe when gambling

We want to make sure that everyone is staying safe while gambling. These guides will give you advice and different ways to keep yourself safe.

Published: 23 September 2020

Last updated: 2 August 2021

This version was printed or saved on: 22 May 2024

Online version: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/public-and-players/guide/ways-to-stay-safe-when-gambling

Overview: We want to make sure that everyone is staying safe while they gamble, and be able to reach out if they are struggling.

These guides give advice and different ways you can keep yourself safe.

Organisations that can help

National Gambling Treatment Service (opens in new tab)
The National Gambling Helpline which is operated by GamCare, offers confidential advice, support, and information on problem gambling. You can speak with an adviser for free 24 hours a day, 365 days a year over the phone or Live Chat.
National Problem Gambling Clinic (opens in a new tab)
The National Problem Gambling Clinic is part of the National Gambling Treatment Service and is jointly commissioned by GambleAware and NHS England.
Northern Gambling Service (opens in a new tab)
The NHS Northern Gambling Service (also known as the Northern Gambling Clinic) provides specialist addiction therapy and recovery to people affected by gambling addiction.
NHS - Help for problem gambling (opens in a new tab)
Information on the NHS Website about problem gambling.
MoneyHelper (opens in a new tab)
An independent service set up by government to help people manage their money.
Debt Advice Foundation (opens in new tab)
A UK debt advice charity offering free, confidential support and advice to anyone worried about debt.
Debt Support Trust (opens in new tab)
Telephone: 0800 058 0226
A not for profit debt charity with trained, friendly debt advisors ready to advise you on available debt solutions.
National Debt Line (opens in new tab)
National helpline number: 08088 084000
Provides free confidential and independent advice on how to deal with debt problems.
StepChange Debt Charity (opens in new tab)
Telephone: 0800 138 1111
A debt advice organisation offering free, confidential and impartial debt help to anyone who needs it. Available online 24 hours a day.
Counselling Directory (opens in new tab)
Provides a counselling support network, enabling those in distress to find a counsellor close to them and appropriate for their needs.
Samaritans (opens in new tab)
UK helpline number: 116 123
A 24 hours a day service providing confidential emotional support for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which may lead to suicide.

Talk to someone if you're feeling overwhelmed

If you feel that you are struggling with gambling, or that your gambling is becoming a problem, then talk to someone.

Talking to someone outside of the situation may help you to find a solution to the problem, and there are many organisations that can help.

More information about the signs of problem gambling can be found on the GambleAware website (opens in new tab) and GamCare website (opens in new tab).

They provide general information about gambling, including how to gamble safely and where to get help if you or someone you know is experiencing problems with their gambling.

Think about why you are gambling

There are many reasons why people gamble, and these reasons can vary and change over time. It may be helpful to think about why you are gambling, for example, is it a social activity or has it turned into a habit?

Think carefully about your motivations to gamble, and be aware if these begin to change.

Gambling should not be used to improve personal finances

If your main motivation to gamble is to escape debt or if you are using gambling in order to make money quickly, then speak to a financial adviser (opens in new tab) or student support services (opens in new tab) who will be able to help you with money concerns.

Monitor how often you are gambling

A useful way of keeping your gambling activity in control is to monitor how often you are gambling.

If you gamble online, the websites you use must provide access to your account activity, which means you will be able to see:

Having this information will allow you to control your gambling and make decisions based on your recent activity. You will be able to make informed decisions and set yourself limits.

If your gambling activity is increasing, think about why you are gambling.

Put a limit on your spending

If you notice that you are spending more money on gambling than usual, you can put limits in place that will control how much you spend.

Many gambling sites have a feature whereby you put a cap onto your account in order to make sure that you do not go over a certain amount.

You are also able to set a limit on how much you spend on gaming machines in betting shops.

Give yourself timeouts from gambling

Taking timeouts from gambling allows you to:

If you choose to take a timeout, you can block yourself from gambling for up to six weeks.

Always read the terms and conditions

Almost 80% of gamblers do not read the terms and conditions on the websites they gamble on.

You should take the time to read the terms and conditions, making sure you are aware of exactly what you are gambling on, restrictions, promotions or bonus offers.

By doing this you will be able to make an informed decision as to whether you wish to continue gambling.

Make sure that the gambling business is licensed

Before you gamble, check that the business has a Gambling Commission licence.

If the business has a Gambling Commission license, you will be protected by consumer and gambling protection rules in Great Britain.

Licensed gambling businesses must display that they are licensed and also provide a link to our public register.

The public register allows you to see what type of activities gambling businesses can offer, and if we have ever taken any regulatory action against them.

Sharing personal information with third parties

You should not share your personal details with third parties for use in opening online gambling accounts.

Online gambling websites are required to confirm the identity of their customers to comply with regulatory and legal requirements.

If someone asks you for your personal details in order to open new online gambling accounts, they may be trying to:

You should be wary of any approach to use your personal details or bank accounts by a third party for use with gambling companies.

Whilst such offers can often include financial incentives you should consider the associated risks which may include: