GamStop is a free service that allows gamblers to control their own gambling addiction. Most players prefer non gamstop casinos, but it is not possible to register an operator in the UK without using this programme. GamStop has advantages and disadvantages – certainly its help in getting rid of gambling addiction is undeniable, but it is not a panacea.
What is GamStop: details
Online gambling is rapidly gaining popularity in all countries, with players from the UK long considered to be among the most gambling-addicted. Consequently, the number of people for whom gambling addiction has become a significant problem is also increasing. GamStop’s multi-operator scheme is designed to protect players from this kind of unpleasantness, while not restricting freedom – it is up to the individual to recognise their too strong attachment to gambling. The UK’s National Health Service says around 400,000 people in the UK need help for their gambling addiction.
GamStop was started over 4 years ago, under the jurisdiction of The National Online Self-Exclusion Scheme Limited (UKGC). It is an independent platform that invites gamblers to make their own adjustments and use the self-exclusion method. The controlling organisation has the main aim of banning fully addicted gamblers from online casinos. In addition, all users receive debt, practical and moral support.
The programme was launched in 2018. Initially, the registration of operators with a UK licence was advisory, but from 2020 it became mandatory. In other words, one of the positions of effectiveness of the service is the operator’s actions. The use of any online casinos registered in the UK involves controlling gambling addiction.
How it works
This programme is designed to ensure that gamblers with a gambling addiction are not adversely affected. In general terms, the service offers two-step help:
- support for vulnerable gamblers;
- Self-exclusion in cases of severe addiction that the person cannot cope with on their own.
The first case involves compulsive gambling. If such symptoms are present, a player registered with GamStop can receive counselling and assistance from UKGC representatives. In the second case, there is a radical cure for the addiction by making settings for self-exclusion from certain gaming sections or by blocking access to the online casino.
GameStop workflow: stages
Protecting players from addiction involves the following positions
- Operator assistance;
- The actions of the gambler;
- The program structure of the service.
Operator assistance. All British-licensed online casinos are required to register with the GamStop programme. The process involves filling in the relevant form and taking out a paid subscription. The operator then has full access to the player’s personal details and is required to identify all player activity. The software algorithm determines whether an addiction exists and the gaming service provider controls the rest of the steps to help the addicted user.
Gambler’s actions. All online casinos in the UK offer the GamStop service – this service is available on the home page of the website. The player can read the terms and conditions and make self-exclusion settings – for example, set a timer to block any sections of the games or access to the online casino in general. The self-exclusion periods are 6 months, 1 year and 5 years.
The software structure of the service. There is a special algorithm, providing for cross-checking of data provided by operators, and information that a player specifies when registering at GamStop. Confirmation of gambling addiction is considered to be the coincidence of the information from both parties. In this case a gambler will be blocked in GamStop.
Effectiveness of using GamStop
The programme definitely works and can help gamblers who have self-diagnosed a gambling addiction and want to cope with it. GamStop is also effective in terms of supporting all UK operators, which is important – players can get help on any of the resources, choose a self-exclusion activation period and ask for support.
But there are some negative aspects that call into question the effectiveness of the platform:
- Online casinos in other countries are available to UK subjects. For example, a player from Britain can join Milky Wins Casino and play without restrictions.
- A minimum of 6 months is too long for self-exclusion.
- Registering a new account. This is legally prohibited, but one of the available circumvention options is to create a new profile for someone you know or have a family member.
In conclusion, it should be noted that GamStop is only effective for gamblers who are fully aware of their addiction and really want to get rid of it. Otherwise the service won’t work after all, as there are various ways around it.