Keep it Fun when playing in a Mecca Bingo Club

For most people, a visit to a Mecca Bingo Club is what it should be – a fun and sociable way to spend their time. However, for a small minority, either playing bingo, the slot machines or games of Cashline can become a problem.

For many, bingo itself is not even seen as gambling and the vast majority of our customers will never experience a problem. However, playing responsibly is not confined to those who either have a gambling problem or are the most at risk of developing one. It is the best approach for EVERYONE to enjoy playing at a Mecca Bingo club or via any other form of gambling outlet.

At Mecca Bingo, we are committed to helping our customers Keep it Fun by providing a safe and responsible environment and by offering help and support to those few people who demonstrate that they are unable to stay in control of their gambling.

In all of our bingo clubs, we offer help by:

  • providing extensive training to our teams, so that they are able to monitor behaviour that might give rise to concerns and to otherwise assist our customers by directing them to appropriate help and information.
  • providing leaflets detailing the information otherwise provided on this site and allowing customers with concerns about their gambling to “self-exclude” nationally from bingo clubs in the UK by joining the national scheme to prevent them from making further visits. This is as simple as visiting any Mecca Bingo club and speaking with a manager who will help with the quick and simple application process. Alternatively, self-exclusion can be requested by following the process detailed on the Bingo Association website.
  • providing information that will help you identify and prevent problem gambling at an early stage and details about useful charities and support agencies who can otherwise offer specific counselling, help or treatment to those with a specific gambling problem at whatever level.

How will I know if I have a problem?

A good way to gauge whether your gambling is no longer fun, and may be getting out of control, is to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do you find yourself reliving previous gambling experiences and thinking of ways that you can get more money to gamble?
  2. Do you ever gamble for longer, or more often, than you had planned?
  3. Have you ever chased your losses by continuing to gamble when you are on a losing streak?
  4. Do you suffer mood swings, irritability and agitation when you are not gambling?
  5. Do you think that you gamble to escape other issues or problems in your life?
  6. Have you ever claimed to be winning from gambling when, in fact, you are losing?
  7. Have you tried, in the past, to reduce either the time or money that you spend gambling and been unsuccessful?
  8. Have you ever been tempted to commit an act of dishonesty to finance your gambling?
  9. Have you ever chased losses gone back to gamble, on another day, to win back what you lost?
  10. Have you ever hidden your gambling from people who are important to you in your life?
  11. Have you borrowed money, from any source, that you have been unable to pay back because of your gambling, or are you otherwise in debt as a result of gambling?
  12. Have you ever sold any possessions to obtain money to gamble or pay gambling debts?
  13. Do you find yourself breaking promises, to family and friends, so that you can gamble instead?
  14. Are you reluctant to spend money on anything else other than gambling?

If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, then you may need to take control of your gambling, using the information below. You can also take the confidential ‘Worried about your gambling’ quiz on the Gambleaware website and try out their Gambling Calculator to give you an indication whether your gambling is becoming a problem.

What should I do if I think I have a problem?

The first step in taking back control is to be completely honest with yourself and accept that there is a problem, but that you have the will to confront it. Having done so, you have taken the biggest step to addressing the issue. It may be that simply standing back and realising that you have been displaying some of the above behaviours is enough to make you adjust your approach and allow you to resume control. Alternatively, you may feel you need help, advice and support.

You can talk in confidence to the General Manager or duty manager at your local Mecca Bingo club or anyone else in the team who you may feel comfortable speaking to. They all understand the issues involved and have been specially trained to provide you with information and guidance. Alternatively, speak to someone else from your own circle of family or friends who you know and trust.

Never be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help.

Practical steps you can apply yourself to help you stay in control are:

  1. Ask someone you know and trust to handle your money for an agreed amount of time (for example, three months).
  2. Don’t use your ATM / cash point, debit or credit cards to draw funds to gamble with. Only bring a fixed amount of money that you are prepared to spend, then stick to it, just as you would in any other social situation.
  3. Reward yourself for “gambling free” periods by spending the money you saved on something for yourself or your family.
  4. It all else fails – stop gambling. You can very easily self-exclude yourself from all Bingo clubs, but you should also exclude yourself from any other gambling premises or web sites where you otherwise play or place bets. If you believe exclusion is the best option for you, it is advisable to take an appropriate break from ALL forms of gambling. For information and help on how to self- exclude, please click here.
  5. Use a calendar to mark each day that you don’t gamble, so that you can see the progress you are making.

If you need further detailed advice, or more specific help and counselling, please click here to find contact information for some of the excellent gambling support agencies available, such as GamCare.

Remember – take one day at a time and be optimistic – you CAN gain back control

Last updated 06/05/2016