Does Gamstop Make a Difference?
Does Gamstop Make a Difference?
The future success of online gambling in the UK is always going to be contingent on the ability of the UK Gambling Commission and the United Kingdom's Remote Gambling Association to protect the interests of the most vulnerable people in society. That group of people includes minors and people who have legitimate compulsive gambling issues.
When the Gamstop registry was implemented in May of 2018, it was intended to be a line of defense for problem gamblers who felt they needed help staying away from online gambling sites. What’s clear is all the regulations geared towards predatory advertising practices would never stop a problem gambler who is driven to just that, gamble. While there’s not much that can be done about online gambling sites not on Gamstop, the hope has always been that a vast majority of online gambling operators would in fact take part in the program.
After 18 months of activity, it’s reasonable to start thinking about the success of said program.
How the Gamstop Program Works
If a UK-based problem online gambler decides they want assistance resisting the temptation to gamble online, they can ask specific online operators for self-exclusion assistance. The problem of said assistance is it will only be applicable to that online gambling site. It’s a cumbersome process to have to go through the same procedure over multiple online gambling websites.
All that effort can be circumvented on websites that have signed on to the Gamstop platform. In such cases, gamblers can fill out a registration form and submit it through the Gamstop platform. Once approved, the gambler will be self-excluded from all participating online gambling websites. The self-exclusion period is set by the applicant. It can be as short as a few weeks (a cooling off period) or permanent.
Is the Gamstop Program Successful?
The answer to the titled question is difficult to determine. It depends on how success is to be measured. Yes, the program works very well for gamblers who voluntarily sign on for the program. The security measures being set forth to identify and block registered problem gamblers are proving to be effective. That’s the good news.
The bad new is coverage has not expanded as quickly as regulators had hoped. Remember, the self-excluded gambler is only being excluded from online gambling websites that have signed on as members of the Gamstop platform. At this point, the number of member websites is rather small compared to the total population of online gambling sites that are currently available in the UK.
The only viable solution to this issue is clear. The UK Gambling Commission is looking at making membership to Gamstop mandatory for all online gambling sites licensed to provide services in the UK. If implemented, UK problem gamblers would be able to self-exclude themselves from all UKGC licensed operators with one submission.
Going, forward, two things are clear. First, the expansion of online gambling throughout the world is still in its infancy. Second, the viability of online gambling as an acceptable form of adult entertainment depends on the ability of the industry to police itself. That’s where programs like Gamstop can serve an important role.