Responsible Gambling

What is responsible gambling?

Responsible gambling means staying in control of how much time and money we spend gambling. Whether you are buying a lottery ticket or scratch-card, placing a bet, playing poker or bingo, or playing on a gambling machine or casino game, gambling responsibly means treating the activity as just one form of entertainment in a balanced lifestyle. Just like with other forms of entertainment, gambling is a form of expenditure, and responsible gambling means not spending more money or time than we can reasonably afford, keeping in mind all our other responsibilities in life.

Around 73% of adults in Britain gamble at least once a year, and the vast majority do so responsibly. It is important that anyone who gambles understands the price of the entertainment that they are buying, and due to the nature of gambling this is not always very clear. As consumers we must make choices based on the facts behind the gambling product, knowing and accepting the odds, and keeping our chances of winning in perspective. This means that consumers and businesses licensed to provide gambling opportunities in Britain have a shared responsibility in gambling.

Remember that, just like any other business, those licensed to provide opportunities to gamble in Britain are doing so to make a profit. However, gambling businesses have a responsibility to do this legally and fairly. This means that they must provide the information consumers need to make responsible decisions about what they spend. We have a responsibility to budget for our gambling activity just as we do for other forms of entertainment such as going to a restaurant, the cinema or a sporting venue. We should spend only what we can afford.


Most people gamble for fun and enjoyment. However, some people think of gambling as a way to make money, spend more than they can afford, or use gambling to distract themselves from everyday problems. Following these simple tips can help make sure your gambling doesn’t become a problem.

1. Don’t think of gambling as a way to make money:

The venue is using gambling to make money. It’s not designed to work the other way around. Over time you will give away more money than you receive! Think of gambling as an entertainment expense – just like buying a movie ticket.

2. Only gamble with money you can afford to lose:

Gamble within your weekly entertainment budget, not with your phone bill or rent budget.

3. Set a money limit in advance:

Decide how much you can afford to lose before you go to play. When it’s gone – it’s over! If you win, you’ve been lucky, but don’t be disappointed if your luck doesn’t continue.

4. Set a time limit in advance:

It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re gambling. Set a time limit or alarm, and when time’s up – quit! Odds are that the more time you spend gambling, the more money you will lose.

5. Never chase your losses:

If you lose your set money limit and then try to win some of it back before you leave, then you haven’t really set a money limit. Chasing your losses will usually just lead to bigger and bigger losses.

6. Don’t gamble when you’re depressed or upset:

Decision-making can be more difficult when you’re stressed or emotionally upset. Make sure you only gamble when you’re feeling happy and clear headed.

7. Balance gambling with other activities:

When gambling becomes your only form of entertainment, it’s unlikely that you’re still just gambling for the fun of it, and your gambling may even be a problem. Make sure gambling isn’t your only pastime.

8. Don’t take your bank card with you.

This is a good way to safeguard your money limit and not let being “in the moment” warp your judgment.

9. Take frequent breaks

Gambling continuously can cause you to lose track of time and perspective. Step out for some air or a bite to eat at regular intervals.

10. Don’t drink or use drugs when gambling

Drugs and alcohol cloud judgment, and good judgment stands as your main line of defense against letting gambling get out of control.

It’s really up to you

If you’re concerned about keeping your gambling under control, sticking to some simple rules such as setting a money or time limit can help make the hard decisions for you when the time comes to walk away. To find further advice and support visit our Confidential Help pages, or find out about Self Exclusion.



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