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Advice for keeping safe while betting online

27 March 2020

In light of the Covid-19 outbreak and the government’s latest requirement to stay at home, more people will be engaging with online gambling websites.

We have already issued new advice to all licensed gambling companies and outlined our ongoing expectations on them to keep consumers safe.

In this unprecedented time we want to do all we can to reduce the risk of gambling harm. The following guidance outlines the protections that are in place for consumers. We would encourage you to look at these as they are an important part of how gambling companies are required to protect you from harm.

Online gambling sites have facilities built into them that allow consumers to set a limit on how much they are spending on that site. This can be a useful way for both you as a consumer and for the gambling company to keep spend at a manageable level.

We have partnered with Twitter to create guidance aimed at supporting users who want to limit the amount of gambling-related content they see on the social media platform. The guidance explains the different ways in which Twitter’s safety tools and settings can be adjusted within an individual account, to help mitigate the risk of exposure to gambling-related messaging and advertisements.

If you think you're spending too much time gambling, or want help to stop gambling, you can ask to be self-excluded. This is when you ask a gambling operator to stop you from gambling for a period of time. Self-exclusion is an important tool that we require gambling operators to put in place and is available to anyone who wishes to stop gambling for a period of time. An online multi-operator self-exclusion scheme, known as GAMSTOP, has been available since April 2018. To maximise the protections available to you, all licensed online gambling operators are required to participate in the scheme from 31 March 2020.

Online gambling companies have to be licensed by us to provide gambling to British consumers. In the current circumstances we know there is an increased risk of illegal overseas websites trying to seek British customers. These sites may not have any of the protections that we require. We will be tracking and taking action against such sites where we identify them. You can help by ensuring the website you are gambling with is licensed. To check whether a site is licensed, look for the link to the Gambling Commission’s Licence Register where you can see what type of activities the site is allowed to offer. You can also check whether we have taken any action against them because they have not followed the rules of licensing.

Gambling businesses must make a summary of their terms and conditions available to you. It is important to read the terms and conditions before you make a decision on which businesses you wish to gamble with and what the risks of gambling are.

Gambling websites must give you access to historic account activity. This means you can request for them to show you exactly when, how much and what you’ve been gambling on over time. This information may help you understand whether you are spending too much time or money gambling.

Remember that although many of us are having to limit contact with others, when it comes to support and advice about your gambling habits, you are not alone.

We will continue to monitor the impacts of Covid-19 on gambling. We will be looking carefully at gambling operators’ activities and any new risks to consumers and will continue to take action where needed to protect people from harm.