If you feel like things are getting out of control or that your betting habits have changed for the worse, you might want to consider taking serious action to get back on top of things.
If will power alone is not enough and you doubt your powers of self control there is absolutely no shame in seeking help. In fact, and at the risk of sounding patronising, you have done a great thing by seeking out this page and attempting to do something about it.
Stick with us, and we will guide you through the process of blocking yourself from the gambling site you use, and from any others too if that is what you want to do.
Gambling should be fun. If it has started to become stressful or is causing you financial problems then you absolutely need to read on.
Self Exclude from a Single Site
Your first and least severe option is to exclude from the site or sites that you use individually. This might be effective if you are only feeling minor compulsions and think you are unlikely to go through the sign up process at other sites in order to gamble.
If you know you are already past this point and want to exclude from all gambling sites then skip ahead to the next section of the article.
All licensed gambling sites need to offer gambling control options. These can be as simple as setting a 30 minute reminder to stop you losing track of how long you have been gambling, to blocking yourself from certain products (i.e no casino but horse racing bets are still allowed), and even short time outs where your account will be ‘closed’ for a pre-determined amount of time up to 6 weeks.
To access these options you will need to go to your account and look for ‘Gambling Controls’ or something named similar. You might be able to do it yourself but at some sites you may need to talk to customer support too.
If you want to exclude yourself completely then you will find that option in the same place. It’s a serious decision and it cannot be reversed, so make sure you have read the company’s terms before you agree to it.
This is the self exclusion form from William Hill, but they will all be similar. As you can see it is very simple with just a few clicks needed to set the exclusion into motion.
Once this has been agreed to your account will be closed for the duration of the exclusion period and you will not be allowed to get back in. They should also refund any money in your account and stop sending you marketing material, and if you are betting somewhere that also runs other brands the exclusion could count at those websites too.
Self Exclusion from all Online Gambling
If things are a little more serious and you want to go full cold turkey then you can exclude yourself from all online gambling sites in the UK.
Until recently, you would have had to go to all of the different sites individually to do this which would have taken an age, but then GamStop was set up. It was voluntary for betting companies to join at first, but since March 2020 all licensed gambling providers in this country have to be signed up with the organisation.
Contacting GamStop and signing up to the self exclusion program will automatically block you from all gambling websites in the UK. It’s a very quick and effective way of disabling your capability to gamble.
It’s free to use, and you can choose the exclusion to be in effect for 6 months, 1, year, or 5 years, and the process cannot be reversed.
- Call 0800 138 6518 or sign up via the website to get the ball rolling.
- Provide your postcode, date of birth, and email address.
- GamStop will handle everything else and send you a confirmation email.
- Once the exclusion period has elapsed you stay on exclusion unless GamStop hear otherwise from you.
So you see it couldn’t be easier to do, they manage everything for you and you have to actively un-exclude yourself at the end of it. The sign up process takes minutes and the ban will take a maximum of 24 hours to come into effect.
Can I Sign Up to GamStop on Someone Else’s Behalf?
Unfortunately, even if you know someone with the most chronic gambling addiction the world has ever seen, it is still down to them to do something about it. You can encourage them to seek help, but you can’t make decisions for them.
It makes sense when you think about it. People could misuse the service if it was possible to sign up on behalf of someone else, they could do it out of spite, or for ‘a laugh’. It would waste the time and resources that are needed for those with real issues and cause no end of trouble.
If you know someone with a gambling issue the best thing to do is be supportive and gently nudge them towards the help listed here. Make suggestions and never judge. You could also call the National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133 who will guide you as to what you can do to help further.
What About Offline Gambling?
It’s true, you could exclude yourself from all forms of online gambling and still be able to walk into your nearest town and start betting in a betting shop, or on the machines at the arcades, or your local bingo hall.
It is for that reason that the Multi-Operator Self Exclusion Scheme was set up. This scheme allows someone to self exclude from all physical betting shops in their area with just a single communication.
This makes the process much less laborious for the poor guy or girl going through the stress of gambling addiction, and all premises in your area will be made aware that they are not to allow you access to their services.
The process is simple:
- Call 0800 294 2060
- Tell the team where you live, work, socialise so they can map any betting shops in your area.
- Email or post photographic I.D which they can forward on to licensed premises.
- Self exclusion lasts for 12 months once activated and cannot be undone.
All non-remote operators who are premises licence holders in the arcade, betting, bingo and casino sectors are required to participate in a multi-operator self-exclusion scheme, so you can be sure your exclusion request will be circulated thoroughly.
How do I Know if I Have a Gambling Problem?
In all honesty, if you have to ask the question you are probably at least on the first rung of the ladder if not higher.
But don’t panic, the fact that you are acknowledging the issue is a positive sign, and hopefully you can catch it before it manifests itself.
Here are a few signs to look out for. If you recognise yourself in any of the following then you should seek help:
- Spending more money and/or time on gambling than you can afford.
- Arguing with friends or family about gambling.
- Losing interest in other things and only thinking about gambling.
- Lying about your gambling or hiding it from others.
- Chasing losses or using gambling as a way to solve financial trouble.
- Borrowing money, selling belongings, and building up debt due to gambling.
- Neglecting work, school, family, personal needs like washing and eating, because of gambling.
- Feelings of anxiety, stress, irritation, guilt, or depression.
There are other avenues to go down for help and support too, such as: