Responsible Gambling Tips for Christmas
Christmas is filled with many things and means different things for different people. However, amongst the joy and festive celebrations it can also be a stressful time of year and can also be a prime time for harmful gambling. Recent research shows that half of the individuals who gamble at harmful levels have used money to gamble they set aside for Christmas presents.
We discuss why gambling may increase over the festive period, how you can find support for yourself or others and what you can do to encourage responsible gambling at Christmas.
Using Christmas savings to gamble
At Christmas there may be more opportunity for gambling with longer time off work and additional bank holidays. There's also a lot of pressure during this time to look after others, spend money on presents and have a good time.
This extra time and pressure may lead to additional gambling. A recent survey by YouGov found that 50% of individuals who have been gambling at harmful levels over the last 12 months are more likely to feel depressed or anxious in the run up to Christmas and the same amount have spent money set aside for Christmas on gambling.
The research commissioned by GamCare also shows that 41% of those survey respondents who have harmful levels of gambling said that gambling can distract them from spending time with their friends or family over Christmas. In addition, over two out of five of the respondents said that they have used Christmas presents they've received to gamble.
Why are individuals at risk of gambling harm?
There are several key reasons why individuals who gamble may be more vulnerable during the Christmas period:
Paydays are often irregular during December, individuals may be paid earlier and so have a longer time until the January payday to manage their finances.
There can also be pressure to spend big on presents for others and this may add to stress during December. One individual who used GamCare’s services said that these factors can increase the incentive to gamble.
Another reformed gambler supported through GamCare said that there's a lot of pressure to make money quickly to buy gifts for others, and also they admitted that they increased guilt over Christmas because they had sold Christmas presents they received to fund their gambling.
Loneliness is also a factor to consider. Christmas can be a lonely time for many and may increase the desire to gamble and the time off work may also give extra time to spend gambling. Gambling can be a time filler.
Supporting yourself or others
GamCare offers several gambling support options. Their helpline advisers are available one-to-one over the phone or on live chat 24 hours a day, every day of the year, including Christmas Day and throughout the festive period on 0808 8020 133.
They also offer WhatsApp services so you can contact them without having to speak on the phone if you are will family or friends.
Keep busy. While you’re busy with activities or people you may be more distracted and less likely to gamble. Spending time with people you care about can offer different positivity than being with those online.
Set yourself gambling limits. It might be easier said than done, but if you’re mindful of the time or money spent on gambling, you may be more aware of limits. You can set daily time and gambling limits and review your wager amounts to challenge overspending.
Other limits to consider initiating are loss limits and self-exclusion. If you set a loss amount you can be blocked for a set time period when you reach it. Self-exclusion allows you to be excluded from the casino for a set period of time. When you’re considering your gambling over Christmas, think about which online casinos will help you to set such limits.
You can also get free one-to-one support sessions through the National Gambling Support Network, where you will be able to meet a professional in your region every week.
Plus, here are some other support options to consider to encourage responsible gambling:
- Gamblers Anonymous: 0330 094 0322
- Gordon Moody: 01384 241292
- BeGambleAware: 0330 094 0322
Betting on the online slots or having a game of bingo doesn’t need to be off limits over the holidays, it’s about keeping your gambling responsible and ensuring you have limits or other factors in place to keep you safe.
For further information about responsible gambling you can read our guides or call GamCare on 0808 8020 133.