The UK-run Gamstop program is the best-known self-exclusion program in Britain. And every year since it was established in 2018, Gamstop has seen more and more players signing up to take part in the program.
But, how does Gamstop actually work? And is it really as good as it seems? Today, we’re going to weigh up the pros and cons of this program. And answer the following question: is the UK Gamstop program a success or failure?
How Gamstop works
The Gamstop premise is very simple. It brings together all of the gambling operators that offer games to UK players under one roof. And this is significant. As, before the introduction of the program, a player’s only option for self-exclusion was to contact every casino site where they had an account. And ask them not to permit any future payments from them.
But this did not stop them from opening new accounts at other sites. And for a problem gambler, this only aided the cycle.
Gamstop is a central database that holds information on the players who sign up. This info includes the player’s name, phone numbers, email addresses and any other personal data that they wish to share.
Plus, the more data that players hand out, the better it is for them in the long run. As it is possible to try and register with a new casino brand using a different email address, for example. So, if a player hands over all their info from the start, the scheme is far more effective for them.
Once the details are in the system the player can no longer attempt to sign in to existing accounts. Or open new ones. As all of the participating brands will automatically see that that player has requested self-exclusion.
That said, non Gamstop casinos pose a threat to this self-exclusion program. But is a non Gamstop casino a bad thing?
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of Gamstop to find out.
Pros of Gamstop
There are many great aspects that come together to make Gamstop a worthwhile service. Obviously, the most notable is that it prevents people with a gambling problem from accessing more real-money games.
Gamstop also allows a player to select their own exclusion period. And this is great, because not everybody wants to avoid casinos for the same period of time as everybody else. Players can choose from 6 months, 1 year or 5 years.
However, this can also be seen as a downside to the product; as we’ll see in a moment.
Players’ details are kept private while on the Gamstop database. So nobody other than Gamstop can see the names and addresses of the players who choose to register.
With other types of gambling help services, players must attend meetings in order to regain control of their habit. And this lack of privacy often puts problematic players off seeking the first steps on the road to recovery.
The Gamstop program is also free. And this is extremely important, if it is going to attract a wide range of customers. After all, people who’ve had a potential problem with gambling may well have spent a lot of money in the process. So needing to pay for help could prove to be out of their reach.
Furthermore, the Gamstop program is extremely fast to put into action. Once a player’s details are in the database, there’s no going back. And it will become effective within 24 hours. This is good, in that it creates an almost-instant ban from all UK-licensed gambling sites.
Cons of Gamstop
The downsides to registering with the Gamstop program are, unfortunately, side effects that were perhaps not anticipated during the scheme’s creation.
The biggest problem facing any player is the period of self-exclusion. As we mentioned before, players can choose 6 months, 1 year or 5 years. But this does not take into account those who have perhaps chosen a longer period than they needed in the beginning.
The lack of choices is quite inflexible. And this can lead to players who have resolved any gambling issues now wanting to play again. Their only option at this point is to seek out alternatives.
As you know, the scheme prevents players from playing at UK sites. However, players registered on Gamstop can still play on non UK registered casinos. And some players may do this. Because they are ready to play again responsibly.
So a casino not on Gamstop is the perfect way to return to their hobby again. Before their self-exclusion period has come to an end.
But others may simply be trying to find a way around their self-exclusion. As they still have an issue with gambling in the correct manner. Therefore, casinos not on Gamstop aren’t a good option for these types of people.
There is no denying that the Gamstop program is a fantastic idea. But it does require players to still use a little self-discipline, in order to make it effective.
Furthermore, there are plenty of casinos not on Gamstop. And these gambling sites not on Gamstop are still easily accessible for most people. So the program is not a silver bullet. But rather an additional tool that can be used to combat the problem of excessive gambling.
Just be sure that, if you’re looking for casinos not on Gamstop, it’s for the right reasons.