A January 2020 announcement from the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has revealed that all online gambling operators serving the Great British market will be required to comply with a multi-operator self-exclusion initiative spearheaded by GAMSTOP.
GAMSTOP is a UK non-profit organisation set up to help problem gamblers self-exclude themselves from online gambling sites. In addition to self-exclusion, the organisation can also recommend where to seek support for gambling, debit, and emotional issues.
Driven by UKGC
Neil McArthur of the UKGC publicly revealed that the 200+ operators licensed in Great Britain will be given until 31 March 2020 to comply with the directive. Once fully implemented, a player will then have the ability to request their self-exclusion from one operator and then have that instruction applied across all other UK-based operators.
The UKGC has revealed that many operators are already actively providing the service. However, the intention is to ensure that the service is made comprehensively available to players from March and beyond.
UK Government Ramping Up Efforts
Online gambling services are intended only for fun and recreational use, and so culture minister Helen Whately is eager for at-risk players to receive the protection they need. Whately wants problem gamblers who opt out to have the support necessary to overcome their behaviours.
In 2019, ministers from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport even went so far as to meet with banks in order to discuss how technology could be harnessed to combat problem gambling. This led to Whately receiving assurances that major banks would introduce app-based measures to switch off spending on online gambling.
McArthur also highlighted a need for the self-exclusion feature to also be combined with other blocking tools. In this case, McArthur confirmed the potential of blocking payments, but also mentioned gambling blocking software as an option.