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'We're pleased to see the industry coming together to raise awareness'

Sarah Harrison: "It is imperative that gambling operators meet their obligations"
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There has been a positive response to the launch of Responsible Gambling Week, which runs across Britain until Wednesday, October 18, with many bookmakers offering constructive advice as well as publicising the specialist services available.

The week of action has also been welcomed by the Gambling Commission, the regulatory body which has long advocated this type of industry-led initiative.

Sarah Harrison, Gambling Commission chief executive, said: “It is imperative that gambling operators meet their obligations and take every step to ensure gambling is safe, so we're pleased to see the industry coming together to raise awareness of responsible gambling."

One of the key aims of the week is to ensure punters understand what tools are available to keep gambling safe. A guide by the Gambling Commission (gamblingcommission.gov.uk) has a reminder of tools provided by reputable gambling businesses. Here is a checklist:

Setting limits on gaming machines
If you are playing a gaming machine in a betting shop you may be able set a limit on how much and how long you can play for. Once you reach these limits you will be given the choice to stop or continue with new limits. Staff behind the counter are alerted when a limit is set or reached, when the machine must provide a 30-second break before you can resume. This gives time for you to think about whether you want to continue. Limits are also available if you play online.

Time-outs
An online time-out can be used if you want to be able to continue to gamble, but block yourself from it for a period. Online gambling companies must offer this facility for the following periods: 24 hours; one week; one month; or any period a customer might reasonably request up to a maximum of six weeks.

Self-exclusion
If you think you are spending too much time or money gambling you can ask to be self-excluded. This lasts at least six months and, while it is up to you to stick to the agreement, if you try to gamble during that time the company should make efforts to stop you. Once you have made a self-exclusion agreement the gambling company must close your account and return any money in it to you. It must also remove your details from its marketing databases.

What to look at before gambling
Before you transfer money into a gambling account you should check the organisation displays that it is licensed by the Gambling Commission and that you can can click directly through to the GC's public licence register.

Whichever firm you bet with you should check the terms for each gambling product. This will help you understand what you are betting on so you can make an informed decision. And you should check for restrictions on introductory offers or bonuses (such as the minimum spend before a bonus is paid).

There are information points in towns and cities across Britain this week (see below) where you can talk to someone about obtaining specialist advice. Or you can contact Gamcare.org or Begambleaware.org directly through their websites or via the national gambling helplines: 0808 8020 133 in the UK, 08000 886 725 in Northern Ireland, where the organisation is Dunlewey.net, or 1800 936 725 in the Republic of Ireland to get into contact with problemgambling.ie.

Information points to find out more

All take place between 10am-2pm

Birmingham 
Kingstanding Leisure Centre, Dulwich Rd, Kingstanding, B44 0EW. Friday, October 13

Resorts World, Pendigo Way, B40 1PU. Tuesday, October 17

Brighton 
Business Centre, 95 Ditchling Rd, BN1 4ST. Thursday 12 – Saturday, Oct 14

Bristol 
Kings Court, King Street, BS1 4EF. Friday, October 13

Cambridge 
Citibase, Sheraton House, Castle Park, CB3 0AX. Friday 13– Sunday Oct 15

Cardiff 
2nd Floor, 57-59 St Mary Street, CF10 1FE. Monday, October 16

Chelmsford 
4th Floor Victoria House, Victoria Rd, CM1 1JR. Saturday 14 – Monday Oct 16

Glasgow 
Woodside Halls, 36 Glenfarg St, G20 7QE. Thursday 12 – Saturday, October 14

Harrogate 
Krysallis, 104 Station Parade, HG1 1HQ. Fri 13 and Monday, Oct 16

Ipswich 
Co-op education Centre, 11 Fore St, IP4 1JW. Monday 16 – Tuesday, October 17

Leeds 
Leeds Becket University, Rose Bowl City Campus, LS1 3HB. Wednesday, October 18

St George’s Centre, St George’s Road, LS10 4UZ. Monday, October 16

Compton Centre Community Hub, 322 Hare Hills Lane, LS9 7BG. Tuesday, October 17

Liverpool 
263 Townsend Lane, Liverpool, L13 9DG. Saturday 14 – Wednesday Oct 18

London 
Swiss Cottage Library, 88 Avenue Road, NW3 3HA. Friday, October 13

Charing Cross Library, 35 St Martin’s St, WC2H 7HP. Friday, October 13

Maidstone 
9 Romney Place, ME15 6LT. Monday, October 16 – Wednesday, October 18

Manchester 
Rates Hall, Town Hall extension, Albert Square: Saturday 14 – Wednesday, October 18

Milton Keynes 
300 Saxon Gate West, MK9 2ES. Friday, October 13

Newcastle upon Tyne 
Grainger Market, NE1 5QQ. Wednesday, October 18

Northampton 
36-39 Abington Square, NN1 4AA. Wednesday, October 18

Norwich 
17-19 St John Maddermarket, NR2 1DN. Thursday 12 – Friday, October 13

Sheffield 
Fargate. Fri 13 – Sun, October 15

Shrewsbury 
The Lantern, Meadow Farm Drive, Harlescott, SY1 4NG. Tuesday, Oct 17

South Shields 
Ocean Road, NE33 2DW. Friday, October 13

Southampton 
Cobbett Road Library, Cobbett Road, SO18 1HL. Tuesday, October 17

Telford 
Southwater Square, Southwater Way, TF3 4JG. Wednesday, October 18

If you think you are spending too much time or money gambling you can ask to be self-excluded
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