Identifying harmful gambling behaviors can be difficult, but there are some warning signs to look out for. These can include betting more than you can afford, feeling the need to increase your wagers to get the same level of excitement, chasing your losses by placing more bets, gambling for longer periods than planned, neglecting your responsibilities or social life due to gambling, and feeling anxious or irritable when not gambling. If you notice any of these behaviors in yourself or a loved one, it may be time to seek help or take steps to gamble more responsibly.
To enjoy a safe gambling experience, it’s crucial to implement ‘safer gambling’ measures to minimize risks associated with betting. Practicing responsible gambling ensures that you maintain a positive relationship with gambling, including how you handle wins and losses. It’s important for all bettors to prioritize safe gambling throughout their betting journey.
To avoid the negative effects of gambling, prevention is key. Planning beforehand on how much to bet, the frequency of betting, and the markets to bet on helps to maintain a healthy relationship with gambling.
If you suspect that you might have a gambling problem, watch out for signs such as chasing losses, increasing stakes for the thrill, borrowing money to bet, or betting beyond your means. It’s crucial to reflect on the impact of gambling on your life and those around you, including family and friends.
Strategies to Gamble Safely & Enjoyably
To ensure a safer and more enjoyable gambling experience, it’s important to adopt safe gambling strategies. Even if you don’t suspect that you have a gambling problem, it’s a good practice to be mindful of your betting behaviour. Bookmakers and banks offer a variety of tools to help minimize risk, but self-discipline is key. Planning in advance about how much to bet, how often, and in what circumstances can help maintain a positive relationship with gambling.
There are several ways to minimise the risk of harm from gambling, such as setting limits on your spending and time spent gambling, taking regular breaks, and never chasing losses. By implementing these strategies, you can have a more enjoyable gambling experience while also safeguarding your financial and mental health in the long run.
Play Smarter: Think Long Term
By taking a structured approach to gambling, rather than impulsively betting, you can gain several benefits. One effective strategy is to create a gambling budget or staking plan, as well as keeping a record of your bets and balance.
Budgeting and Staking Limits
By keeping a record of your betting expenses, you can better control your monthly spending and see how much you can afford to stake on each bet. This helps you avoid falling prey to the gambler’s mentality, which can lead to chasing losses and taking unnecessary risks. By setting a maximum stake or unit, you can feel confident that you’ve maximized your winnings while staying within your budget. Additionally, tracking your balance can give you a clear picture of your overall gambling performance and help you identify any areas where you may need to adjust your strategy.
Keep Track of Profit and Loss
One of the key aspects of safe gambling is to keep track of your profit and loss (P&L). This is because staying in profit in the long run can be challenging, and it’s essential to understand how losses can add up over time. Tracking your P&L can also remind you that even if others appear to be successful and boast about their winnings, they may actually be in the red when looking at their long-term results.
Put Your Chances of Winning Into Perspective
By tracking your bets over time, you can gain a better understanding of your gambling habits and motivations. This can be especially helpful in identifying whether you are gambling for entertainment or for financial gain. Keeping a record of your bets can also help you to track your progress and see how frequently you win or lose. This can help you to reassess your betting strategy and potentially make adjustments to your approach, which could ultimately make gambling more enjoyable for you.
When you have a long-term perspective, you may feel less urgency to tackle issues immediately. In the context of betting, this could mean waiting for a particular horse or team that you prefer in order to enhance your enjoyment and increase your chances of winning. Additionally, recognising that even mathematical strategies involve some degree of losses can help you manage expectations and plan accordingly for off-days.
What Tools are Available?
Bookmakers are required by law to offer certain tools to promote responsible gambling, and many offer additional tools to ensure their customers are gambling safely. There is a wide range of tools available that can help with this. Licensed operators are obligated to provide access to your account activity, which allows you to see:
- When you have gambled
- How much time you are spending gambling
- How much money you spent gambling
- How often you log in to your account
However, many operators are now going offer more tools such as:
If you need to manage your spending while gambling, deposit limits are available that enable you to set a daily, weekly, or monthly deposit limit. This allows you to enjoy your gambling activities within your budget. If you wish to increase your limit, it usually takes 24 hours to activate, while decreasing your limit will take effect immediately.
Cool Off Periods
Cool Off tools are available to assist you in managing your gambling habits. These tools enable you to take a break from gambling for a specified period of time, ranging from one to 30 days. Once your Cool Off period is over, you can resume accessing gambling sites and apps without having to contact your bookmaker.
Profit & Loss
If you enjoy tracking numbers and keeping tabs on your gambling activity, Profit & Loss tools are available to show you how much you’ve won or lost during a specific time period. These tools can help you stay on top of your budget for the coming weeks or months.
If you’re concerned about spending too much time gambling on your phone, Reality Check Tools can help. This responsible gambling tools provide interval-based reminders of how long you’ve been playing on your bookmaker’s site, with reminders set at intervals ranging from 20 minutes up to 2 hours. You have the ability to control how much time you spend on the bookmaker’s product. By setting a reminder with Reality Check, you’ll be given the option to log out, view your transaction history, or continue playing.
If you currently have a gambling problem or feel you’re at risk of developing one, you should consider using Self-Exclusion which is another Responsible Gambling tool which prevents you gambling with the bookmaker in question for a selected specified period of 6 months or 5 years. GAMSTOP is another self-exclusion tool in which you can blanket ban across a number of different bookmaker’s sites. This will prevent you from using gambling websites and apps run by companies licensed in Great Britain, for a period of your choosing. GAMSTOP is a free service for users. GAMSTOP is available for consumers resident within the United Kingdom (Great Britain and Northern Ireland) only.