GC: Improvements needed before GamStop becomes mandatory

2 September 2019

The GB Gambling Commission believes further improvements to the online self-exclusion system GamStop are needed before it becomes mandatory for all licensees to integrate with the solution.

While the majority of UK licensees have partnered the system, the Commission told iGamingBusiness.com that more work must be done for signing up to GamStop to be a key licence condition.

‘’We welcome the establishment of GamStop and the ongoing steps they have been taking to continually develop and improve the scheme,” the Commission said of the solution. “We are pleased to see that a large number of people are already getting protection through signing up and we hear directly from people about the benefits it has provided.

“However, the scheme has not yet reached the point where we are satisfied to trigger the requirement for all operators to become members," it added. "We will continue to support GamStop’s work to ensure the further developments and improvements are made.’’

Developed by the Remote Gambling Association (RGA), GamStop has been designed to allow customers to block access to all igaming sites operated by companies signed up to the system by registering on its platform. It is intended to eventually become a mandatory requirement for all Gambling Commission licence holders to integrate with the solution. The RGA said it would welcome GamStop being a mandatory condition for an operating license.

"The Remote Gambling Association and our Members fully support GamStop, this ground breaking social responsibility support tool is currently helping more than 70,000 people who have chosen to self-exclude," an RGA spokesperson said. "We would welcome the inclusion of being registered with GAMSTOP as a condition of licence. Self-exclusion is an important tool in tackling problem gambling and the industry has been very supportive of this system. We will continue to innovate and improve self-exclusion and other schemes to address the issue of problem gambling."

A GamStop spokesperson said that the the National Online Self Exclusion Scheme is working with the Gambling Commission and hopes that GamStop can be a requirement for licenceholders in the near future.

“GamStop is committed to working closely with the Gambling Commission towards the scheme becoming a licence condition," a GamStop spokesperson said, "In the meantime our priority is to provide the best possible service to the many thousands of individuals  who are currently registered.”

GamStop soft-launched in April 2018 - having originally been expected to go live in 2017 - and has since been criticised for flaws in the system that allowed self-excluded players to resume gambling. 

In January this year a BBC investigation revealed that players could bypass the system by changing their user details. At the time GamStop said it was working to fix the loophole, something it believed would be aided by the introduction of enhanced ID verification requirements by the Gambling Commission. These came into effect from 7 May.