Gamstop is a UK-run scheme that aims to protect people who show signs of problem behaviour. It started back in 2016 and the idea builds on previous self-exclusion options offered by casinos.
Before this point, a player would have to request exclusion from each site to achieve this. But given that there are hundreds of brands to choose from, the idea wasn’t practical.
The Gamstop scheme pulls all the operators together and makes it easier for a player to receive a blanket ban from all of them. And they can choose how long to abstain for.
Rise in Gamstop applications
In February 2021, Gamstop saw a 21% rise in applications from players wishing to exclude themselves from gambling. This may well be down to the boost in figures over the previous Christmas holidays. The problem with players creating casino accounts during the holidays is that they may not be doing it for the right reasons.
Gambling has always been best treated as a hobby. And if a customer is treating it as such, then they would generally get involved at any point of the year – whenever the mood takes them.
But during the holidays there may be a rise in people playing casino games solely for the purposes of winning cash. And they might be doing this to pay for essentials at Christmas or because they are bored while they’re off work. And this is never a good reason to start gambling.
According to Gamstop’s own stats, nearly a third of all players registered with the service attempted to access gambling games. And this is despite their desire to stop gambling. So it shows that Gamstop service is doing a good job of preventing those with a gambling problem from continuing with their habit.
But that figure doesn’t take into account that there are many who now have their gambling hobby under control. And now they wish to play again.
Gamstop Exclusion period
The main issue for many customers who register with Gamstop is that they haven’t thought carefully about their exclusion period.
Gamstop presents very few options in this sense and makes it impossible to change your mind. You can select 6 months, 1 year or 5 years. And this doesn’t offer enough variation for every type of gambling fan.
Many have seen an issue and need a break. But the jump between 1 year and 5 years is quite drastic. And this brings about its own set of problems further down the line.
Gambling sites not on Gamstop
The only way for someone who has genuinely chosen an inappropriate exclusion period is to search for sites outside the UK. These brands are simply in other countries. But due to the restrictions in the UK, they have been dubbed as non Gamstop casino sites.
These casinos not on Gamstop are offshore. So, outside the rules of the UKGC. But their sole aim isn’t to provide services to players who are on the Gamstop scheme. Therefore, a casino not on Gamstop is just a regular casino and not a product designed to break any rules.
Many of these sites will allow people form the UK to join. And another interesting fact is that casinos not on Gamstop are growing in popularity.
Why do non Gamstop casinos accept UK players?
The problem that Gamstop faces is that the gambling industry is worth nearly $60 billion USD. And experts predict that it will grow to nearly $100 billion over the next 2 years. And with so much money at stake, it’s hard to ask the online casino industry to refuse so much potential profit.
The laws in the UK forbid a brand from offering its services to players within the UK. But if they decide to create an account while assuming an offshore IP address and other cloaked details, then the UKGC can’t hold the casino to account.
It’s the player’s choice to seek out casinos not on Gamstop. And there’s very little anyone can do to stop it, in a legal sense. A few cases have come to light over the last couple of years. But the UKGC knows that the game of ‘cat and mouse’ will likely cost millions to pursue. So until there is a more stringent global rule in place, the issue will never cease.