It’s hard to get away from the fact that online gambling in the UK is at an all-time high. With big money to be made, hundreds of new casinos and other types of gambling websites have come on to the scene in recent months. These casino brands are able to offer lucrative welcome bonuses to attract new players. As well as that, there are now thousands of different types of games available so there is now something to suit all gaming tastes. And these two things combined have proved an attractive lure for many new customers…
But, while the vast majority of gambling fans do play responsibly, there are those who do not. So, there are naturally some players who end up needing a little help to curb their habit and keep it in check. Therefore, the self-exclusion program Gamstop was introduced in the UK in 2018.
What is Gamstop?
Gamstop is a self-help tool. It allows a player to restrict their own access to gambling sites in the UK. And it does so by bringing all of the operators in the area together to create a blanket ban for those who choose to use it. Self-exclusion has been an option at the majority of larger gambling brands for a while now. But they use individual settings that a player has to select at each and every casino site where they have an account. So, as you can imagine, this process of self-exclusion is long and tedious and relies on self-control.
So, that’s where Gamstop comes in. When you subscribe to the Gamstop program, you register your details on the Gamstop database and set a period of time to self-exclude from gambling. And these details get passed on to casino operators in the United Kingdom. So that they can prevent access to their websites.
Gamstop is a very useful product. And it has helped many people to resist the urge to play. But there are some limitations in the scheme. And one of those is that it is impossible to cancel your subscription once you have registered your details. As you know, a gambling problem will probably not last for a lifetime. So some players end up choosing a self-exclusion period that is too long. And they find themselves ready to play again, before their self-exclusion has come to an end.
One unforeseen consequence of the program is that many players have started playing at non UK licensed casinos. And these casinos not on Gamstop welcome players from all over the world. So UK players can access these sites outside of their Gamstop subscription.
Can you get around Gamstop?
Gamstop isn’t perfect. And there are ways around the block, if you want to find them. One such getaround is non Gamstop casinos. Which are simply casinos that are not registered in the UK. Thus, they do not fall under the Gamstop jurisdiction and as such not subject to its constraints. Sites registered in Curacao, for example, are free to offer their games to countries all over the world.
These do not receive information from Gamstop regarding problem gamblers or those who have self-excluded. Therefore, it is impossible for them to know if a new player may or may not use their services in a responsible manner. So, players who are attempting to kick their habit should possibly have more assistance in blocking all kinds of casino games rather than just those in the UK.
Alternatives to Gamstop
There are plenty of other programs around, other than Gamstop. And for players who are looking to avoid casinos not on Gamstop, as well as UK brands, this is where other products come into their own. One example is Gamban. This program is a piece of software that a player can download to their device that will ban access to many different kinds of casinos, including casinos not on Gamstop. So Gamban has a lot more scope that Gamstop.
Casino web addresses are programmed into the software. So, as long as the software creators keep their list of sites up to date, they have a far wider exclusion zone. So players can choose to self-exclude from UK casinos. As well as non Gamstop casino sites, too. This will give you greater control on a global level, but does rely on the assumption that newer or more obscure casinos are added to the database it maintains.
Everybody agrees that the Gamstop product is an essential addition to the self-exclusion list. But there is the option with this product to select a period of 5 years. And this may prove to be too long for many gambling enthusiasts. Because, their only option at this point is to seek out a casino not on Gamstop. So, the program would perhaps be better as a short-term solution to cover just 6 months. So that players can reassess their decision continuously.
The other products on the market are able to block access to many different kinds of gambling sites not on Gamstop, as well as UK sites, for a shorter period. And these could prove to be more effective in the long run.
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), with the inclusion of the Gamstop product, has created a cat and mouse situation. And many people believe that they will lose this game in the end. Many experts have called for the scheme to be less rigid. And perhaps include some other useful elements that could go a long way to make this product far more effective.