For most, gambling is a pleasant pastime, much like any hobby, pursued for entertainment purposes. Some like the competitive nature of games, whilst others like the element of sheer luck. A number of people, however, have a less healthy attitude towards gaming, which can in extreme cases turn to an addiction, ruining their own lives or the lives of those around them.
That’s why responsible gaming is so important.
Monitoring time & money spent
There are two important elements to keep in mind when determining if you’re gambling in a responsible manner. First is the amount of time you spend gambling, and second is the amount of money you’re gambling.
Questions to ask yourself when trying to determine the nature of your gaming include:
- Do I set myself a budget and stick to it?
- Have I caused myself financial harm gambling – using money I need for other things to fund my gaming?
- Do I set a limit on the amount of time I play, and stick to it?
- How often do I find myself gambling? Daily? Hourly? Whenever a sudden urge strikes?
- Can I stop playing, even when on a winning/losing streak?
Basically, you should not be spending more money than you can afford to lose on gambling. You should also be aware of your ability to start and stop. If this is not in your control, your gambling isn’t in control.
If you are having a problem controlling your gambling, or think you might be addicted, you need help. Gambleaware.co.uk is a good place to turn, if you need resources for responsible gambling.
You can also appeal directly to GamCare, an organisation that offers free advice, support and counselling (by phone or chat) to those with a problem gambling, in a non-judgemental environment.
Only adults, i.e. those over 18, are legally allowed to gamble. And as an adult, it is your responsibility to protect yourself, your interests, and your hard-earned money.
That being said, the Gambling Commission understands that there are matters beyond an individual’s control – including for some, compulsive gambling.
As such, the Gambling Commission has taken it upon itself to address gambling problems directly. The Commission also works to ensure licensed gambling organisations fully service their customers, by having them contribute towards research, education and the treatment of problem gambling. Following the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014, this applies to offshore gambling operators as well. These types of precautions – which regulate that casinos operate in a responsible manner, in all aspects – are in part why you should always choose to play at a licensed online casino.
Gambling Regulations in the U.K.
In the United Kingdom, all forms of gambling – including bingo halls, lotteries, internet bets, and casinos – are regulated by the state’s Gambling Commission. The government branch in charge of gambling is the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
The laws regarding gambling have changed significantly over the years, most recently culminating in the Gambling Act 2005. This set of parliamentary decrees was put in place to address the evolving face of gambling in the U.K. – especially in terms of internet gambling. It also included new structures and regulations to protect minors and vulnerable adults.
Like bingo halls, in order to obtain licensing, casinos originally needed to function as a club and charge a membership fee. They were also limited to a maximum of 10 gaming machines.
As casinos became more popular, the laws began to relax, starting with the Gaming Act of 1968, which lightened restrictions significantly in terms of membership dues and game offering.
The ability to build resort-style casinos – like those found in Las Vegas – only came much later, with the Gambling Act 2005. This Act stipulates how many of these super-casinos can be built (usually one every few years), and exactly where – with cities and towns bidding on the opportunity to host. The super casinos, however, have remained a point of contention, hotly debated in government.
Bingo halls were first legalized in Britain following their rise in popularity in the aftermath of the Second World War. Their status was fully legitimized by the Betting and Gaming Act 1960, which officially allowed for the opening of bingo halls. At first, law had it that such establishments had to charge players a membership fee, but that rule has since been abolished.
Online gambling is legal in the U.K. with licensing provided by the Gambling Commission.
Many local bookmakers, however, choose to host operations offshore, to better serve overseas customers.
In the past, a 10% tax was charged for off-course bets, but the government has since abolished this levy.