Leading tipster site bettingexpert.com evaluates which of 27 of the most popular bookmakers offer the best responsible gambling tools.
It’s become almost impossible to watch, attend or listen to a sporting or racing event without being met with a procession of online sports betting promotions.
While online betting becomes increasingly popular, advocates of responsible gambling have likewise become more aggressive in promoting their cause.
This month’s bookmaker analysis takes a look at what bookmakers offer in terms of responsible gambling protections, tools and resources and what else they could offer customers to give them the best chance of keeping their betting on the straight and narrow.
There was very little to distinguish between the 27 bookmakers in this analysis, with the majority providing similar tools and resources for customers who may be experiencing issues with their gambling.
Each bookmaker in this analysis offers deposit limits, giving bettors the opportunity to restrict their deposits to a given sum over a selected period of time.
Bookmakers allow their customers to impose deposit limits over periods of 24 hours, seven days and 30 days.
In most cases bettors can lower their chosen deposit limit; however limits can only be raised after a given period of time. For example, bet365 customers must wait a period of seven days before their deposit limits can be raised.
Setting deposit limits is not only a good idea for bettors who are concerned with their gambling losses; it can be a great way for weekend punters to ensure their gambling stays within their budget.
For example, if you only want to bet £50 each weekend, then imposing a £50 limit over a seven day period is a good way to start.
If deposit limits are not enough, self-exclusion is worth considering. While there is always the option of closing your account, self-exclusion allows you to suspend your account for a given period of time.
For example, bet365 allows customers to suspend their accounts for periods of six months, one year, two years, five years, or the most drastic of all, account closure. Each bookmaker in our study offers both short term and long term self-exclusion.
While most bookmakers allow customers to log into their accounts to withdraw funds during the exclusion period, customers are not able to place bets.
If customers’ gambling is causing them concerns, it is recommended that they begin with deposit limits, graduating to a term of self-exclusion if they feel their wagering is becoming too reckless.
Time online alarm
An increasing number of bookmakers now allow users to set an alarm to notify them when they have been logged into their betting account for a certain time period, often referred to as ‘Reality Check’.
As with deposit limits, once a time has been set, users cannot change the frequency of their alerts until the given time period has elapsed.
Setting an alert is certainly a great way to inhibit more speculative betting. Anyone who loves betting knows how easy it is to log into their account, fall into a deep dive, exploring odds and markets for sports and leagues the world over, many of which even the most astute punters would admit to having little genuine insight.
Most bettors have a narrow frame of expertise, and imposing an alarm can only help keep them focused and wagering on the markets they know best.
In virtually every guide to better betting that we have published, time and time again, we recommend that punters keep a detailed history of their bets.
It doesn’t matter what sports, leagues or markets people bet on, keeping a record of their wagering will not only help improve betting returns but it can help them avoid developing the habits of erratic betting.
With this in mind, it’s encouraging to see that all bookmakers offer detailed betting histories (as well as deposit histories), giving their customers the ability to examine their wagering tendencies.
While a bet history provided by the bettor’s preferred bookmaker is certainly helpful, the best way to improve betting returns and keep a steady eye on betting habits is by them creating their own detailed betting history spreadsheet.
We recommend keeping specifics such as date, bet sum, bet type, details of the wager, the result and importantly, space to comment on the bet.
Most of all it’s important to keep a record of the frame of mind when placing the bet. Was the bettor chasing losses? Were they betting on a sport or league simply because there was nothing else to bet on that evening? Were they exceeding thier usual bet stake by a large degree?
After only a few months of betting, they’ll often see that the bulk of their losses were due to poor discipline. A detailed bet history can help them correct that.
A number of bookmakers offer their customers the opportunity to conduct a self-evaluation. This typically involves customers answering a series of questions and providing them with an independent assessment.
Any self-evaluation questionnaire will ask customers questions such as:
– Why do you gamble?
– How do you feel when you run out of betting funds?
– Have you ever lied about the amount of money you gamble?
– Do you chase your losses after a losing bet?
– Would you rather gamble than spend time with friends?
– How does your gambling impact your mood?
Responsible gambling guides
It’s great to see that all bookmakers now provide their customers with detailed guides to responsible gambling, detailing their responsible gambling tools as well as providing links to external responsible gambling resources.
We recommend that bookmakers provide not only responsible gambling tools and resources but also detailed guides on the fundamentals of wagering, discussing topics such as betting odds and probabilities, how betting odds are framed, what are bookmaker margins and how much to bet to name just a few.
Providing customers with responsible gambling resources and tools is a good start, but we regard a responsible gambler as a gambler that truly understands the dynamics of betting, the risks involved and just how difficult it is to be an ongoing profitable punter.
No matter what protections bookmakers provide, they can only go so far and it is up to the customer to recognise when their gambling is getting out of hand and to seek help sooner rather than later.
Providing expert tips and in depth betting theory, bettingexpert.com is the world’s biggest social network of sports betting tipsters. Its global community of experts compete for prizes by sharing their strongest tips on upcoming matches across 25 different sports to help millions of sports bettors place knowledge-supported bets, with the best odds available from a variety of bookmakers. Betting Expert is owned by Better Collective, the leading developer of educational platforms within the igaming industry.