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Safer Gambling: Addressing The Issue Of Problem Gambling

Posted by THEPOGG on Jan 21, 2020

Safer Gambling: Addressing The Issue Of
Problem Gambling

With the recent media interest in the impact of problem gambling, coupled with the worrying statistics gleaned by various organisations and charities focusing on this area, you would be right in thinking that gambling is becoming an issue in modern-day society. But how problematic has gambling become and what can we do to address this growing issue?

So What Are
the Reasons for people Gambling?

According to recent data from the Gambling Commission, there are many reasons why people gamble:

National Lottery draw players are much more likely to gamble to win in general (53%) than to gamble for fun (20%).

For machines in bookmakers (FOBTs), players are much more likely to gamble for fun (58%) than to win (32%).


– 55% : proportion of online gamblers who have gambled using a mobile phone or tablet in the past four weeks.
– The number of people using mobile phones for gambling has increased.

Location of Online Gambling in the past 4 weeks

Celebrity endorsements

In today’s society there are many celebrities endorsing many different products online, especially through Instagram. Celebrities have endorsed products such as shampoo, perfume, clothing brands, and luxury watches. Earlier this year, national treasure and footballing guru Harry Redknapp even became a brand ambassador for BetVictor, an online betting site.
According to research into gambling advertisements featuring celebrity endorsements…

– Advertisements are more believable
– Brand recognition improves
– Message recall is enhanced
– Results in positive attitudes about the brand
This becomes a problem for young people as…
Social Learning Theory (theorised by psychologist Albert Bandura) suggests that: as youths are establishing their identity and independence, they are heavily influenced by role models… which in turn can make them more susceptible to celebrity endorsements.

(Monaghan, Derevensky & Sklar, 2008 – ‘Impact of Gambling Advertisements and marketing on children and adolescents: Policy recommendations to minimise harm’ In the Journal of Gambling Issues).


Advertisements on social media and television can also influence us as well:

So, how do we address problem gambling?

In a recent survey carried out by the Gambling Commission in the UK, published in February of 2019, it was noted that 79% of those surveyed believed that the opportunities for people to indulge in gambling were too readily available, whilst 71% stated their belief that gambling posed a threat to their domestic life. At the very least it is concerning that those taking part felt that gambling is encroaching negatively on their personal and private spaces. At the very worst, since the online gaming market is expanding rapidly every year, it is suggestive of the fact that gambling could become a cataclysmic issue for society in the 2020s.

– The survey reports 46% of people asked as having participated in a gambling activity of some sort over the preceding four week period, that’s almost 1 in 2 people!
– Nationally our population plays the lottery more than any other form of gambling.
– 28% of participants indulged in a flutter on the National Lottery- Keeping in mind the fact that the National Lottery also has the lowest legal gambling age at 16.

take a step back and consider ‘responsible gambling’

Responsible Gambling week 7th-13th November encouraged others to talk about safer gambling. During the week they published a blog article on ‘What is ‘Responsible Gambling’?’ “At its core, ‘safer gambling’ means being able to gamble without putting yourself, or others, at risk of harm.”
Gambling shouldn’t interfere with your personal relationships
Gambling when angry or upset is not a good idea
Gambling is not the answer to any problem
Set your limits for time and money
Only spend what you can afford

Gambling Management Tools

There are many different ways that we can address the growing issue of problem gambling. To help gamblers become more aware and mindful when they are placing a bet or gambling on slot games,it’s useful to educate ourselves on how we can limit our gambling. One way that gamblers can limit their frequency of gambling and the amount of money they spend is through better gambling management.
According to the Gambling Commission survey:


All UK licensed operators are now expected to provide a range of limiting options that customers can activate on their account. The self-exclusion facility allows problem gamblers to restrict their access to a specific casino site for a specified period of time – the minimum self-exclusion period is six months.
research showed that:
– 6% ever self-excluded
– 41% not self-excluded, but aware
– 53% not aware of self-exclusion
– Self-exclusion by product had both the lowest use and awareness rates.

Time Outs

Time outs are another feature that gambling operators must provide for vulnerable players. This feature allows players to take a break from playing that is not as intrusive as a self-exclusion.
– it allows them control their gambling for the period of time they feel they are at risk.
– The maximum period a time out can be placed for is 6 weeks, beyond this a self-exclusion period would better serve a player’s need.

Financial Limits

– Stop you spending too much/being tempted to spend too much
– Financial limits were the most used tool in 2018 with 8% of gamblers having used them.

Reality Checks

How long have you been gambling for? Do you have a gambling problem?
It is vital to question yourself and to be honest in your answers. If you are spending more money than you can comfortably afford to lose whilst gambling; you have a problem. If you are missing social occasions, or worse still, skipping work, college or university so that you can gamble instead; you have a problem. If your relationships are breaking down or being adversely affected by gambling; you have a problem.
To check whether you have a problem with gambling, GamCare have a self-assessment test that is designed to pick up any early signs of risky behaviour. You receive detailed feedback on the answers you have given and are provided with links to helpful resources.
Take The GamCare ‘How Safe Is Your Gambling‘ Test


Other external problem gambling aids are also available to players in the form of gambling website restriction software that is available to download on to any internet enabled device.
The BetBlocker app is free and can help gamblers restrict their gambling habits by blocking their access to gambling sites for a selected period of time. – it is the only free gambling software blocker currently available.

This app can be downloaded as many times as a user wishes, for as many internet capable devices as they possess. Currently, in the region of 7000+ gambling domains are excluded worldwide by BetBlocker and this number grows day-by-day. BetBlocker has recently been granted UK charity status and despite the fact that the application has only recently been officially launched, it already has thousands of users, showing that there is a very real need for free services such as this to protect those most adversely affected by gambling.

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The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland sits to the north-west of mainland Europe. The United Kingdom shares a border with The Republic of Ireland and has coasts on the Atlantic Ocean, Celtic Sea, North Sea, Irish Sea and English Channel. The population of the UK is approaching the 67.6 million mark leading to a fairly densely populated land mass. The gambling sector in the United Kingdom is entirely regulated and licensed by the UKGC – the United Kingdom Gambling Commission. Should players resident In the UK wish to gamble with foreign based operators there is no history of this being treated as a criminal offence, but high levels of protection exist for UK residents playing with UK licensed operators.


The above information is what we believe to be the the legal status of online gambling, however information on this topic is limited and hard to find. We accept no liability for any errors or ommissions. It is the reader’s responsibility to ensure that they know the legality of online gambling in their country before engaging with any online gambling service.