Gambling has always been a fairly popular pastime in the UK – from a day at the races to a flutter at the bookies, it’s a big part of British culture. However, in recent years there have been a number of reports that have focused on the increasing number of problem gamblers.
What Does The General Population Think about Gambling?
The UK has seen several protests demanding a change to the UK’s gambling laws that until this point were almost non-existent. It took until 2004 to get any kind of regulation, and then over a decade which saw the next piece of legislation come in which aimed to protect gamblers from losing too much money at once. Now with an increasing awareness of gambling addiction, Gamble Aware and the UK Gambling Commission have launched Safer Gambling Week.
What is Safer Gambling Week?
Safer Gambling Week is an industry-wide initiative that aims to promote safer gambling in the UK. The initiative provides support in two areas – to consumers and to the gambling companies themselves. The initiative provides tools to help people gamble in a safe way all year round. A big part of the event focuses on helping consumers to recognise when gambling is becoming a problem, what steps to take to help themselves and where they can go to get more support if they feel it’s needed.
Safer Gambling Week is an event put on by the gambling industry, and there is quite a large amount of support for the initiative from casinos and bookmakers. In the lead up to the event bookmakers and casinos display posters advertising Safer Gambling Week and encouraging anyone who feels out of control to get help. Online gambling websites promote the week with special banner ads and pop-ups to encourage people to gamble safely, and bookmakers/ casinos post about Safer Gambling Week on their social media channels. Key organisations like the National Gambling Helpline as well as user-led gambling support groups on social media and in-person promote the event and how people can seek help if they need it.
Who is Involved in Safer Gambling Week?
A key component of Safer Gambling Week is the training that charities provide to both consumers and companies to help ensure safer gambling. Sessions are run for parents, young people, teachers and healthcare professionals which aim to help young people understand how to gamble responsibly. In addition to this Safer Gambling Week organise a series of webinars that help gambling companies to ensure that they are doing more to ensure responsible gambling.
One of the measures that is taken by most online casinos is providing a help and support page for people to click on if they feel like they’re out of control. These pages provide advice and links to external resources and support. At the bottom of pages on most gambling websites, there is a banner to the Gamble Aware charity. In addition to this, a lot of bookmakers and online casinos voluntarily offer the ability to limit how much you can deposit in a day so you don’t go over what you can afford.
Another metric that’s used to help gamblers be more aware of the facts is to provide clear scoring metrics. A lot of companies list the Return to Player (RTP) rate on their casino games. The higher the percentage the less money is retained by the company (on average). However, these metrics are usually not very prominent.
A Look at Those That Don’t Help
Finally, one of the most important tactics when preventing problem gambling is to name and shame bad casino operators. Bad casino operators might not be the companies that don’t have a license or don’t have secure sites (although they should also definitely be reported) but the companies that don’t do everything they can to look out for their users. A reputable casino company should have places that you can go on the site to get help; there should be ways to set a limit or to remind you to take a break if you’ve been playing for a while. If a site doesn’t have this then it shows that they don’t care about offering their users support and you shouldn’t be giving them your custom. It’s important that you highlight companies that don’t do their best to protect their users in order to look out for others that might not access help unprompted.
Why is Safer Gambling Important?
Most reputable online casinos are on board with safer gambling, because they care about their punters – after all, do you really want to be making money if it means that people are putting themselves in financial jeopardy to do so? There is nothing wrong with enjoying gambling, as long as you are doing so safely and without any financial risk to the rest of your life – if you’re betting to try and afford next month’s rent then this probably isn’t a good sign!
TopRatedCasinos.co.uk provides online casino reviews, which include blacklisted operators who don’t put the wellbeing of their users first. New gambling regulations mean that reputable operators should already be taking a number of steps to ensure that everyone is safe – for example, showing the total won/lost by a gamer in any session that they participate. The removal of auto-play and a ban on announcing wins that amount to less than the amount that was staked also helps. Thankfully most online casinos are keen to operate within these rules and ensure that those betting on their sites and apps are doing so while being well-informed and betting only what they can afford to possibly lose.
Safer Gambling Week is about educating those that might be struggling with gambling responsibly and also making sure that online casinos are doing everything they can all year round to help. After all, Safer Gambling Week might be a really good thing, but gambling takes place all year round so there is a responsibility on those that run gambling platforms to make sure they keep their users safe all the time.
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