For those who like to gamble regularly will know all too well what Gamstop is - but for those who don’t find themselves partaking in mobile gambling, you’ll have no idea what this is or the impact the introduction of it has had.
It was introduced within the UK in 2018 after a bit of a rocky attempt to launch in 2017, the initiative was designed with the intent to tackle the rising gambling addiction pandemic that had started to sweep the country by allowing those who felt they needed help to blacklist their information from the casino services. The way it works is simple - casinos registered within the UK can volunteer to participate with Gamstop, anyone who opts-in to the Gamstop initiative will then no longer be able to access any of those services for a certain period of time, although it is possible to opt-in indefinitely.
It is possible to remove yourself from the initiative, however, but it can be quite a lengthy process as you will need a compelling reason why as it was implemented to protect those at risk - but that doesn’t mean there aren’t shortcomings to the system.
Services outside of the UK - It is being encouraged for services within the UK to register, but it isn’t yet mandatory and also doesn’t apply to those registered elsewhere in the world. This means that even if you did decide to register with Gamstop, there are still examples of some not blocked by Gamstop that you would have full access to. Many services that operate outside of the UK can be played anonymously too, as they don’t fall under the same laws and operating procedures, as such players who could be considered at risk are able to gamble anonymously.
Open Advertising - As it stands, Gamstop will only stop you playing and betting within the services if you are on the opt-in list, but it doesn’t stop any marketing or advertising material from reaching you. This could be of particular concern to any at-risk gamblers, as receiving any promotional offers or material for the services that they used to use could operate as a trigger.
There has been pressure to make this more widespread recently, however - UK gaming operators were given the ultimatum of participating in Gamstop by April this year or risk losing their gaming licenses. It had already found widespread coverage within the UK but this push means that all gaming services within the UK are covered - there may be efforts in future to push this overseas and start tackling the rising number of services operated out of countries such as Malta, but that may be a very different problem to tackle as the laws and regulations around gambling in those countries are much different. This also doesn’t tackle the issue that has been brought up around the open communication for marketing materials - although as this has been brought to the attention of the gambling commission, it may be the next area in development to take.