Online gambling is today a multi-billion dollar industry that has been providing fun, entertainment, excitement, and rewards to players directly at their homes across the world. However, some people are not able to cope with the pressure of losing and end up with a problem – compulsive gambling or addiction. This can be quite hard to get rid of and can cause:
- Financial problems
- Physical health problems
- Mental health problems
- Sociological problems
For any player with a gambling problem it is necessary to seek the help they so desperately need. Sometimes the player may not realize or refuse to accept he has a problem. That is why online gambling websites incorporate responsible gambling initiatives into their ethos and put up links of organizations players can approach for advice and help with their gambling problem. On this page we talk about responsible gambling in the UK and the different local resources UK players can approach for help.
Organizations Helping to Tackle Gambling Problems in the UK
There are different organizations in the UK dedicated to helping players resolve their gambling problem. These organizations work not only with the players but also with their families and friends. They also work with the gambling industry by providing them with training and also information to help them increase their understanding of the concept of social responsibility and their responsibility in terms of protecting a player from addiction issues.
The following are some of the major organizations working in the area of responsible gambling and helping players deal with and resolve their gambling problems:
- Gamblers Anonymous
Apart from the organizations listed above, there is another organization that plays a very important role in identifying and helping out when it comes to gambling problems for players: the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC). We take a brief look at this organization first.
The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC)
The UKGC measures and tracks the percentile of people in the UK having gambling-related problems. It does this through the British Gambling Prevalence Survey. The UKGC works together with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and also the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB) and ensures the following:
- Adequate understanding and research of problem gambling
- Gambling licensees act towards their players in a socially responsible manner
The UKGC has also ensured, with the passage of the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act of 2014 that offshore gambling operators also contribute towards the research, education, and treatment of gambling-related problems.
In the UK, GamCare is the leading provider of support, advice, information, and free counselling to help tackle the threat of problem gambling. It is a registered independent charity that employs professionals who bring to the table years of valuable experience. They work with problem gamblers and also their families and friends, besides working with the gambling industry itself.
GamCare has a self-assessment tool that a UK player can use to determine if he displays any symptoms of problem gambling. There are 16 statements that need to be rated on a scale of 0-10. The score lets one know if and how much gambling is affecting 4 major areas of his life:
There are different ways that GamCare offers help to problem gamblers and their families and friends:
- Helpline: This is the National Gambling Helpline that GamCare runs to call and discuss problem gambling. It has advisers on call between 8:00am and midnight local time every day.
- NetLine: This is an online chat text service open to anyone from within the UK. This service is accessible via computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet. It is available 7 days a week between 8:00am and midnight.
- Forum and Chatroom: This is an online forum with an active chatroom that is moderated. Players or their families/friends can talk to other players with gambling problems here.
- Online and Face-to-Face Counselling: Players also have the option of seeking counselling, online or face-to-face, from any of the team of professionals working with GamCare.
GambleAware® is another organization in the UK that works towards promoting responsible gambling. It is funded and also administered by the Responsible Gambling Trust and operates as a charity. It raises at least £5 million from the gambling industry in Britain that it uses to fund different activities in the areas of:
There are different sections of the GambleAware website you can access for information about responsible gambling, the most important of these being the Responsible Gambling InfoHub. This is a free and independent online resource that anyone interested or affected by gambling can access.
Through GambleAware you can contact a professional for help or counselling on the National Gambling Helpline, which is operated by GamCare. You can access other facilities offered by GamCare through GambleAware, including the NetLine and the Forum and Chatroom. Other support organizations that you can access through GambleAware include:
- National Problem Gambling Clinic
- Gordon Moody Association
- Gamblers Anonymous
- Gam-Anon UK and Ireland
- Gambling Therapy
This is an organization where men and women who have gambling problems meet regularly and share their experiences, strengths, and hope. It is open to anyone looking to solve their gambling problems. The organization does not require a membership or registration. All the person needs to do is be at the meeting venue on the given date at the time mentioned.
There are different modes of access available to a person looking to share and resolve their gambling problems with peers:
- Meetings: There are over 170 meeting organized across the UK weekly. A person can find out the venue closest to him and visit. The different kinds of meetings include:
- Main Meetings: Meetings involving only compulsive gamblers; they share and help each other
- Open Meetings: Meetings where compulsive gamblers come with family and friends and are recognized for their ability to abstain for years
- Women Preferred Meetings: Meetings more suited for women
- Newcomers Meetings: Like main meetings but directed towards newcomers
- Steps Meetings: Meetings focused on the 12-step program to tackle problem gambling
- Mixed Meetings: Meetings that allow a problem gambler to get a family member or friend along
- Unity Meetings: A mixture of Gamanon and GA meetings and are like mixed meetings
- Gamanon Meetings: For friends and family of compulsive gamblers
- Forum: This is an online resource like any other forum where a person can share his or her story with others on the network and try to offer help if possible.
- Chat Room: This is a moderated chat room that is moderated and allows a person to chat with others about problem gambling. The chat room requires a log in.