This week is Safer Gambling Week—7 days in which the industry gets together to promote safer and more responsible gambling. Running from November 13th to November 19th, it should lead to increased responsible gambling initiatives and could explain why you’ve been seeing a lot of “safe gambling” adverts lately.
What is Safer Gambling Week?
Safer Gambling Week began in 2017 as a joint initiative from the British Amusement Catering Trade Association, the Bingo Association, and the Betting and Gaming Council. It’s all about keeping players safe and ensuring they gamble responsibly, and it promotes this ideology by working with operators and highlighting responsible gambling programs.
During 2022’s Safer Gambling Week, there was a 12.5% increase in the number of accounts setting deposit limits. Today, 61% of players have set these limits on their accounts, ensuring that they can’t deposit more than a predetermined sum. There was also a three-fold increase in players setting reality checks (the pop-ups that appear every 30 to 60 minutes to tell you how long you’ve been gambling).
Quick Tips on Responsible Gambling
- Set session/weekly/monthly limits and stick to them
- Use deposit limits (available on all licensed UK sites) to enforce your limits
- Only gamble what you can afford to lose
- Don’t chase your losses (increasing bet sizes to win back the money you have lost)
- Refrain from gambling when you are depressed or angry
- Don’t gamble under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Use problem gambling resources
- Seek help from family/friends or professionals if your gambling is getting out of hand
Facts about Problem Gambling in the UK
It has been estimated that anywhere from 0.4% to 2.7% of UK residents are problem gamblers.
The exact figure varies by organisation and report. A 2020 YouGov study put the number of problem gamblers at 2.7% while the UK Gambling Commission estimated just 0.4%. The number of “at-risk” gamblers—those on the precipice of addiction—is thought to be much higher.
It’s a tough addiction to track. Not only can it cause financial, emotional, and social damage, but it’s also comorbid with many other conditions and substance abuse disorders.
The vast majority of gamblers bet responsibly, but for the small few, gambling can be destructive. It’s those individuals that responsible gambling programs and initiatives like Safer Gambling Week aim to protect.
Helpful Resources for Problem Gamblers
- Gamble Aware—quizzes, news, support, stories, and more.
- Gamcare—get support and join the community. You can also call 0808 8020 133 for support (0800 088 6725 from Northern Ireland and 1800 936 725 from Ireland).
- Gamstop—a self-exclusion tool that blocks access to a number of sites.
- NHS Checklist—includes a quiz to check if you have an issue with gambling.
- National Debt Line—helpful advice about debt. You can also call 08088 084000.
- Money Helper—a money management service set up by the government.
You can also check the “Responsible Gambling” section of a bingo site, casino, or sportsbook. In addition to helpful information and resources relating to problem gambling, it will tell you about the site’s reality check feature, deposit limits, time outs, and self-exclusions, all of which can help you to manage your gambling.