Gamstop, which serves as the UK’s free self-exclusion service, revealed that exclusion sign-ups were at a record high in 2023. As reported by PA Media Consumer Affairs Correspondent Josie Clarke, over 92,000 individuals registered for self-exclusion at Gamstop in 2023, which marks an increase of 9.5% in comparison to last year’s report. According to Gamstop CEO Fiona Palmer, the observed year-on-year increase in registered individuals shows that self-exclusion is crucial for those vulnerable to gambling harm.
At the time of writing, the number of consumers who have excluded themselves via Gamstop since the service’s launch in 2018 exceeds 433,000 in total. Another statistic that can be seen as a cause for concern is that of the number of individuals aged between 16 and 24 that have signed up in 2023’s second half, as the figures show an overall 31% year-on-year increase. In total, 21% of new registrants were within this age group, or 4% more than what was recorded for 2022. Over half (55%) of Gamstop registrants chose the longest self-exclusion option, which lasts for five years, while the rest went with either a six-month exclusion or the option to exclude themselves from gambling for one year.
In light of this data, Palmer added that the organisation wishes to “continue raising awareness of Gamstop” in order to ensure that those who could be in need of Gamstop’s self-exclusion service are informed regarding the program. She also highlighted the data pertaining to young adults, as the “prevalence” of such registrants is something that underscores how crucial it is for education regarding Gamstop to reach UK youth.
The UK’s Continued Efforts to Mitigate and Prevent Gambling Harm
Since its launch in 2018, Gamstop has been an invaluable resource for those who have struggled or continue to struggle with problem gambling. Although, at first, operators were not required to participate, this changed in March 2020. As mandated by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), all remote gambling companies that have a valid licence to operate within the UK need to participate in Gamstop if they are to continue adhering to their licensing requirements. This regulation has made it exceptionally easy for customers who might have registrations at multiple casino or betting websites to exclude themselves from gambling without needing to sign up for self-exclusion at each individual website.
The UKGC’s announcement of making Gamstop participation mandatory coincided with news of how 2020 would also see a blanket ban on credit card utilisation for gambling. This regulation came into effect on April 14th, 2020, and it currently extends to both land-based and remote licensees, prohibiting them from accepting credit cards from their clients. Like Gamstop’s self-exclusion scheme, this move sought to make gambling safer within the UK and help to prevent casino enthusiasts and punters from incurring substantial gambling debts.
Further measures to protect gamblers will be implemented in the upcoming years as part of the Government’s gambling white paper, which was published on April 27th, 2023. The white paper includes proposals such as a potential requirement for operators to undertake financial risk checks in order to determine which clients could be exhibiting signs of gambling harm, new mandatory stake limits for online slots, automatic opt-in when it comes to deposit limits, and more.
Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.