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What to look at before you gamble

Before transferring any money into a gambling account, there are some things you should check.

  • that the gambling business holds a British Gambling Commission licence

  • that any restrictions on introductory offers or bonuses, such as a minimum spend level before the bonus are paid

  • if you can see their address, website domain names, trading names and current licence status.

  • check if the website is displaying a British Gambling Commission licensed status

  • check if you can click through to our public register and if it shows the licence of the business

  • check if the details of the licence (including activities and website domain names) match the public register

  • look at the terms and conditions for each gambling product, this will help you understand exactly what you are betting on so that you can make an informed decision on gambling with them.

Licensed gambling businesses must display that they are licensed and provide a link to our public register.

On our public register, you can see what type of activities gambling businesses are allowed to offer and if we have taken any regulatory action against them.

You can also see:

  • their address
  • website domain names
  • trading names
  • current licence status.

If a gambling business does not have a Gambling Commission licence

Any gambling business operating without a Gambling Commission licence is acting illegally and as a result:

  • we may take action against the operator
  • the businesses’ payment facilities may be withdrawn by major payment systems organisations such as MasterCard, PayPal and Visa.

Ways to stay safe when gambling

We want to make sure that everyone is staying safe while they gamble, and be able to reach out if they are struggling.

These guides give advice and different ways you can keep yourself safe.

There are many reasons why people gamble, and these reasons can vary and change over time. It may be helpful to think about why you are gambling, for example, is it a social activity or has it turned into a habit?

Think carefully about your motivations to gamble, and be aware if these begin to change.

Gambling should not be used to improve personal finances

If your main motivation to gamble is to escape debt or if you are using gambling in order to make money quickly, then speak to a financial adviser (opens in new tab) or student support services (opens in new tab) who will be able to help you with money concerns.

If you notice that you are spending more money on gambling than usual, you can put limits in place that will control how much you spend.

Many gambling sites have a feature whereby you put a cap onto your account in order to make sure that you do not go over a certain amount.

You are also able to set a limit on how much you spend on gaming machines in betting shops.

Taking timeouts from gambling allows you to:

  • have a break
  • keep track of how much you are spending
  • keep a clear mind so that you don’t become overwhelmed
  • make sure that you are not becoming dependent on gambling.

If you choose to take a timeout, you can block yourself from gambling for up to six weeks.

Almost 80% of gamblers do not read the terms and conditions on the websites they gamble on.

You should take the time to read the terms and conditions, making sure you are aware of exactly what you are gambling on, restrictions, promotions or bonus offers.

By doing this you will be able to make an informed decision as to whether you wish to continue gambling.

A useful way of keeping your gambling activity in control is to monitor how often you are gambling.

If you gamble online, the websites you use must provide access to your account activity, which means you will be able to see:

  • when you have gambled
  • how much money you have spent during a gambling session
  • how often you log in
  • how much time you are spending on the site.

Having this information will allow you to control your gambling and make decisions based on your recent activity. You will be able to make informed decisions and set yourself limits.

If your gambling activity is increasing, think about why you are gambling.

Tools to help manage your gambling

If you feel overwhelmed by your gambling or it is becoming a problem, here is some ways that can help you gain back control

  • Many banks now offer the ability to limit spending on gambling. If you feel that you are spending too much money on gambling, you may want to consider blocking gambling payments with your bank.

    They do this by blocking your bank account or debit card which stops the account from being used for gambling transactions.

Having control over the time and money you are spending on gambling is an important way of ensuring that you’re staying safe.

We’ve put together some tips that you can use to make sure you are in control of your gambling.

Reality check

Keep track of how much time you are spending on gambling. By using a reality check, you can set alerts that will pop up on screen. This will help you to monitor the time spent on gambling. You can do this either online or in betting shops.

Time trackers

Some sites keep a constant clock to time how long the user is signed in. There are also a number of time tracker apps that you can download. Time tracking works well when you are trying to monitor how much time you are spending on gambling.

Machine limits

Similarly to being able to set limits on your bank account, some B2 machines such as casino and BetFred give you the option to set a limit. This means you won’t be able to spend over a certain amount on the machine.

Membership cards

If you play a card-based machine or table play, some operators offer limit setting if you have a membership card. You will be able to find information about each operator’s membership policy on their websites.