Online gambling is a form of entertainment – fun and sometimes rewarding. But it is also one that you need to enjoy responsibly. For a small percentage of players, it can lead to problem gambling, compulsive behaviour and spending more than they can afford.
How To Set Limits When You Gamble Online
Therefore, to help every player to moderate their gambling spend – time and money – regulators like the UK Gambling Commission and the Malta Gaming Authority, require casino and sportsbook operators to create Responsible Gambling tools, accessible through customer account pages, to help maintain a safe level of play.
In this article we explain what those tools are and how they can help you if you choose to gamble online.
Setting Your Own Limits
Establishing limits on how much money you can spend per day, week or month is the simplest way to impose a budget on yourself. All UK-licensed sites offer this opportunity to players when they first sign up.
Here is how to set limits on your gambling losses.
- Sign up or log In to your casino or sportsbook.
- Choose ‘Set Limits’ from your account page.
- Choose to set your limits by deposits, stakes or losses (losses are stakes minus wins).
- Choose to set your limits by day, week or month.
- Confirm your choice.
Once you have set limits, they are active immediately and you won’t be able to change them until the allocated time period is up, even if you contact customer support.
If you want to control how much you spend each month on gambling then setting deposit limits is the best way to go.
How much you can afford to stake or lose may change as your balance fluctuates depending on how much you win or lose each week whereas a deposit limit is simple and easier to follow. For example, if your gambling budget per month is £200 then set your limit there.
Other Options To Help You To Gamble Responsibly
Activating a Time Out
Time Outs are another useful tool available through your account pages. You can use these to give yourself a ‘cooling-off’ period during your play. During a TimeOut you will not be able to log into your account, deposit or play.
A time out can usually be set to one day, one week, one month or six weeks, though it may vary from one operator to another.
As with all these tools, remember that they require you to act with self-control. They will not work if you simply find another gambling site to play at.
GAMSTOP and the Self Exclusion Scheme
The single most effective way to stop yourself from gambling if you feel you cannot control your behaviour is self-exclusion.
In the UK this falls under the GAMSTOP scheme, a nationwide program that allows a player to block themselves from every casino, sportsbook or other gambling site or app that is part of the scheme.
Membership of GAMSTOP is now mandatory for any operator who is licensed by the UK Gambling Commission. If you choose to self-exclude in this way then you will not be able to reverse your decision.
By default, you can exclude for 6 months, 1, 3 or 5 years, but it is also possible to set bespoke limits on your exclusion period.
You can find out more about the GAMSTOP program in this self-exclusion guide.
Gambling regulators have made it compulsory for their licensees to offer a range of tools with which customers can manage their gambling behaviour.
Whatever your level of play we recommend that you start out by using the option to set limits on your play as a way to stick to a budget each month. If you feel that you are spending more than you want to then Time Outs are a suitable next step.
But if you feel that you no longer have any control over your gambling behaviour, then self-exclusion programs are ultimately the best way forward.
You can find out more about responsible gambling at the website of the GambleAware.org charity.