Operators now required to participate in GAMSTOP

Viktor Vangelov | Published 16 Jan 2020, 9:56 a.m.

We did announce on a number of occasions that we can expect quite a few restrictive decisions by the UK Gambling Commission in 2020 and if the rest of the year is anything like the first half of January we can conclude that we’re going to have quite a turbulent year.

We reported on the decision to ban credit card gambling which will be enforced starting from the 14th of April this year, a decision that will affect pretty much all operators and a total of 800,000 players who gamble using their credit cards. The reasoning behind the decision is to protect problem gamblers, as estimates shown that plenty of people who gamble using their credit cards have a problem or are at risk.

On the same day, the decision reached another decision, this one directly concerns operators and how they go about doing business. Namely, UK operators are now required to join the GAMSTOP self-exclusion scheme. Certain operators have joined the scheme voluntarily, but this decision requires that all of them became part of the scheme.

Players to exclude from all sites with a single request

With the scheme, players will have the ability to exclude themselves with a single request. Once that request is filed, a player will no longer be allowed to make deposits at any operator, rather than having to file an individual request with each operator.

This will make things a lot easier for those who wish to exclude themselves and stop gambling online. As with other UKGC decisions, this one was also explained publicly by the chief of the Gambling Commission.

Many operators are already signed up and participate in GAMSTOP, McArthur stated, but this will make things even simpler for players who suspect that they have a problem and would like to protect themselves.

As he stated when explaining the decision to ban credit card gambling, this measure will only be more effective if implemented in combination with other measures, particularly blocking tools, such as the above-mentioned credit card blocking that will be introduced in April.

All these measures will be taken in an attempt to deal with gambling related harm, i.e. to decrease the associated risks.

Other measures and initiatives

It’s not just the UK Gambling Commission that has been actively trying to motivate operators and other companies to act accordingly and help people who have a gambling problem, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has also been quite active.

Last year, ministers of said department met with representatives of financial institutions and operators to discuss how to address the concerns that are prevalent in the gambling industry, including credit card use.

Helen Whately, current Culture Minister stated that she made it clear to banks and other companies that they have to be socially responsible in the way they approach these issues. In the past few years, authorities have introduced a series of measures, such as online protections, restrictions to play-for-free games, and other guidelines that operators should follow.

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