Keeping in Control when Gambling


Keeping in Control when Gambling


For millions of individuals in the UK, betting and sport are the perfect bedfellows, with a small punt on the latest action serving to enhance the excitement. And that is how gambling is supposed to be, i.e., just another part of the entertainment industry.

Amongst those millions of punters are those who view the odd bet as simply a bit of fun, whilst others treat it a little more seriously, developing a hobby and interest by studying the form and spending a little time picking out their bets. There's nothing wrong with either approach, so long as you are having fun and betting is enhancing, rather than having a detrimental effect on, your life.

The key word here is fun. If betting ceases to be fun for you, it may be time to take stock of your betting activity. Sadly, as with most things in life - be it alcohol, fast food, or online shopping – what is fun for the majority can become a spiralling problem for the minority. However, there are tools in place to help punters keep gambling fun and avoid the pitfalls associated with problem gambling.

Here, we look at a few hints and tips to assist in developing a responsible approach to betting, and highlight the tools and help available for those who need it.

Sensible Betting

First up, a few guidelines to help ensure your betting activity remains in the fun category.

  • Set a Spending Limit - When a punter develops a problem with gambling, it is usually related to the money they are losing. Sound advice is to work out an amount you can comfortably afford to lose and stick to it. Always ensure you have set aside the necessary funds to cover those pesky essential bills, and then allocate a set amount of your discretionary spending to your gambling hobby. Better still - move this money into a separate account to avoid any overlap between your daily outgoings and make it easy to track your gambling spend. If your budget runs out, it is essential that you are disciplined and stop betting for the week or month. Adopt the mindset of having spent the money on entertainment. It would be nice if you had won, but you haven’t lost more than you can afford, and there will be plenty of sport next month should you feel like a bet.
  • Set a Time Limit - How much time are you spending on gambling? Is it excessive? Could you be doing something more productive or completing essential tasks? Friends or partners can often be a good guide here. If someone close to you comments on the amount of time you are spending gambling, it may be worth placing a self-imposed time limit on your activities. With sports betting, this can be relatively easy to do. Allocate some time to picking out your bets. Log in to your account, place your bets, and then go about your day. This approach also prevents you from placing unplanned bets and may even improve your results in the long run. With casino gaming and slot machines, it can be far easier to lose track of time. In this case, deciding on a time frame in advance and setting an alarm may be a useful strategy. Again, the key thing is to keep your discipline. Take a breath and remember, there is always another day.
  • Don’t Mix Alcohol and Gambling - Alcohol and decision-making don’t go well together at the best of times. Dangerous at the office Christmas Party, and all the more so when your finances are involved. A few drinks at the races is all part of the occasion for many, but set a budget in advance, and don’t take more than you plan to spend with you.
  • Be Aware of Your Feelings - Gambling is best done with a clear head. If you have things on your mind or are feeling low – as we all do from time to time – turning to gambling as a distraction is unlikely to be the answer. Far better to turn to an alternative hobby with limited potential downside – be that getting out and about, talking to a friend, or simply relaxing in front of the TV

Useful Tools

Hopefully, bearing all of the above in mind should assist with keeping your betting on the right track. Thankfully, it has never been easier to keep your gambling under control, with the majority of online bookmakers offering a suite of tools designed for that purpose. All operators licenced in the UK will provide some or all of the following:

  • Deposit Limits - Place a limit on how much you can deposit into your betting account. Deposit limits are commonly available over 24-hour, 1-week, and 1-month time frames and cannot be overridden.
  • Reality Check Timers - This feature will provide a pop-up alert informing you that you have been gambling for a set period. Simply head to the safer gambling section of your online bookmaker and select how often you would like these alerts to appear.
  • Gambling Time Trackers - Reality Checks are useful, but you may lose count of the alerts. In contrast, Gambling Time Trackers display the total time you have spent on a site, and may be more useful for those attempting to stick to a maximum time limit.
  • Time Out - For those who decide they need a break, Time Out is a good option. Most sites enable you to effectively lock yourself out of your account for a period of up to 42 days
  • Self Exclusion - For a longer break, Self-Exclusion can be the sensible choice for those who are unable to keep their betting under control or are no longer enjoying the activity. Most sites will allow you to self-exclude for a period of 6 months to five years.

Further Help

Common sense strategies and effective use of the available tools will do the trick for the majority of punters. However, if you or someone you know are in need of further assistance, you should never be afraid to ask for help, with the following services all dedicated to assisting those with a gambling-related problem:

  • Gamcare - www.gamcare.org.uk
  • National Gambling Helpline - 0808 8020 133
  • Gamblers Anonymous - www.gamblersanonymous.org.uk
  • Better Change - www.better-change.org
  • GambleAware - www.begambleaware.org

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