Betting is a topic that will often be greeted with polarised opinions, with those that have suffered at the hands of a problem gambler being firmly in the camp of wanting it to be shut down for everyone and forever. Whilst this is an extreme take on things, the reality is that it is an understandable one. Rather than going to such extremes, betting companies and regulators have put systems in place to limit a bettor’s exposure as much as possible.
There are numerous different schemes in place to help those that thing that they might have a problem, including the ability to take a time out from betting, adding limits to how much money can be deposited into an account and even a system that excludes people from being able to place a bet in any way, shape or form. If you fear you have a problem with gambling, any of these methods are the best place to start.
Might You Have A Problem?
The first place to start here is by considering whether you might have a problem with gambling. Many people enjoy a bet, with the vast majority of people able to do so without it spilling over into problematic territory. For others, however, it’s difficult to keep control of their betting and they will need to seek help in the form of limits on how much or how often they can bet. These are some of the traits to look out for:
- You lie about your betting
- You spend money you can’t afford to lose
- You often think about gambling during the day
- Whether you win or lose a bet affects your mood
- You choose not to do something social in order to bet
- Gambling has become the activity you do more than any other
- You chase losses
- You justify your behaviour
The list is obviously far from exhaustive, but if you recognise any of the above then you might want to consider whether your relationship with gambling is a healthy one. Problem gamblers can see their health, work and even their relationships with other people affected. If that has started to happen to you then be aware that there are numerous things that you can do to help yourself.
The first place to start is by introducing betting limits to your account. This can involve both limiting the amount of money that you can deposit into your account and how much you can bet on things. The deposit limits are usually either daily, weekly or monthly, though you can of course introduce a combination of all three to ensure that you’re not actually betting more than you can afford to lose.
There are pros and cons to opting for the betting limit option, with the main one being that you’ll need to introduce the limits to every account that you have if you have more than one. You can usually add them to your account when you first open one, but that doesn’t help someone who has only just noticed that they have a problem. Limits can also be changed, usually with a 24-hour cooling off period.
Whilst this is mainly only a useful tool for casinos, it’s still worth mentioning. A number of betting sites will allow you to set yourself reminders to flag up how long you’ve been playing for. This will stop you from sitting at the computer or on your phone for hours on end and getting lost in a world of throwing good money after bad. It’s not exactly a foolproof system for someone with a real problem, but will be a deterrent.
You can choose how long you wish to be signed into your account for, with some sites allowing you to get logged out after as little as ten minutes. It’s all about doing things that you think will work for you, so if you think having a reminder every half an hour will make you pause and think then you can be sure to use that system. Even if you don’t, it’s probably best to think about it as just another block between you and gambling.
Get Yourself Blocked
There is software available that you can download to your computer, phone or tablet that will stop you from being able to even access a gambling website. If you’re the sort of person that perhaps heads off to have a bet after getting in from a night at the pub then this might be exactly what you need, given that you’re not in control of your faculties and therefore deposit limits or reminders will be of little use.
Most of the blocking software is free to download and install, with companies such as GamBlock, Gamban and BetFilter the best places to start. They will not only block your access to gambling websites but will also stop you from seeing gambling adverts, therefore reducing your temptation to bet. Whilst this is something of a nuclear option, it’s a good one to explore if you really think that you’ve got a problem.
Whether you like to place bets on sports or you tend to use online casinos, the ability to exclude yourself from being able to do so is something that the majority of betting sites has signed up to. GamStop is something that you can sign up with and it will stop you from being able to open an account for as long as you choose. Oftentimes this will be for a period of time like six months to a year.
You can give yourself a timeout, which will stop you from being able to login to your account for. Short amount of time, such as 24 hours, but self-exclusion is based over a much longer period of time. You can either self-exclude with the betting sites directly or by asking the likes of GamStop to tell all betting sites that you don’t want to be able to sign up with them, meaning that you’ll not be able to open any gambling accounts.
There is also MOSES, which stands for Multi-Operator Self-Exclusion Scheme. This is something that you can nominate yourself for in order to stop yourself from placing bets in physical betting shops, rather than online. Whether it’s high street bookmakers, casinos or bingo halls that you want want to be banned from, there is a scheme available to help stop you from signing up or betting with the companies in question.
Do They Have Teeth?
The truth is that these schemes haven’t always had teeth. Certainly in the case of self-exclusion from online betting accounts, it was found that numbers bettors were able to sign up with companies after having self-excluded simply by using a different address during the registration process. That was obviously a major disappointment to the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, who cracked down on it.
So it is that the various self-exclusion and self-protection schemes are a lot more useful nowadays. Companies can face big fines if people who asked to be excluded were still able to access their accounts, so they are working harder at stopping that sort of thing from happening. Of course, if you really want to be able to gamble then you’re likely to be able to find a way to do so, but these schemes are a really good place to start.