At Southampton Football Club, we’re committed to promoting safe betting.
Whilst the club recognises that betting can form part of a fan’s enjoyment of football, we also believe that we have a responsibility to raise awareness of the support available for those that might need it.
FAQs & Advice From Better Change
What is responsible gambling?
Placing a bet should only ever be done by someone over the age of 18 and for fun and entertainment purposes only.
You should check in on your gambling behaviours and motivations regularly, because after all - it’s a really good way to help you make informed choices about your participation in gambling.
You should never see gambling as a potential source of income. You’ll have more fun if you set yourself a specific gambling budget and stick to it, with the mentality of expecting to lose that money. Think of it as like the entrance fee to a cinema or paying for a meal at a restaurant. You would only go if you could afford it and are happy to pay to be entertained in the knowledge that you won’t see that money again.
Only spend within your financial limits and NEVER borrow money to gamble
It’s always best to plan out how much of your leisure time will be for playing online games and placing bets. Think about how often you gamble and how long for. Your time online should complement, but not interfere with other priorities from work to family life and recreational time.
All reputable bookmakers and online casinos have dedicated, easy-to-use, limit setting tools to help you stay in control and we strongly recommend making use of them.
It’s really important to consider the limits you are comfortable with such as how much you are prepared to spend, how long you are happy to play for and when to take some time out. Keep yourself accountable and regularly track your time playing and how much money you have spent.
The enjoyment factor - remember that gambling products are intended to be leisure and entertainment experiences. They should never be used as a means of self-care or to cope with anxieties, stress or any other personal issues.
Use the Better Change symptoms of problem gambling sheet (download here) to check if you could be suffering from gambling harm. If you think you are, please don’t hesitate to contact one of the many professional support groups (more info here) who are on hand to offer discreet and non-judgmental advice.
Is my gambling safe?
It’s always worth consciously considering your gambling habits to determine if you could be at risk of gambling harm. Prevention is better than cure, so ask yourself if at any point in the past 12 months you have:
- Bet more than you could afford to lose?
- Felt guilt or shame about the way you gamble or what happens when you gamble?
- Been criticised or confronted about your time spent gambling?
- Had someone suggest you might have a gambling problem?
If you answered yes to any of these questions and have a concern about your gambling habits, don’t worry. There are plenty of resources available to help you start a non-judgmental conversation and offer you whatever level of support you might need. Find out more about organisations that can help here, or contact Better Change here.
Motivations of Problem Gambling
- Have you found yourself minimising the impact of your gambling?
- Have you ever told yourself you can afford to lose today because you can win back the money tomorrow?
- Have you tried to use gambling as a means to ‘fix’ other problems in your life?
If you recognise some of these motivations in yourself, please don’t wait. Take a Self Assessment (here) and see what changes you could make to ensure you stay safe and keep gambling fun.
What are some common problem gambling excuses?
How many times have we tried to convince ourselves that something is ok when deep down, we know it’s not good for us. Gambling could easily become one of those things.
Some common excuses include:
- I deserve a treat
- I don’t go out and spend my money socialising
- This is my time
- Nobody will know
- I have nothing else to do
- I have an hour to kill
- I’ve paid off my debt so I can afford to gamble now
- The only way I can afford the night out with my friend is to gamble
- Bonus money isn’t gambling – that’s free money
- If I gamble more money, I will get back what I lost and some more
- When I’ve won enough money to pay my bill/my debt/buy the present/get enough for my night out, then I will stop
- Just one more bet won’t hurt
- It’s just spare money, I would only spend it on something I don’t need.
It’s also easy to play down the amount of harm that can be caused by unhealthy gambling and we find ourselves saying things like:
- One bet won’t hurt
- I’m not hurting anybody
- It’s okay if I lose as I can win it back tomorrow
Some of the worst harm is suffered when we convince ourselves that we’re in control even though we’re not and we’re in denial when we say things like:
- I am in control of my gambling now
- I haven’t gambled for ages – it’s not a problem anymore
- I’ll only have one bet
- I will only play the bonus
- Just one more bet and that’s it
- I will only spend the money I can afford to lose
- When I’ve won, I will withdraw
- Just one bet and that’s it
- I can stop at £50
- I will only gamble £50
Following Saints is fantastic way to get away from it all, enjoy some time with our family and friends and be a part of a lively and welcoming community. We don’t want Gambling to spoil that or be used as way of ‘fixing’ another problem. You know you could be at risk of gambling harm if you’re gambling because:
- I’ve had a bad day and need cheering up
- Gambling will make me feel better
- I need a release
- I am so unhappy, I need an escape
- I need to switch off, I’ve had a stressful day
Gambling should never be seen as a way of improving your situation and you should ask for help if you ever feel that:
- If I win, then I can pay for the holiday/the debt/a present for my wife
- I can put right all of the problems I’ve caused
- If I double my money, then I can go on the night out with my mates
- I will be able to sort that problem out for my sister
Finally, Better Change hope that if you do have a flutter, you are lucky and win, but please remember gambling is supposed to be light-hearted and fun. There’s no such thing as a lucky streak and if luck isn’t currently on your side, there’s no magic rule suggesting that your luck will change.
Take time to think and please, gamble responsibly.
What safer gambling tools are available?
All reputable bookmakers have dedicated safer gambling tools which are designed to help you take control and set clear limits on your gambling. Better Change always recommend making use of these, even if you don’t consider yourself to have a problem with gambling, as it’s a brilliant way to protect yourself from any potential harm.
Some of the most tried and tested tools are:
1. Deposit Limits – These allow you to specify how much money you can credit to your account over a set time period such as each day, week or month.
2. Time Limits – These allow you to specify how much time you’re comfortable spending on gambling sites over a day, week or month.
3. Reality Check – Time flies when you’re having fun so a reality check can be used to give you a gentle reminder when you have been gambling for a certain time i.e. an hour. The tool will alert you that your time is up so you can either end your session or carry on with an awareness that your limit has been reached.
4. Self-Assessment Tests – If you think you’re gambling more than you used to, most sites offer a free self assessment test. By anonymously answering a few questions, it will reveal how much of an impact gambling is having on your life and offers some recommendations regarding the next steps you could take.
GamCare offer a free one on their website which can be found here: https://www.gamcare.org.uk/understanding-gambling-problems/self-assessment-tool/
5. Time Outs – It’s easy to get carried away while gambling and occasionally, it takes over when we should be doing something else such a revising for an exam, spending time with family and friends, or working. Taking a time out allows you to block access to the site for up to 6 months. During that time you won’t be able to log in to the site and you can't remove the restriction early. If you think you could benefit from a time out, remember to set one on every site you use to gamble.
6. Self Exclusion – If you feel as though your gambling has become problematic, we advise you to set a self-exclusion for anything between 6 months and 5 years. You won’t be able to remove the restrictions early for any reason and Better Change strongly advise that you do the same across all gambling sites that you might use.
GamStop offer a free tool which will automatically exclude you from all online bookmakers in Great Britain for a time period of your choosing: https://www.gamstop.co.uk/
What can I do if I'm worried about a loved one?
How to have a conversation with someone where gambling is causing harm
At Better Change, we understand reaching out to help a loved one with a gambling disorder/problem is not easy. It can be overwhelming and a shock when discovering that someone you care about might have an addiction. You might hope that when confronted with the situation, the gambler will eventually see sense. But the issue of a gambling problem will not go away by itself, and it is crucial family members seek to protect themselves from further gambling related harms.
In the first instance you might find it helpful to look to Better Change's symptoms of problem gambling sheet (here) to better understand the signs and of gambling harm.
Intervention and approach
At Better Change, we always find it’s best to take a caring approach rather than an aggressive one when engaging with a potential gambler. Rather than accuse, perhaps ask ‘Do you think there could be any problems with your gambling?’
Try your best to communicate your feelings carefully, openly and above all, calmly.
Do your best to put yourself in their shoes and accept the difficulties your loved one is facing in a non-confrontational manner, making sure you avoid judgments. You do need to be firm on the impact and consequences of their behaviours and implement strict boundaries which you’re prepared to stick to so as not to enable their gambling.
Signposting professional services
Express your concerns in a practical and measured way and reassure them of your commitment to help address their issues. Make it clear that you would be proud to support them if they consider seeking professional help and treatment. Offer to help them make first contact and demonstrate empathy by recognising that gambling problems can be a mental disorder and nothing to be ashamed of.
See Better Changes list of gambling harm support organisations here.
People who suffer from gambling harm have a number of professional health programmes and gateways (more info here) to reach out to. Those affected can and do recover. It’s important for a gambler to know they have healthy peer support to get them through treatment. Let your loved one know you want to help as they may feel out of control, embarrassed or ashamed.
- You have the right to feel safe as well as emotionally and financially secure. It is important to protect yourself from any harm that may arise from your family member or friend’s problem with gambling.
- You can’t force your loved one to acknowledge that their gambling is a problem.
- You cannot force anyone to stop gambling.
- No matter what you say or do, ultimately the only person who can stop gambling is the gambler.
- The gambling is the problem, not the person.
- You are not to blame for their behaviour.
Practical steps for affected family members
If you’re financially associated with a loved one who has a gambling disorder, it’s important to protect yourself as well as them. Signing yourself up to gambling blocking software such as Netnanny or Betblocker, can be helpful as a first step. You might also benefit from opening up and looking into your own credit reports, accounts and financial history.
You could try speaking to your bank and asking for blocks to be placed on your own bank cards and accounts. Take control where you can of any joint accounts as well as adopting responsibility for the household finances as the last thing you want is for any bills to go unpaid.
Consider setting up new bank accounts to prioritise your own financial security. In the long run this will help to protect your future and anyone else’s who may be directly affected by the consequences of gambling addiction.
- Seek professional advice about how to protect your family’s assets and income.
- Don’t lend the gambler money.
- Don’t pay the gambler’s debts.
- Consider if you could manage the gambler’s money. If not, you may need to maintain separate bank accounts and credit cards.
- Remove your name from joint accounts to avoid inheriting the gambler’s debt. A gambling counsellor can help you avoid a bad credit history if you have joint credit or loans with the gambler.
- Take control of finances, for example, organise direct debits for bills, mortgages and regular debits, and limit access to cash.
- Budget and allow each member of the family some spending money, including the problem gambler.
- Check the mail yourself for bills.
- Keep records of all finances including assets, income, expenses, contributions and gifts.
- Photocopy (and keep in a safe place) important documents such as house title, marriage and birth certificates, and tax file numbers.
- Don’t sign anything you don’t understand or are not prepared to pay for.
- Don’t share personal financial details, credit cards or ‘pin’ numbers, or leave that information where it can be found.
Where can I find help?
All of the organisations listed in the Better Change support sheet (here) can offer you further guidance, advice and support.
We would also recommend letting your bank know about the situation as most have dedicated resources available to protect anyone affected by a loved one’s gambling.
Hints & tips for budgeting your gambling
- Take control of your finances - understand your financial position and what you can afford to lose
- Ensure your priority bills are all met before gambling
- Set an amount that is affordable and equivalent to normal entertainment expenses
- Don’t increase your spend to chase any losses
- Expect to lose
- Alongside gambling also work on a savings budget, funds for gifts, holiday, shopping etc.
- Consider setting a deposit limit on the sites you gamble with to control how much you can send over a day, week or month.
How can you help prevent underage gambling?
It’s important to remember that in Great Britain, it’s illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to gamble regardless of whether it is in a high street bookmakers, a casino or online and as responsible adults, it’s our job to raise awareness regarding the potential harm that illegal gambling could cause.
Better Change have put together some helpful guidelines and recommendations to ensure your gambling accounts are kept safe and secure to protect your children:
- Always “log out” immediately when you’re done with a gaming session
- Don’t use autofill for login details on family devices such as tablets or laptops.
- Keep usernames and passwords private at all times and make sure if written down they are not accessible to children.
- Ensure that your credit card details are always kept safe and private.
- Be mindful of your gambling behaviours and don’t play on gambling sites in the presence of children
- Implement safeguarding tools and parent checks on family devices to help supervise and monitor your child’s use of the internet.
- Set your own parent limits for a child’s personal screen time.
- Discuss gambling with your children so they understand that it’s a form of adult entertainment and so they are aware of the risks associated with online gaming.
If you have any concerns over your gambling or that of a child, please contact one of the organisations listed in the Better Change support document (here) or visit Ygam (www.ygam.org) as they are the experts in the prevention of gambling harm in children and can provide a wide range of resources.
The club’s work in this area is part of its social responsibility pledge within The Halo Effect, which is committed to ensuring a sustainable future for the club, its fans, and its community. Through various initiatives, Southampton Football Club seeks to ensure the city and the surrounding region can thrive as a place to work, live, and prosper individually and collectively.