GamStop to become mandatory for GB licensees

14 January 2020

The GB Gambling Commission has announced changes to its licence conditions whereby all online gambling operators will be required to sign up to the GamStop online self-exclusion scheme and offer customers the service from 31 March.

The decision comes after the GC in September said GamStop required improvements if it was to become mandatory for all licensees to integrate with the solution. It works by allowing consumers to register via a destination page, which then self-excludes them from all participating gambling sites for a period of six months, one year or five years.

“We have been working very hard for the last two years to ensure that GamStop becomes a trusted, secure and independent service that helps anyone who has an issue with their gambling to exclude themselves from the majority of online sites," GamStop chief executive Fiona Palmer commented.

“More than 118,000 people have already used GamStop to exclude themselves from online gambling for either six months, a year or five years, and today’s announcement recognises the progress that we have made," Palmer continued. “We will continue to work closely with the regulator, operators and charities to ensure that we are providing a straightforward, effective self-exclusion scheme for consumers.”

Commission chief executive Neil McArthur added.“It is important that self-exclusion schemes are as effective as possible and they will be most effective when used in combination with other blocking tools such as gambling blocking software and payment card blocking."

Culture Minister Helen Whately said the government had made it clear to all businesses connected to gambling, whether that was operators, social media platforms or banks, that they must be socially responsible, and use technology and data to protect consumers.

“By making it a regulatory requirement for all online gambling websites licenced in Great Britain to sign up to GamStop, I am confident that people who have taken the significant step to opt out of gambling will be well supported, alongside a wide range of other tools," she said.

GamStop was originally developed by the Remote Gambling Association (RGA), and soft-launched in April 2018. While it has been subject to some criticism, for the solution being too easy to bypass, it has been regularly updated and enhanced. It is also now entirely independent from the industry, after the RGA transferred its ownership to its board of directors.

Board members Jenny Watson, Dr Jo Watts, Kevin Beerling, Roger Parkes and Mike Dixon, who is a new non-executive director, will now take ownership of the not-for-profit entity, The National Online Self-Exclusion Scheme (NOSES) which runs Gamstop

Brigid Simmonds, chair of the Betting and Gaming Council, the successor to the RGA, commented: “We welcome the requirement for all companies to join GamStop as part of our continued and ongoing determination to raise standards in the industry. Measures already introduced include new age-verification and affordability checks, additional funding for research, education and treatment and new codes of conduct.”

The news follows confirmation that the Gambling Commission will ban the use of credit cards for any form of gambling other than buying National Lottery products. This will come into force from April 2020.