Universal Self-Exclusion Scheme To Be Approved By The UKGC

Viktor Vangelov | Published 2 Sep 2019, 10:14 a.m.

We probably don’t need to tell you how important responsible gambling is and that the UK Gambling Commission has been dedicated to promoting it in the past few years. A number of campaigns have been launched already, including few initiatives put forward by gambling operators.

We’ve reported on such issues more than once. Last month, problem gambling was covered by BBC’s Panorama, and earlier, leading UK operators announced the launch of a new committee that will be primarily focused on problem gambling, i.e. on how to deal with it. It is expected that the newly founded committee will publish its findings by the end of next year.

More than few operators have been fined for failing to comply with industry standards and regulations. Towards the end of July UKGC fined Ladbrokes Coral and this operator was required to pay almost £6 million (£5.9m) which was one of the heaviest fines ever. Self-exclusion has been one of the most discussed topics when it comes to responsible gambling. In fact, many operators have been warned and fined for breach of self-exclusion rules.

The UKGC might approve a self-exclusion scheme aimed at dealing with problem gambling. If that happens, all bookmakers registered in the UK will be required to sign up to the new programme called Gamstop.

Punters To Be Able To Self-Exclude From All Operators With A Single Move

Gamstop will allow punters to block, i.e. exclude themselves from all betting websites in the country at once. Until now, punters had the option to exclude themselves from a particular site, so if they wanted to be excluded from a number of sites at once they had to go through each of the sites that they wanted to exclude themselves from.

Gambling operators that have a licence to operate in the UK will have to sign up to Gamstop, that will be a condition to keep/obtain a licence.

The UKGC has not yet announced this requirement, but it is expected that this will happen this week, since it has been proved that the scheme could work, in the sense that all technical obstacles have been overcome.  

99% Of All Operators Have Accepted Gamstop

The reason, or one of the reasons why the Gamstop is being introduced is that papers and non-governmental organisations have shown that the current self-exclusion schemes come with certain flaws and, at times, didn’t stop gamblers from placing wagers, even after they have excluded themselves.

The Commission warned operators on a number of occasions that they need to work harder to ensure that punters who have excluded themselves are no longer able to place wagers.

Few operators have been warned and even fined after emailing punters who have been self-excluded. There is increased pressure on the Commission to endorse Gamstop, and even though that information hasn’t been confirmed, it is expected that the Commission might be inclined to do it.

About 99% of all operators in the country have already committed to using Gamstop, especially since it has been announced that they might face a situation where they’re going to lose their licence if they don’t.