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Providing Support

If you are supporting someone who may be experiencing gambling harms, then there are things you can do right now to provide them with the tools to reduce the harm they are experiencing.

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What you can do now

If you are supporting someone who may be experiencing gambling harms, then there are things you can do right now to provide them with the tools to reduce the harm they are experiencing.  

Preparing for change

The preparing for change worksheet can help someone experiencing gambling harms prepare to make changes to their life. Using this worksheet in a conversation (or a “brief intervention”) can help someone understand their motivations, what support they have to help them, and what changes they want to make related to gambling. It may help identify whether a referral is needed, or help someone start their recovery while they are waiting for treatment to start

"I wish that someone had spoken to me and put out a helping hand to say it will be ok. Education and reassurance are so important and the need to make gambling harms normal is the key."
David, lived experience of gambling harms

Block them!

Gambling products and adverts are everywhere, and for someone experiencing harm these provide a constant reminder and incentive to gamble. Blocking tools can be used to limit and restrict exposure to gambling (known as “self-exclusion”), although it will not eliminate it altogether. The tools below require the individual to activate them, but you can help support them to do so:

GAMSTOP is a free service that blocks access to gambling accounts in a customer name with all licensed online UK gambling companies. This can be activated for six months, one year or five years.

Gamban is online software that restricts devices, such as phones, laptops and computers from accessing gambling websites. Gamban is available for free via the TalkBanStop partnership.

It can take up to 24 hours for blocks to start working.

Many gambling operators offer user-controlled tools, such as deposit limits and ‘cool-off periods’. However, the evidence shows these tools are unlikely to provide adequate protection, especially for someone currently suffering harm. Unlike GAMSTOP and Gamban, these tools can be turned on and off by an account holder relatively easily.

Many UK banks provide free tools to block transactions that are categorised as gambling, both online and in physical venues. 

Account holders will have to apply these blocks to each bank card or account they hold to ensure comprehensive protection.

Betting shops

Licensed betting shops all operate exclusion schemes. You can sign up for these by going into a venue, or by using the links on this page. Exclusion will last for 12 months. If you’re visiting the betting shops in person we recommend taking a friend or support worker to help you do this safely.

You cannot self-exclude on behalf of someone else, even with their permission.

To exclude from multiple bookmakers,  contact the multi-operator self-exclusion scheme online or phone the self-exclusion helpline on 0800 294 2060.

Arcades and adult gaming centres

Start by visiting and speaking with staff. They'll gather basic details and your permission for self-exclusion. This process may involve taking your photo to inform other staff of your exclusion.

For a comprehensive exclusion, contact or call 0207 730 6444.

Choose between self-exclusion periods of 6 to 12 months

Bingo venues

Either visit the bingo venue in person to register for self-exclusion or complete an online form for each desired premise. You can choose to self-exclude for 6 to 12 months.


Visit in person to self-exclude or join the SENSE scheme via the self-exclusion form. This will exclude you from all casinos and remove you from marketing databases. Self-exclusion for casinos lasts 6 months.

Please note that these steps apply to physical venues and not to apps or websites. For more information, visit the National Casino Forum website.

Account holders can control preferences by opting out of communications from gambling operators in their account settings. These are not always easily found. To restrict marketing emails, click “unsubscribe”. Note: participation in GamSTOP should also prevent any marketing emails.

It is also possible to limit gambling advertisements on social media platforms and Google. To do so will require “opting-out” on each platform via account settings.

Talking about gambling

 Most of us talk about gambling and gambling addiction in the same way, and that is influenced by the gambling industry. Some of the language and messages we use can be stigmatising and add to harm.

We need to move away from language that adds stigma and prejudice and move towards language that increases understanding and encourages people to seek support.

  • Use person-centred language such as “someone experiencing gambling harms” or “a person being harmed by gambling”

  • Don’t refer to gambling as a ‘fun’ or ‘social’ activity as this reinforces perceptions that there is something wrong with anyone who experiences harm

  • Avoid describing gambling behaviours as it is the products and how they are designed and marketed that create addiction

To find out more about the training we offer, click the button below.