The UK currently has some of the most liberal gambling laws of any country in the world. Since the 2005 Gambling Act 1,000s of casinos and sportsbooks have opened up offering you the opportunity to bet online. Whilst it is a form of entertainment that we can all enjoy it has a dark side too.

Wherever there is gambling, there is addiction. The UK Gambling Commission estimates that 0.2% of the population has a gambling problem and the media is awash with stories of those who plunged into a spiral of bad bets and lost tens of thousands. Occasionally, those stories involve students who gambled away loans and credit card balances in the hope of getting a lucky windfall.

This article is written to provide guidance for those who want to bet online. We advocate always playing responsibly. Here is how you can do that.

UK Gambling Responsibly | Play Within a Budget

The number one rule for anyone gambling online is to play within a budget. This is particularly true if you are a student with limited finances! The best way to work out how much you can afford to spend on games is to write down what your expenses are each month first. Then you know what you have left for entertainment. Gambling, like anything else, shouldn’t use up funds that you need for essentials like rent, bills and food.

Then, when you know your budget, stick to it!

You can also decide to bet on just a few matches a month or spend one evening a week trying your luck on the casino tables. In short, set your limits for time and money.

There are also tools within a gambling account to set limits for yourself. You can set limits on deposits, wagering and losses by day, week or month for any betting site you sign up with. Just head to your account page and look for the Responsible Gambling link.

Play Free Games

If casino games are your thing, you don’t always have to play for money. If you are looking for a bit of stress relief after studying hard, a few free plays on a good slot game or blackjack table can be fun. It takes your mind away from work and allows you to play without caring too much if you lose. Most casinos will let you sign up and play for free, though you will have to verify your ID to proof you are over 18 before you can do so.

Play At Licensed Gambling Sites Only

The UK has liberal licensing laws but the regulator, the UK Gambling Commission, sets some strict tests on security, fairness and safety that all potential licensees must pass before they are granted their license. That means all games have been fully tested for fairness, the businesses themselves have been audited and once operational, all customer accounts must be ringfenced to protect the funds in case the venture fails.

You can find lists of licensed casinos and new UK slot sites on many gambling blogs and review sites. You should also check the footer of any site you plan to play at where their UK Gambling Commission license number should be published.

Don’t Chase Your Losses

It goes without saying that the golden rule for any gambler is, ‘don’t chase your losses’. If you have a losing streak then don’t become frustrated, increase your bets or look for longer odds to win back the cash you have lost. It’s a sure-fire way to get yourself into debt. If things aren’t working for you, take a break for a few days, weeks or months, and only come back when you are feeling come and relaxed about placing your next bet.

Share Your Experiences – Don’t Be a Secret Gambler

One sign of problem gambling identified by charities is a tendency for the person involved to be secretive about their betting. If you find yourself betting more than you are comfortable with and keeping it to yourself, think about talking to someone else about it. It’s nothing to be ashamed about, and if it is a problem, its better addressed today.

Look For Help If You Need It

Finally, if you find yourself gambling too much and getting into debt, there are a few really good charities who can provide help and support. They include Gamcare and Gamblers Anonymous. They will provide details of meeting you can attend to share your experiences with other gamblers, as well as counsellors specialising in addiction issues.

Those are some important tips on gambling responsibly. If you follow them you can enjoy betting as a thrilling form of entertainment. Good luck!