GAMSTOP, the UK’s self-exclusion program, is closing loopholes for players. Reportedly, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) will be imposing stricter requirements for online gambling. These regulations will force online betting sites to stop problem gamblers who have provided their date of birth, name, physical address and email address to GAMSTOP. A stricter ID system has been suggested by anti-gambling campaigners and will be introduced by May 2019.
Local regulators will finally be able to help online players in addition to those at land-based casinos. Another key change to the self-exclusion program is checking debit and credit cards used by gamblers online. If these have been stolen, the casino will have to take action. Since UK casinos are some of the busiest in the world, these measures are necessary.
GAMSTOP Measures for Problem Gamblers
In the past five years, the UKGC has cracked down on gambling websites who fail to act responsibly. Most of these cases have been serious breaches of social responsibility guidelines. One casino operator, 888 Holdings, was fined £7.8 million (NZ$14 million) because of a technical error. This error allowed self-excluded gamblers from their casino to gamble on online bingo. Over 7000 players were at risk thanks to the glitch.
With the new ID system, the UKGC hopes to reduce gambling-related harm like this. For the moment, GAMSTOP has 60 000 voluntarily banned players. Under the new regulations, all operators will have to ban these players when they are added to the database. Additionally, casinos will have to follow the rules to keep their licenses.
Another exciting development in gambling harm prevention comes from banks across Britain. Earlier this year, at least four banks announced that their customers could block gambling expenditures on their cards. This can be done via mobile apps and budget facilities for institutions like Barclays, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander and Lloyds. When combined with the GAMSTOP system, this seems looks like a good strategy for other countries to implement.