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Help with gambling

Gambling and your finances

We explain how gambling might affect your mental health as well as your finances – and where you can go for help.

When does gambling become a problem?

Gambling comes in lots of different forms – whether it’s buying a lottery ticket, putting a bet on your favourite football team or playing in an online casino. And while gambling can sometimes be enjoyable in moderation, it could also be hard to know when – and how – to stop.

Whether you’re worried about your own, or a loved one’s gambling, there’s lots of support available. The first steps are often opening up about the problem, and seeking professional debt or financial advice to gain back control. 

 

Signs your gambling might be out of control

You feel stressed or worried about the impact gambling is having on your finances, relationships or health

You’ve got yourself into debt from gambling

You’re struggling to pay for the basics – such as rent or your mortgage, bills, food and other essential costs, because you spend your money on gambling

 

 

The thought of not being able to gamble again fills you with fear

You feel like you want to stop gambling, but you can’t

You’re always trying to win back the money you’ve lost

 

If any of these seem familiar, it’s worth seeking help as soon as possible. You’re more likely to succeed in changing your relationship with gambling if you have support and there’s plenty available.

Should I tell my bank?

You don’t have to tell your bank if you’re worried about gambling – but if you do decide to let us know, we can work with you to see how we can help. Anything you say to us is confidential, and we won’t use any of the information you give us without your permission.

How we can help

As your bank, there are a few ways we can help you take back control of your finances. Through the ‘Cards’ section in our app, you can

  • Block debit card payments to certain types of retailers, like gambling or premium-rate websites and phone lines. From 14 April 2020, the Gambling Commission also put measures in place to stop the use of credit cards for gambling and betting in UK establishments and on UK gambling sites
  • Set a spending limit for a single debit card transaction
  • Temporarily freeze your card when you feel like your spending is getting out of control
  • Change the amount of money you can take out of cash machines each day, or switch off cash withdrawals altogether

Working out how much money you need to spend each month, and budgeting accordingly, can also help you get back on top of your finances. We’ve got some easy-to-follow guides on budgeting, saving, planning for the future and handling debt on our money management page.

We’ve also listed some steps you can take if you, or a loved one, have been affected by gambling below.

Your self-help toolkit

Putting as many barriers as possible between yourself and gambling could help you manage the problem while you seek help.

Gambling treatment and support

Gambling affects more than just your finances – it can affect your mental health too. The stigma around gambling can make it hard to open up to family and friends. If you don’t feel you can talk to those close to you yet, here are three other places you can go to for support

  • GamCare operates the National Gambling Helpline and offers confidential information, advice and support for anyone harmed by gambling (including family and friends) across England, Scotland and Wales. The helpline is open 24/7 on Freephone 0808 8020 133 or via Live Chat. Advisers can provide information about, or refer you to, other important support services (such as debt and financial advice services), and your conversation is completely confidential
  • Samaritans will listen and chat through whatever you need to talk about, judgement-free. Call them for free on 116 123, or go online
  • Mind provides advice and support for anyone experiencing problems with mental health, plus access to a range of resources and services

Self-exclusion

Self-exclusion is where you ask gambling businesses to stop you from gambling with them. You can do this for a minimum of six months and a maximum of five years. If you’d like to be excluded from a physical venue, you can ask the staff there to do this for you, or you can arrange exclusion from multiple gambling venues or sites through the Multi Operator Self Exclusion Scheme.

GAMSTOP can also exclude you from all online gambling companies who are licensed in the UK.

To self-exclude from Licensed Betting Offices (bookmakers) in your local area, or to sign up for the Multi Operator Self Exclusion Scheme, call 0800 294 2060. If you’d like to self-exclude from casinos, you can do this by signing up for the Self-Enrolment National Self-Exclusion Scheme on 0800 8020 133.

You can also find out more about self-exclusion schemes on the GamCare website.

Blocking software

Blocking software is a computer programme that limits access to websites or other online services. Some software is free, whilst others charge a fee. You can find the programme that’s right for you by searching the App Store or the Android Market.

If you’re using an iPhone or iPad, you can also use the inbuilt parental blocker to stop you accessing gambling-related content. You’ll need someone else to set the password for you, so it’s important to consider how you might behave towards them in the moment, and make sure they’re happy to take on that responsibility.

General software is also available to block adult content, and your internet service provider may be able to offer you an option to opt out of all adult sites, or supply you with anti-virus software that lets you block certain areas such as gambling. You can also ask your mobile phone or interactive TV provider to limit or block your access to gambling services.

Are you worried about debt and making ends meet?

Gambling might seem like the answer to money problems, but the chance of winning a lot is very small. In fact, the longer you gamble the more you’re likely to lose. Seven out of ten people who contact the National Gambling Helpline report being in debt as a result of their gambling.

If you have a problem with gambling, you might be using overdrafts, credit cards or payday loans to get by, or pay back what you owe. These ways of borrowing can have high interest rates, making it even harder to get back on track. If you’re struggling to meet your monthly repayments, you should let us know, as we might be able to help. Just give us a call on 0800 051 8346 as soon as possible, so we can talk through your options with you.  

Extra help and advice

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The Money Advice Service

Get free, impartial information and tools on how to manage your money.

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StepChange

Get expert advice and fee-free debt management, so you can tackle your debts.

The information contained in this article is for general information purposes only and is not intended to constitute financial advice. Please seek independent professional advice relevant to your circumstances. Barclays does not accept any liability for any losses as a result of relying on the information contained in this article. The accuracy or completeness of any information herein which is stated to have been obtained from or is based upon any third party sources is not guaranteed by Barclays. All opinions and estimates are given as of the date of publishing.