The UK gaming scene has grown tremendously over the past decade as new technologies and faster internet speeds have brought gaming to the comfort of homes and mobile devices across the country. For most users gambling is a harmless distraction and one of the many opportunities for discretionary spending, but for others it can be damaging. Non-GamStop casinos have exploited the growing UKGC rules to tackle problem gamblers and have drawn UK punters away from domestic sites into a world of light regulation and little consumer protection.
In this article, we will describe recent UKGC activities and the role of the GamStop program in protecting problem gamblers.
Who are the UKGCs?
The UK Gambling Commission is the responsible gaming authority for the UK industry, and it authorizes and regulates the people and businesses that operate gambling in the country.
Based in Birmingham, England, the group is responsible for overseeing the conduct of individuals and operations, but it also provides mediation for complaints and disputes. After an exponential increase in the number of outlets, with easy online payments, the group was forced to step up efforts to control the industry.
UKGC’s work includes regulating the ability of companies to market gambling services to the public.
How GamStop Works
GamStop is a non-profit self-exclusion program in collaboration with the UKGC. Players in the UK can sign up for the service for free and request a blanket ban from all gaming websites and apps provided by UK gaming companies. The ban will be extended for a period of their choosing, which can be up to five years.
The exclusion pattern also cannot be reversed early on, and it can be a beneficial pattern for those struggling to control the psychological issues in the game. Players are vulnerable during a losing streak when the urge to win back losses. can be strong. Many players are also in denial of their true profit and loss situation.
New users of the GamStop program will be asked to provide their current and old addresses, as well as the email addresses they used to register with betting sites in the country and GamStop will do the rest.
Other resources to help problem gamblers
There are other resources available for UK consumers to help them tackle problem gambling. One of them is Gamban, which is similar to GamStop, but is a for-profit organization. Gamban will block all gaming applications on mobile devices and PCs. A 7-day free trial is offered and the product can also be applied by partners or family, which is useful for those affected by a spouse or family member.
GamCare is the UK’s leading provider of free information, advice and support for anyone affected by gambling addiction. The service operates a phone number and live chat for advice, but also provides access to chats groups and online forums.
BeGambleAware is a similar site for confidential support and advice and is available 24/7.
GamStop vs Non GamStop Casinos
The GamStop program is available in the UK and Northern Ireland, but the UKGC does not have the capacity to regulate the activities of non-UK casinos and UK bettors are still free to register on sites that are not. not on GamStop.
The reason many do this is to find more freedom in their betting experience. In its efforts to eradicate problem gambling in the country, the UKGC has also used restrictions on gambling. Examples of this are the high-profile efforts to reduce the size of bets at Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBT). Other restrictions include rotation timers and a recent ban on the use of credit cards on UK sites. This can be restrictive for those who like to separate betting transactions from daily expenses to avoid stigma when dealing with banks.
This has obvious benefits for problem gamblers, but it also punishes those who are more comfortable with their gambling habits. The risk with the bossy approach is that problem gamblers often believe they fall into the latter category. and can search overseas sites as a loophole.
The UKGC offers a superior regulatory regime for those in the UK, particularly with regard to dispute resolution and consumer protection. Non-GamStop sites in European countries are the second best destination due to their EU membership in money laundering and customer protection. Bodies such as the Malta Gaming Authority will follow a high level of KYC regulation and other measures. In recent years, however, South America has become a growing destination for gaming sites and these will offer a lighter regulatory system. The UKGC does not allow these sites to be marketed directly to UK consumers, but they are easily found through online forums and Google searches.
It is also perfectly legal for UK punters to use these sites as it is up to consumers’ free choice, but they should not be seen as an opportunity to circumvent UKGC and GamStop rules. Visit here for more information on non-UK casinos.
Conclusion on non-GamStop sites
Experienced players may find the UKGC measures have become too restrictive and non-UK casinos will be attractive as they offer more freedom and privacy in their games, but sites can also accommodate those with less control over their gambling habits. .
Gambling should always be viewed as fun and be used for entertainment purposes, with consumers being aware of responsible gaming and the support available. The UKGC has taken a hard-line approach towards the industry in recent years, but this is due to pressure from governments and mental health groups. The effects of problem gambling are well documented in the UK, with suicides, marital breakdowns and other pitfalls rife.
Family and friends of gamblers who have been affected by compulsive gambling or who see signs of a potential problem down the road should be aware of non-UK casinos. They can be used as a loophole around the GamStop program and the UK Gambling Commission is your line of defense against them.