How Do I Self Exclude From a Betting Site?

Worried Looking Man with LaptopFor most people, most of the time, gambling is a fun recreation that adds excitement to events they love. For many, it is part of their ritual, be it going to a football match on a Saturday afternoon and having an optimistic 10-fold acca on the day’s games or paying a trip to the local races, donning your finest outfit and trying to unpick the puzzles presented by the meeting’s races.

However, there is no denying the fact that for some, gambling can become problematic. Whether you are losing too much money, worrying about your bets (or losses) or simply spending too much time thinking about betting, there is no doubt that gambling addiction can be a major issue.

Thankfully, over the past five years or so responsible gambling has moved from being a fairly meaningless phrase bandied about by bookmakers wanting to look like they were doing something, to being something that is actually taken very seriously. This has largely been prompted by government action and measures taken by the regulator, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) but the industry has also embraced these moves to some degree.

If you are concerned about your gambling, or that of a relative or friend, there are a range of measures you can take, or encourage them to take (though note, ultimately all options available through betting sites can only be implemented by the account holder). These vary in terms of how much of a restriction you want to place on your betting but here our focus is on one of the more extreme options: self-excluding from a site.

Urgent Help

Please note that if you need urgent help for a serious addiction or gambling problem we would advise a far stronger step than self-exclusion. Check out the NHS’s information on problem gambling which provides links to a number of support services.

What Is Self-Exclusion?

Red Stop Keyboard Button

Self-exclusion (SE), as described by the UKGC is “a facility for people who want to stop gambling for at least six months”. In its simplest form it is specific to a single operator, so, for example, if you bet with one particular site, you will be excluding yourself solely from that site.

In line with the UKGC’s advice, the minimum term for self-exclusion is six months, with most sites also offering terms of one year, two years, five years and sometimes forever. Once you confirm this is what you want to do, you will not be able to access your account and any monies in it will be returned to you. If you have outstanding free bets or offers these will typically be forfeited, but if you have an open bet that goes on to win you may be able to receive the funds from this.

The bookmaker or online casino (or other forms of gambling site) will make every effort to stop you opening a new account and you will not be able to reduce the length of the exclusion time. Once the period has passed you will normally need to confirm that you want to reactivate your account. In most instances you will not be contacted by the site, nor will they automatically reopen it and you may need to contact their customer support team by phone to confirm that you want to be able to make bets once again.

How Do I Self-Exclude?

Worried Woman Holding Smartphone

Activating self exclusion is easy enough and you will usually find it alongside other responsible gambling options. This is normally available through the ‘My Account’ section, then ‘Account Management’ (or similar) or ‘Responsible Gambling’ (or similar). Alternatively, some sites have a dedicated responsible gambling tab where all options are available.

SE is a formal agreement between you and the gambling operator so the terms, broadly what we have outlined above, will be shown. You then just need to select the length of time for which you want to exclude and enter your password to confirm it. The facility will be live immediately and you will no longer be able to log into your account at all, let alone make any bets.

Deciding how long to exclude for is down to you but note that you cannot shorten it once it is confirmed so take careful consideration when deciding what is best for you.

Does Self-Exclusion Cover All Sites?

Prohibited Sign on Smartphone

Self-exclusion applies only to the specific site at which you activate it in many cases. In some scenarios it may apply across all sites owned by a particular company, so if you self-exclude from one website you may find you cannot access your account, or open a new account, at one of its partner sites. However, it will never apply to sites that are not part of the same group.

This means that if you have several betting accounts it is not a particularly effective tool to help you stop or control your gambling. You can, of course, activate SE at all the sites you use but there is a better option if that is what you want to do.


GAMSTOP is a scheme that covers all operators in the UK. In the same way that all UK-licensed betting sites or premises, of all natures, must facilitate self-exclusion, so too must they participate in GAMSTOP. This excellent scheme was started in 2018 and allows you to activate SE at all UK sites in one easy step.

Whilst someone determined to bet may be able to find ways to circumvent GAMSTOP, for those who really want to stop it is brilliantly effective at preventing online gambling, as long as you give them the correct and up to date personal details they need. GAMSTOP is run by The National Online Self Exclusion Scheme Limited, a not-for-profit body. It is free to use, wholly independent of bookmakers and casinos, and offers exclusions lasting six months, one year or five years, though these last for a further seven years unless you contact them and you can always extend or add a new self exclusion too.

What Other Tools Are Out There?

Blue Support Arrows

GAMSTOP is perhaps the most severe restriction you can place on yourself and is a very good option if you are really struggling with online gambling. As well as that, there are software blockers available but these may be costly and potentially less effective than the free option available with GAMSTOP. There is also, of course, a range of help and support services providing non-technological assistance and these can be found through the NHS, GAMSTOP, or even your GP.

However, at the other end of the spectrum, if you have only a very minor concern about your gambling, there are options that are less restrictive which still might be hugely beneficial. One of the simplest tools is a deposit limit, which we recommend you set whenever you join a new site. Some bookies and casinos now prompt you to do this at the time of your first deposit, which is a welcome step.

Deposit Limits

Betfair Deposit LimitYou can set daily, weekly or monthly limits and if nothing else this means you can put a financial limit on your betting. Chasing losses is all too easy, especially if you are intoxicated, feeling low or even just a bit tired. A deposit limit will mean that even if you do succumb to the urge to chase, the limit will be one you have decided on in a sober, sensible moment, as opposed to spending more money than you would otherwise be comfortable with.

The only issue with regards to this is that it takes 24 hours to alter (upwards that is, reducing the limit is instant). You won’t be able to access your account under any circumstances though this is very small price to pay if it saves you overspending.

Time Outs and Reminders

Betfair Time OutOther good responsible gambling tools to be aware of are time outs and session-time reminders or limits. The former is more or less exactly the same as self-exclusion but allows for a much shorter timeframe. Typically you can activate this for anything between 24 hours and six months, or just less. It works in the same way as SE but is great if you think a shorter break from gambling will suffice.

Session-time reminders are not especially helpful in our opinion but some people do appreciate them, especially those more prone to using online casinos. You can set a pop-up to appear when you have been on the site for a specified period. It can be easy to lose hours playing slots or betting on football and the pop-up can sometimes be just enough to make you realise there might well be much better things to do with your time.