Self-Exclusion Options in the United Kingdom
When someone discovers they might have a gambling problem, it's up to them to do something about it. When it comes to any kind of addiction, nothing is going to happen to resolve the addiction until the addiction sufferer does two things. First, they have to be willing to admit there is a problem. After admitting there is a problem, they have to be willing to take steps to resolve the problem.
For UK problems gamblers who believe their online gambling is the source of their issues, the solution has to involve some kind of self-exclusion from accessing online gambling websites. There is some good news on that front.
If a problem gambler wants to be self-excluded from UK online gambling sites, they have a couple of different options: GamStop and self-exclusion software programs like Gamban or Net Nanny. Let's investigate these options.
The GamStop Self-exclusion Registry Option
In 2018, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) decided there needed to be a way for problem gamblers to protect themselves from harm due to their online gambling. What they created was a program called GamStop. It is worth noting that restrictions on players and companies will continue to increase due to the latest news.
The GamStop Self-exclusion scheme was based on the premise that the Commission would mandate that UK online gambling operators would need to subscribe to the program. That is exactly what happened.
By requiring gambling sites to join GamStop, the UKGC effectively gives online gamblers easy access to the program. They can access it should they start to feel uncomfortable about their online gambling activities. In most cases, licensed operators that are members of GamStop will provide a link right on their websites.
As part of the registration process, gamblers are required to provide certain pieces of personal information to go into the GamStop database. This is the information that the system will use to flag gamblers who voluntarily ask to be blocked from having access. As part of the voluntary process, it's the gamblers who decide how long they want to be excluded. They can choose 6 months, 1 year, or 5 years.
After the registration has been approved, the registered gambler is supposed to be denied access to all of their existing UK online gambling accounts. Also, they won't be allowed to open new accounts if they use the same information they provided with their Gamstop registration.
The problem with the program is it's restricted to licensed UK gambling sites that have subscribed to the program, paying a fee in the process. It doesn't do anything about preventing problem gamblers from using non-Gamstop online gambling resources.
A favorite option among Gam-stopped online gamblers is going with companies with casinos not on GamStop. In actuality, there are a lot of those sites, some licensed while the rest are unlicensed. It's a viable option, considering many of these operators are quite reputable and reliable.
If a UK online gambler is motivated enough to resume gambling before their GamStop exclusion has expired, they do have other options beyond going with non-GamStop operators. The list of options includes:
- Offshore gambling through the use of a VPN, but often you don't need a VPN
- Using the names of friends and relatives to open new accounts
- Using land-based gambling options
- Going with Bitcoin only casinos that offer complete anonymity
Self-exclusion Software Options
If a UK online gambler wants a potentially more permanent solution for their online gambling activities, they might want to try a software solution. The two best self-exclusion software programs are Gamban and Net Nanny.
With Gamban, the gambler can download the Gamban program (for a fee) onto all of the devices they use for their gambling activities. Once the program has been installed and activated, the applicable device or devices will not be able to access any websites that can be identified as gambling content sites.
Net Nanny is also a software solution, but it works a little differently. After the software is loaded onto a gambling device, a responsible third party is supposed to control the gambler's access to gambling sites. The program can also be used to block content to porn sites or any other websites the third-party administrator wants to target.
The problem with these software solutions is they are device-specific. If a GamStop online gambler wants to prematurely resume gambling, they only need to do so through unblocked devices.