Responsible Gambling – A Guide to Recovery

Responsible Gambling IconToday, with new casinos and betting sites entertaining millions of customers across the globe, responsible gambling is crucial. What is responsible gambling? This is a standard that applies to every business offering gambling services. Gaming operators and software companies developing these games are required to keep their venues fair and safe for all customers. This aims to keep players of all ages protected from gambling’s more adverse effects. From assisting young adults who might not fully understand a game’s rules to older people losing track of their spends, responsible gambling can help to combat addiction. The UK is allegedly home to some people who have problems with gambling; the explosive thrill and high you get from winning, no matter how small the reward, can lead to an addiction.

After all, today you can play almost anywhere you like, thanks to mobile gaming’s ability to connect you to your site of choice at any time. Gambling addicts are highly likely to experience depression, anxiety, stress, and reduced self-esteem, and are at risk of becoming involved with criminal activity to support their habit. Alternatively, they may become reliant on unscrupulous lenders, sinking into debt as they spend more than they can win. However, experts believe gambling addiction can be treated with success in the same way that other dependencies are tackled, for example, cognitive behavioural therapy has been shown to have a positive effect. As with any other addiction, gambling can be harmful to yourself and those around you, potentially damaging valuable relationships. Dealing with your addiction is key, and fortunately, there are numerous different organisations dedicated to helping in various ways.

Gamble-Aware-When-The-Fun-Stops-Logo-330x100You can take steps yourself, too. First of all, you can set your own limits in your game play. Reputable online casinos will let you set your own limits, to ensure you spend only what you can afford to. This prevents you getting lost in the moment and drawing on money you should be keeping for personal responsibilities. Visiting a website’s ‘help’ section will usually inform you how to set limits. You can typically stipulate an amount, and the site will prevent you spending more money or time within a fixed period. Some sites also let you set loss and wagering limits.

A successful way in preventing losing control of your gambling is to take a time out. Online casinos will let you remove yourself from their site for a set period. This blocks your access, and (by law) you must be able to choose from 24 hours, a week, a month, and up to a maximum of six weeks. Casinos must provide necessary information and assistance to set this up. Another technique that offers some respite from your gambling dependence is self-exclusion. This involves contacting any gambling operators you use, no matter how many that may be, and asking them to exclude you from their services for a specific length of time. This may be a few months, or several years. UK Licensed operators are required to help you in this way, despite the loss of revenue to them. In the online market, you’ll need to contact all of the websites you’re registered with, using the contact details provided. If you’re looking for help to fight your gambling addiction, you should contact one or more of the following organisations:

Gamble Aware

Gamble Aware Icon

Country: United Kingdom
Established:
Website: about.gambleaware.org
E-mail: Complete the online form
Phone: 0808 8020 133
Opening hours: 08:00 am – 00:00 pm, Monday to Sunday
Address: 7 Henrietta St, London, WC2E 8PS

GambleAware is one of the foremost organisations helping people overcome their gambling problems and tread the path to recovery. This registered charity works to minimize the harm that gambling addiction inflicts upon players and their loved ones, and depends on donations from businesses within the gambling industry. The charity finances treatment and prevention services, education, and also invests in research into boosting the public’s awareness of gambling related dangers. Their website provides visitors with an Info Hub, home to free resources on gambling, its social impact, and its affect on addicts. Every year, GambleAware manages to raise more than £6.5m through voluntary funding from Britain’s gambling sector. It has already helped thousands of people find the treatment they need to overcome their gambling problems, and its continuing research aims to broaden knowledge, treatment, and the level of care available for anyone affected by gambling. One of its most recent studies focuses on the examination, and utilisation, of data collected by gaming businesses to combat individuals’ problems.

Be Gamble Aware

Be Gamble Aware IconCountry: United Kingdom
Established:
Website: www.begambleaware.org
E-mail: Complete the online form
Phone: 0808 8020 133
Opening hours: 08:00 am – 00:00 pm, Monday to Sunday
Address: 7 Henrietta St, London, WC2E 8PS

BeGambleAware is part of GambleAware, providing information and assistance to anyone facing problems with gambling. It offers a national freephone helpline, which is open from 8am to midnight every day, giving emotional support and advice to those in need of help. A text-based live chat function is available for those who don’t want, or may be unable, to talk over the phone. Gamble Aware itself is a British charity dedicated to reducing the potential harm gambling can bring to some people’s lives; this is an independent charity, but is actually funded by donations from businesses in the gambling sector. This enables them to give education and treatment to expand the public’s knowledge of gambling addiction. GambleAware works to prevent players growing addicted to gambling, and to help those with problems receive the treatment they need to recover. There is a wealth of information on the site, including the GambleAware InfoHub, a resource for people looking to learn more about gambling’s impact.

Gam Care

Gamcare IconCountry: United Kingdom
Established: 1997
Website: www.gamcare.org.uk
E-mail: info@gamcare.org.uk
Phone: 0808 8020 133 – 020 7801 7000
Opening hours: 08:00 am – 00:00 pm, Monday to Sunday
Address: 2nd Floor, 7-11 St John's Hill, London, SW11 1TR

GamCare is one of the most well-known responsible gambling organisations in the UK, and is a national charity. It was established in October 1997, when their Help Line was set-up by GamCare’s head of clinical services, Adrian Scarfe, along with counseling. The charity’s Help Line provides problem gamblers with a free phone number to call as well as online assistance through their website. Counselling is also offered through face to face sessions, right across Britain. Since they started helping gambling addicts, GamCare has worked with thousands of people, and gives training to those in the gambling sector to ensure greater social responsibility, the aim of this is to protect players of all ages. GamCare Certification is a badge of approval given to only those online casinos and betting sites which integrate the GamCare Player Protection Code of Practice into their services. Once this has been awarded, websites can display this to show customers they adhere to responsible gambling.

Gambling Therapy

Gambling Therapy IconCountry: United Kingdom
Established: 1971
Website: www.gamblingtherapy.org
E-mail: info@gamblingtherapy.com or complete the online form
Phone: help@gordonmoody.org.uk
Opening hours: 09:00 am – 17:00 pm, Monday to Friday
Address: 47 Maughan Street, Dudley, West Midlands, DY1 2BA, UK

Gambling Therapy is part of the Gordon Moody Association, which has been in operation for more than 42 years. The GMA was launched by Reverend Gordon Moody, who worked with Gamblers Anonymous but realised addicts required more support; in 1971, he opened a hostel in South London to provide recovering addicts with a place to focus on getting over their problems. Gambling Therapy is a support service offered to people around the world, assisting problem gamblers through their Live Advice Helpline, live chat feature, forums, confidential emails, and a bank of global resources. Through these, Gambling Therapy gives information and support, allowing problem gamblers a friendly ear to listen to their thoughts and fears. Their forums and support groups enable like-minded people to come together and discuss their own problems in a safe, private environment. This is helpful for those who feel they can’t talk with their friends or family about their feelings.

Gamblers Anonymous

Gamblers Anonymous IconCountry: United Kingdom
Established: 1957
Website: www.gamblersanonymous.org.uk
E-mail: webmaster@gambleranonymous.org.uk
Phone:
Opening hours:
Address: Intake Wellness Centre, Doncaster, Rotherham, DN2 6PL

This well-known program features twelve steps for problem gamblers, with just one requirement demanded of members: you have a genuine drive to cease your gambling. This started in Los Angeles back in September 1957, and within the space of almost 50 years it had grown to a network of more than 1000 different groups across the US. Of course, this has spread to other parts of the world, including the UK, as well as Australia, Kenya, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, and more. Their website provides information on regional meetings, giving problem gamblers a quick, easy way to locate their nearest group. There are additional resources available, including forums and literature, making it a complete hub for potential and existing members. Gamblers Anonymous hosts meetings every day across Britain, and provides a safe, secure space for gamblers to share their experiences, encourage each other, and receive emotional support without judgement.

Debt Help Organisations

While most people get into debt at one time or another, for gambling addicts the problem runs much deeper. Thousands upon thousands of pounds may be spent by an individual as they try to recoup their losses, pulling them deeper and deeper into a black hole of debt. Debt advice organisations, however, help problem-gamblers far and wide, providing the information and assistance they need to confront their debts. This may range from presenting the full range of payment options available, to combating creditors’ aggressive money-recuperation tactics. Here are some of the UK’s most reputable groups dedicated to helping those facing severe debts.

Debt Advice Foundation

Debt Advice Foundation IconCountry: United Kingdom
Established:
Website: www.debtadvicefoundation.org
E-mail: complete the online form
Phone: 0800 043 40 50
Opening hours: 09:00 am – 15:00 pm, Monday to Friday
Address: 1 Anchor Court, Commercial Road, Darwen, BB3 0DB

This registered charity focuses on providing free advice and support to people struggling with debt. This can relate to loans, to credit, or banking debts – all of which may be funding problem-gamblers. Ever year, more than 10000 individuals receive help from the Debt Advice Foundation, and the charity offers various confidential contact methods for gambling addicts in need of caring, compassionate support. Their website provides numerous online-tools for coping with debts, including a debt analyser, a budget planner, a credit score checker, and information on benefit-entitlements. The foundation provides free helplines and a call-back feature, as well as an extensive Q&A section with answers to such questions as ‘How do I go about declaring bankruptcy?’.

Debt Support Trust

Debt Support Trust IconCountry: United Kingdom
Established:
Website: www.debtsupporttrust.org.uk
E-mail: contact@debdtsupporttrust.org.uk
Phone: 0800 085 0226
Opening hours: 08:00 am – 19:00 pm, Monday to Friday
Address: Claremont Office, 112 Cornwall Street South, Kinning Park, Glasgow, G41 1AA

The Debt Support Trust is a registered charity providing support and advice to anyone struggling to repay debts. There is a free helpline manned by their trained advisors, as well as email support. The Debt Support Trust offers help across multiple key areas, including refinance, debt management, IVA, bankruptcy, and more. One of the site’s strongest features is their debt test, which takes around 10 minutes to complete yet provides a wealth of advice on which debt solutions will suit your unique situation. For problem-gamblers, the Debt Support Trust provides extensive support in one space, all in complete confidence.

National Debt Line

National Debtline IconCountry: United Kingdom
Established: 1991
Website: www.nationaldebtline.org
E-mail: Unavailable at the moment
Phone: 0808 808 4000
Opening hours: 09:00 am – 20:00 pm, Monday to Friday
09:30 am – 13:00 pm, Saturday
Address: Tricorn House, 51-53 Hagley Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B16 8TPThe National Debtline has more than 25 years’ experience supporting people struggling with debt, whatever the cause. Their assistance is free and confidential, and in the year 2016 this independent charity helped almost 400 000 people handle their debts. Their website is neatly separated into different categories, with one section focusing on a four-step plan for managing your debts. These include increasing income, working out a personal budget, dealing with priority debts, and, finally, handling non-priority debts. Their comprehensive FAQ section provides in-depth advice on court action, dealing with creditors, and more. For problem-gamblers, the National Debtline website is filled with resources to educate yourself on managing debts and moving forward.

Step Change

Step Change IconCountry: United Kingdom
Established: 1993
Website: www.stepchange.org
E-mail: complete the online form
Phone: 0800 138 1111
Opening hours: 08:00 am – 20:00 pm, Monday to Friday
08:00 am – 16:00 pm, Saturday
Address: Wade House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8NG

StepChange has been supporting people struggling with debt for more than 20 years, working to help them address the causes of their debt problems and formulating ways to pay them in a practical way. This charity provides support in multiple areas, including debt advice, building a debt management plan, as well as online tools. An online benefits calculator helps you identify funds you may be entitled to, while their debt-remedy tool creates a budget based on your unique information. StepChange also provides support through live chat and email, but has an extensive list of phone numbers across multiple areas like debt management, bankruptcy, etc..

Other Support Organisations

Beyond the responsible gambling and debt advice organisations, other groups are committed to helping people facing gambling-related problems in diverse ways. While receiving practical help and guidance on actually confronting gambling-related debts and paying them off is vital, sometimes you want to simply talk. Having a friendly ear to listen can make a huge difference to your well-being, and the following groups provide assistance that may prove pivotal for problem-gamblers.

Samaritans

Samaritans IconCountry: United Kingdom
Established: 1953
Website: www.samaritans.org
E-mail: admin@samaritans.org
Phone: +44 (0)20 8394 8300
Opening hours: 09:00 am – 17:00 pm, Monday to Friday
Address: The Upper Mill, Kingston Road, Ewell, Surrey KT17 2AF

Samaritans is one of the biggest support organisations in the UK. Someone contacts them every six seconds, and they provide gambling addicts with impartial, confidential advice to help turn a new corner. Their support team are carefully trained and never judge callers, and the sense of anonymity means problem-gamblers can discuss their deepest, truest feelings without fear of identification. They provide help 24/7, via phone or email, for free. While their team can provide advice on dealing with debts, their focus is to listen and provide personal support, so if you have gambling problems, having someone to talk to outside your circle can make a big difference.

Counselling Directory

Counselling Directory IconCountry: United Kingdom
Established: 2005
Website: www.counselling-directory.org.uk
E-mail: complete the online form
Phone: 0333 3447 990
Opening hours: 09:00 am – 17:00 pm, Monday to Thursday
09:00 am – 16:00 pm, Friday
Address: Building 3, Riverside Way, Camberley Surrey, GU15 3YL

Counselling Directory was launched in 2005, and lists more than 10000 qualified counsellors from across the UK. All counsellors featured on their database are vetted to make sure they can prove their qualifications or standing with a known body, giving problem-gamblers only reliable help. The site provides a feature to locate a counsellor in your area, as well as a wealth of other resources, including fact-sheets covering how counselling may help you. Their information on different kinds of therapy and comprehensive FAQ offers deep advice on finding the right service. A counsellor will be able to discuss why you gamble, and help you find ways to address your problems.

Gam-Anon

Gam Anon IconCountry: United Kingdom
Established:
Website: gamanon.org.uk
E-mail: nsosec@gamanon.org.uk
Phone:
Opening hours:
Address:

Gam-Anon consists of men and women who know about gambling struggles from their own experience. These individuals are the partners, relatives, friends, or spouses of problem-gamblers, and aim to support those affected by another’s gambling. They hold regular meetings for those struggling to cope with a loved one’s addiction (or growing reliance) on gambling, bringing people together to discuss their problems and sharing methods to move forward. These are usually held at the same time (yet separately) from Gamblers Anonymous, so those living with a loved one’s problems can receive similar support at their convenience. Their website provides full details of local meetings, and help with identifying whether a loved one has a problem with gambling. This can be a lifeline for those providing a partner, relative, or friend with daily support, allowing them the chance to talk to someone who understands.

Action For Children

Action For Children IconCountry: United Kingdom
Established: 1869
Website: www.actionforchildren.org.uk
E-mail: ask.us@actionforchildren.org.uk
Phone: 01923 361 500
Opening hours: 09:00 am – 17:00 pm, Monday to Friday
Address: 3 The Boulevard, Ascot Road, Watford, WD18 8AG, United Kingdom

Parents struggling to cope with gambling addiction may not have enough time or money to care for their children properly. If you feel a child you know of is experiencing difficulties, such as abuse or neglect, through gambling-related problems, Action for Children can help. This organisation has more than 7000 workers, made up of volunteers and staff, providing around 600 services across Great Britain. Action for Children is dedicated to helping parents understand their child (or children) and their development, with thousands of people helped by their services every single year. The organization helps children of all ages to experience a happier, easier life, whether this means stopping neglect or getting them through fostering.

Helpful Tools

There are various organizations providing various software tools being helpful for people who have gambling-related problems. Some of them my help you control your gaming habits and some may even totally block you from visiting certain websites. Below, we take a look at some of the most well-known:

GamBlock

Gamblock IconCountry: United Kingdom
Established: 2000
Website: www.gamblock.com
E-mail: Complete the online form
Phone:
Opening hours:
Address: Mont Albert, Victoria 3127, Australia

If you’re struggling to limit the time and money you spend gambling online, you may need GamBlock. This provides you with the means to prevent access to online gambling sites, with software using in-depth analytical data to block sites. GamBlock also offers different tools for various applications, from small and large businesses to those for mobile devices. This is a great aid to control  gambling habits, working alongside counselling and group-support.

Count Me Out

Count Me Out IconCountry: United Kingdom
Established:
Website: www.countmeout.org.uk/gambling/
E-mail: Complete the online form
Phone: 01502 576888
Opening hours:
Address:

Self-exclusion’s key for gambling control. Count Me Out is a scheme that gives local communities a comprehensive database of people who have excluded themselves from gambling. This allows licensees, support groups, and more access to people who shouldn’t be in gambling premises, using websites, or in need of help. You can self-exclude yourself, you can get forms from Count Me Out members or locations, but you’ll have to provide passport pictures of yourself. Self-exclusion’s an important step in overcoming gambling problems, and brings the businesses themselves into your efforts to be free.