Change in regulation or the introduction of different initiatives can be found for many different reasons – in the example of Gamstop, the initiative was launched in an effort to curb the growing number of problem gamblers within the UK, but it had been met with some early problems, a controversial approach to operator registration, and a method for players to avoid the whole system.
(Image from ERIPP.com)
Since the launch in late 2018, the initiative has found over 130,000 users register to the self inclusion scheme which is a good measure of success in a short period of time but it has come with some challenges as those who had registered were still being exposed to marketing materials – this may be due to how terminology was handled, or perhaps just an oversight in the initiative itself – essentially users who registered were unable to access the sites on the Gamstop list, but this didn’t remove any user details as contact information such as email and phone would remain on the sites database – because of this, emails encouraging users to gamble would still go out, undermining the purpose of the initiative which was to reduce the access problem gamblers have.
A second point of contention came this year – as of the end of March it was made mandatory for all gaming operators within the UK to sign-up with the scheme or risk losing their gaming license, bringing an end to the voluntary registration part of the initiative. Whilst largely seen as a positive as now more or less all UK based gaming operators are participating, it does little to solve the overall issue and opens up the possibility for unlicensed operators to corner a part of the market, looking for those who are most vulnerable as their favourite sites become inaccessible.
There is an alternative however, as there has been a steady increase in operators who choose to register outside of the UK in countries such as Malta – these countries remain within the gambling regulation, but fall outside of the Gamstop initiative reach – just like many others, we like these betting sites not blocked by Gamstop as they provide all the safety precautions and safe betting practices that come with our favourite operators elsewhere, but also remain open for use whether you’re blocked on Gamstop for self-inclusion reasons, or you’re just not a fan of how the whole initiative has been handled.
As it stands, the Gamstop initiative is solely aimed at UK operators and will remain so for the time being – it may become a possibility that it begins to branch out and reach into these same operators that are falling under the gaming regulations here, but that is yet to be seen – there also hasn’t been much commented on whether or not some of the flaws with marketing materials and other preventative measures will be fixed. Importantly, remember to always gamble safely and responsibly, and if you feel you’re out of your depth know that there are platforms such as Gamstop to help you recover.