Every UK-licensed online casino must include a range of measures to promote safe gaming, protect players and ensure you’re in control of your gambling behaviour and activity.

There are strict, clear rules and requirements for casino operators to meet regarding safe gaming including specific tools and services they have to provide. These are all determined and enforced by the Gambling Commission.

Comparasino is a strong advocate of safe gaming and making sure that when you do gamble, you’re equipped with as much information and knowledge on how to play safely as possible.

Amongst other things, we regularly post articles to our blog from responsible gambling and safe gaming experts, including this piece from Robert Mabbett, Engagement Director at BetterChange.

Playing at online casinos should be fun, and we are committed to helping you stay in control of how and when you play. This includes equipping you with the ability to identify problem gambling habits and behaviours and what you can do if you think you or someone you know has a gambling problem.

We’ve prepared a guide below on everything you need to know about gambling responsibly and safely, which you should give a thorough read before signing up to an online casino.

Setting boundaries when you play

Self-awareness and self-regulation of how and when you play online casino is something that comes to most players. You might like to set limits and parameters on your play even if you don’t appear to have a gambling problem, as it makes sure you don’t spend too much time or money while playing.

If you’re someone who likes to set those limits, whether to keep yourself in check or to tackle some unhealthy gambling habits, we’ve prepared a list of all the different types of limits that any UK-licensed online casino must offer…

Session limits – Often referred to as reality checks. They’re notifications or popups that will appear after you’ve been playing for a set amount of time. They’re a soft reminder that you’ve been playing for a while and give you the option to log out or continue playing.

Loss limits – Prevent loss chasing. Loss limits work like deposit limits but for the amount of money you lose while playing. Winning and losing is normal to online casino, but if you find yourself losing big or trying to make it back, a loss limit can help you manage your play.

Self-exclusion – Draw a line in the sand. Opting in for self-exclusion completely blocks you from the online casino you’re playing at for a set period of time, generally from one to five years. You won’t be able to sign in, deposit or play online casino games and won’t receive any marketing messages.

Deposit limits – Help keep your wallet closed. Deposit limits will prevent you from depositing more money into your account beyond your preset gambling budget. Designed to stop you from overspending, these limits can be set at daily, weekly or monthly rates.

Cooling off – Like taking a timeout. Setting a cooling-off period allows you to block yourself from playing online casino games for a set period of time. If you’re sinking too much time into playing and want to free yourself up for other things, this can be a good way to lock it in. Once the cooling-off period is over, you can play again.

Every casino is obligated to make these limits available to you, by law. However, the process to set those limits may vary depending on how a given online casino’s website or account management works. Most online casinos will make you aware and allow you to set limits when you first create your account. You can also hop in and set or change these limits on your account whenever suits you.

This is how it’s usually done:

1 – Log in to the online casino

2 – Click into your player account

3 – Click on settings and then on responsible gambling

4 – Set the limits you want to impose and click save

Most casinos will allow you to update your limits at any time, except when you’ve exceeded a limit. In those cases, you’ll have to wait for the limit period to pass before you can make a change.

Gambling safety checklist

Safe gaming and making sure you’re gambling responsibly is more than just setting limits. There are some important things you should check before you play that will help you adopt safe gaming practices and stay in control:

  • – You are over 18 years old and are playing at an online casino licensed by the UK Gambling Commission.
  • – You have a gambling budget and stick to it at all times.
  • – You have set limits to ensure you don’t lose or spend more than you can afford.
  • – You have set session limits and log out when prompted to do so by the online casino.
  • – You give yourself a time-out if you feel you’re spending too much time playing online casino.
  • – Contact a gambling addiction charity if you believe you are showing signs of problem gambling.

How to spot if you have a gambling problem

One of the biggest challenges with any addiction – including gambling – is that it’s hard to see and check for in others, but especially in yourself. If online casino is something you enjoy and your brain is telling you to do it more, more often, with higher stakes, it might seem less apparent to you how it’s impacting your life.

There are some early signs to watch out for to tell if you or someone you know is developing problem gambling habits. Being aware of these habits and signs is essential to keep you, or someone you know, safe. This includes:

  • – Playing with more money than you can afford to lose.
  • – Gambling with money that’s ordinarily set aside for bills or other financial responsibilities.
  • – Borrowing money or selling possessions so you have more money to gamble.
  • – Gambling starts interfering with your work or your relationships with friends and family.
  • – Using gambling as a coping method or escape from other things happening in your life.
  • – Playing under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
  • – Lying to friends and family about how much you gamble, or how much time you spend gambling as well as hiding when you do.
  • – Spending more time playing in an attempt to chase your losses.
  • – Feeling anxious, stressed, depressed or suicidal because of what happens when you gamble, or having these feelings because you aren’t gambling.

What to do if you think you’ve got a gambling problem

If you see any of the behaviours or habits mentioned in you or someone you know, they could have or be developing a gambling problem. It’s important to remember that if it’s what it looks like, you’re not alone and there’s plenty of help and support for you.

If you do think you have a gambling problem the best thing to do is take a break from playing online casinos entirely. Set cooling-off periods for the sites you play at to give yourself a bit of space to address your gambling behaviour, share your experience with the people important to you and seek advice if you need it. From there, figure out what next steps and support you need to get better, including potential self-exclusion.

There are lots of people and support networks you can contact anonymously and with confidence, including many gambling addiction and support charities that operate in the UK. We’ve included a comprehensive list of organisations and their websites, contact details and how you can reach them below.

GambleAware

As an independent charity, GambleAware’s mission is to create awareness of problem gambling while reducing the effects of addictive gambling as well as funding research, education and treatment of gambling-related harms

Live chat – Yes
Tel – 0808 8020133

Go to GambleAware

GameCare

One of the UK’s leading responsible gambling organisations, GamCare provides support and information to those affected by addictive gambling, offering advice, education and treatment for problem gamblers.

Live chat – Yes
Tel – 0808 8020133

Go to GamCare

Gamblers Anonymous

Gamblers Anonymous facilitates the meeting of men and women suffering from gambling addiction in an effort to help them support each other through their compulsive gambling issues.

Live chat – Yes
Tel – N/A

Go to Gamblers Anonymous

How to completely block casino sites

If you decide to stop playing online casino and want to put more limits on than a cooling-off period or self-exclusion from the sites you’ve been playing, there are extra steps you can take to stay protected.

There are specific pieces of software that can block online casino and gambling sites more broadly, not just on a site-by-site basis. Products available in the UK include…

GAMBANgamban® can be installed on any computer, smartphone or tablet and will block access to all online gambling websites and mobile applications.The software costs only £1 per month per device, which means you can block access to all online gambling sites for as little as £12 per year. It targets online gambling sites only, and once installed can’t be removed.

NET NANNYNet Nanny® is a general internet filter used by thousands of people in the UK and further afield to block access to certain categories of websites, including online gambling.There are different products and prices offered, but you can protect up to five computers and mobile devices for around £1 per device per month.