GamStop guide to self-exclude - mobile

GamStop: On self-exclusion and why it’s important

What do you do when you want to take a break from playing casino games?

Sometimes there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Sometimes you need to take a break from some of the activities you enjoy. A busy period might be coming up and you have no time to dedicate. Or maybe you feel that you should spend your free time doing some other activities as well. At this point one of the tools that are available to you is the self-exclusion mechanism.

What is self-exclusion?

Self exclusion is a feature presented by all licensed online casinos nowadays. By using it you declare that you don’t want to take part in gambling activities for a certain amount of time. When you enable this option on your account you should no longer:

  • have access to that account from that casino and any other brand on the same license
  • receive marketing communication from that casino and any others on the same license

The problem with this setup is that all the limitations apply only to one casino, or in the case of white-label providers, to a small set of casinos. But if you go around the internet, you’ll have a lot of other options from other brands than the ones you self-excluded from. That’s not good, you were aiming for a different effect. Was all that process for nothing?

Actually… no.

GamStop enters the picture

GamStop is a gambling self-exclusion scheme that aims to solve the problem of protections being limited to only a few brands. What they aim to achieve is a network which puts together the self-exclusion information from all online casinos. Through it they will protect players who aim to limit their gambling activity, regardless of the brand they use. It uses data from the KYC information to link accounts from different online casinos to apply the exclusion everywhere.

GamStop is officially supported by the UK Gambling Commission as the main scheme to make sure that gambling related harm is kept to a minimum. Recreational players who want to be able to take a break from time to time can also greatly benefit from this arrangement.

Now, all players have the chance to properly disengage from this activity should they choose to do so.

How does it work?

All you have to do is register on this site . Then you need to offer some details about yourself so that you can be identified and link the accounts from various brands together. The info is the same one you usually offer casinos for KYC: Id, address, email and phone number. And you’re done. When you’re going to self-exclude from one of them, you’re going to be restricted on all the other online casinos in the GamStop network.

Which online casinos use GamStop?

Starting early 2020, the UK gambling commission has decided that all licensed casinos need to sign up to GamStop. This means that all casinos who hold a valid gambling license in the United Kingdom are in on this scheme. It’s going to be practically impossible to find reliable casinos who are not on GamStop in 2021.

Given their exposure it’s pretty safe to expect that all the big names are already integrated with this service. So, names like Unibet, PaddyPower or PlayOjO all make concentrated effort to make sure that online gaming is something that stays entertaining and safe.

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How good is this really?

Everybody says a lot of things, but we’re interested in knowing how good this system is in practice. And on that note, we have to admit we’re impressed. It’s not easy to create a system that coordinates between too many different private entities and still have meaningful impact. Just think of how many times you had to organize with 20 of your friends to go for a night out at a restaurant. One guy likes Italian, one wants Chinese. Oh, don’t forget about the vegan guy and his wife! And we know that John is allergic to eggs, so we’d better find something good for him, too!

Even though when it started back in 2018 GamStop was more of a novelty than a standard, it has undergone extensive upgrades and improvements.

Today, as long as the casino you’re playing at has a good reputation and an active license you can be almost sure that any self-exclusion you impose on yourself will be communicated throughout the entire network of online casinos within the UK.

The efficiency of the system also does impose on us, the players, a bit more responsibility as well. A few times in the past (before GamStop) we were upset with a certain casino and in frustration we self-excluded for the next half a decade. If this would happen today we would have a big problem since we would effectively be cutting an entire hobby out of our lives. Not good since, in practice, only one brand should deserve this treatment. So, be careful!

GamStop is not perfect

As good as the system is, at the end of the day it also relies on the voluntary compliance from the players to be efficient. They need to provide accurate data. Players need to use the same information when registering with the various brands online in order for the scheme to work its magic.

GamStop has been criticized in the past quite a few times that it’s too easy to bypass this system. While the argument has merits, there is an open question on what would actually be needed to make the system more efficient. And how would we achieve that without infringing on the privacy of the people who sign up?

On top of this the system relies on casinos signing up, so if a brand is unlicensed it’s very likely it won’t sign-up for  the scheme. This is why you might see in your search some casinos who are not on GamStop. For the moment, while flawed, it’s the best system we have. When it comes to safety and protection, in any domain, a partially working system is often better than none at all.

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