While online gambling is a fun and harmless activity for many players, some experience issues – both in terms of the amount of money being spent and the amount of time spent gambling. Thankfully, the UK’s Gambling Commission is incredibly strict when it comes to responsible gambling measures and tools, and all online casinos that accept UK players are required to offer a wide variety of responsible gambling measures that you can use to limit or completely stop gambling online. In this post we’re going to be taking a look at what these tools are – and how you can take advantage of them to stay safe when gambling online.
Deposit limits are used by many thousands of players – even if they don’t consider themselves to have a gambling problem. For many of us, online gambling is fun – but it can be all too easy to get carried away, and if you’re worried about spending too much money you can choose to implement deposit limits. These are pre-set limits by you, and reset either daily, weekly or monthly; once you’ve surpassed your deposit limit you will not be able to deposit any more money at the online casino where the limit is set until the time period is up.
Deposit limit systems are incredibly simple, and if you want to set a deposit limit you simply need to choose how much money you want to be able to deposit into your online gambling account every day, week or month. For example, if you set a £100 deposit limit every week, you would need to wait a full 7 days after depositing £100 before you’d be able to add any more money into your online gambling account.
If you would like to remove or adjust your limit, you’ll usually need to wait until the end of the previously-set time limit – so, in the case of a weekly limit for example – in 7 days time. However, if you want to lower your deposit limit (i.e. make it so that you can deposit less money) you’ll be able to action these changes instantly without needing to wait.
Deposit limits can be set manually (all online casinos must offer players the ability to set deposit limits themselves through their online gambling account) but if you prefer you can reach out to a member of the casino’s customer support team; they’ll be more than happy to help you out and will be able to set the limits for you, if you don’t fancy doing it for yourself or run into any issues setting your deposit limits.
Stake and Loss Limits
Stake and loss limits aren’t used as much by players as deposit limits but again, they can be a very useful tool for those wanting to limit how much they’re spending online while gambling. They’re fairly self explanatory, and stake limits simply limit the amount of money you can wager on every bet or spin. For example, if you chose to set a stake limit of £5, you would be unable to wager more than £5 on each spin, if you were playing a slot, for example. This limit would also apply to casino table games, so you’d be able to wager more than £5 per round of Roulette, or per hand at the Blackjack tables.
If you wish to remove a stake limit you’ll need to, again, wait a certain amount of time before it’s removed. This is often dependent on the casino but you’ll need to wait at least 24 hours before any stake limits are removed from your account.
When it comes to loss limits, these are a little more complex – as some online casinos factor in previous winnings while others don’t. A loss limit simply means that you’re unable to lose more than a certain amount of money. Let’s say you make a £100 deposit, get your balance up to £400 and have a £200 loss limit. You would not be able to make a bet if it took your balance below £200. It’s quite a good way of ensuring you don’t end up losing a big win – and many players end up setting a loss limit if they have a large win but need to wait for their withdrawal to be processed/ID documents to be accepted to avoid them being tempted into going and playing with the funds.
Session Time Limits
Session time limits are offered by online casinos as a way of limiting the amount of time you spend gambling – and if you’ve played at UK-focused online casinos in the past you’ll probably have already seen prompts while playing letting you know how long you’ve been playing for, how much money you’ve won or lost and giving you the option to either log out or continue playing.
If you choose to set a session time limit you’ll be placing a limit on the amount of time you can gamble for. You simply need to let the online casino know how long you’d like to be able to gamble for, and once that time-frame is up you’ll be automatically logged out. You may also be told once the time-limit is up, and given an option of whether you’d like to continue playing or not.
If you don’t put a session time limit in place then the online casino will likely put one in place for you, like we mentioned earlier. This limit changes depending on the online casino in question but it’s generally around 20 minutes or once you’ve wagered £150. Once you’ve reached either of these limits, a pop-up will appear on your screen asking whether you’d like to continue playing or log out.
Time out breaks are a less-aggressive form of self exclusion, a responsible gambling tool that we’ll be covering in the following section of this post. If you’d like to take a break from gambing – but only for a short period of time – you can take a time-out. This allows you to, essentially, “lock” yourself out of your online gambling account for a period of time, ranging between 24 hours and 6 weeks. If you choose to take a time out, once confirmed you will be unable to log into your online casino account (or place a real-money wager) until the pre-set time limit is up.
Once the pre-set period of time has passed your account will be automatically reopened, and you’ll then be able to carry on playing as normal.
Self exclusion is a tool that – by law – has to be offered at all online casinos, and it’s a way of helping problem gamblers completely stop gambling online. It’s similar to the time-out feature we just covered, although the period of time self exclusion lasts for is a lot longer. There are usually multiple options available to you, including 6 months, 12 months, 2 years, 5 years or “lifetime”. Once you’ve requested self exclusion and confirmed that you wish to take it you will be immediately logged out of your account and will be unable to cancel this until the period of time has lapsed.
Once your self exclusion time period is up, you’ll also need to make what’s called a “positive action” in order to reopen your account. This means you’ll need to contact the online casino directly requesting that your account be reopened, and you’ll then need to wait for a 24-hour “cool off” time to pass before you’re able to log in.
Self-exclusion should only really be used by those who have significant problems with their online gambling levels, and you should be aware that most self exclusions are group-wide. So, if you self exclude from one online casino, you’ll usually be automatically self excluded from all other online casinos running on the same online gambling license – something to be aware of if you’re considering using the self exclusion facility.
A couple of years ago, GAMSTOP was released in conjunction with the UK’s Gambling Commission, and it’s a comprehensive way for players to ban themselves from all UK-licensed online casinos at once, without needing to self exclude manually from each site. This is made for those who are having severe problems with their gambling and need to take a complete break.
GAMSTOP is pretty simple to use, and to get started you simply need to head to the GAMSTOP website. You will then be asked a number to complete a number of fields, asking for information about you – expect to input your name, date of birth, email address, address, phone number, etc. Once you’ve confirmed with GAMSTOP that you wish to go through with the self exclusion process you’ll then need to complete a quick identity verification check. This is to ensure that others can’t manipulate the system and use it on anyone but themselves.
Once you’ve completed the identity check and confirmed how long you wish to be self excluded for GAMSTOP gets to work – and within 24 hours you’ll be automatically banned from all online casinos with a license from the UK Gambling Commission. What’s more, you’ll also be prevented from creating accounts at casinos where you don’t currently hold an account. However, the system isn’t 100% foolproof, and GAMSTOP state that ultimately, it’s up to you, as player, to ensure you don’t try to circumvent the system and create an account where you shouldn’t be able to.
Responsible gambling tools are, thankfully, non-negotiable for online casinos. Any site that wants to accept players from the UK must offer all of the tools we’ve talked about on this page – and you will be able to access them easily from within your account, should you wish to use any of them on your account.
If you feel as though you have severe issues with your online gambling then GAMSTOP is something you should consider – but be aware that it’s a “brute force” option, and you will not be able to undo it until the time-frame has passed, so it should only be used as a last option. If you have any questions about responsible gambling tools you can always contact the casino’s customer support team, and they’ll be happy to help guide you through the options available to you.