You have probably heard of GamStop if you have an account with a casino licensed in the UK. The UK Gambling Commission, the agency tasked with overseeing gambling activity in the UK, requires all casinos to participate in GamStop. However, the obligation is only for UKGC licensed online casinos and there are many casinos without GamStop. Land-based casinos in the UK have a GamStop equivalent in SENSE (Self Enrollment National Self Exclusion).
GamStop is a voluntary self-exclusion program designed for UK players looking to take a break away from online gambling. All UKGC-licensed sites are obliged to participate in the program, which involves player ID verification and robust Know-Your-Customer (KYC) processes. The goal is to identify players that have voluntarily registered on GamStop and block them from accessing real money games on the site. So how does it work?
GamStop is a voluntary program that allows players to register their details. You’ll be required to provide your name, past and present email and physical addresses, mobile phone numbers, email addresses and other details. UK casinos are then expected to request various information during account registration, to identify GamStop players. Once registered, players cannot access their casino accounts and real money games provided in UKGC licensed casinos. The minimum self-exclusion period is six months, but players can choose up to five years. You must wait out the self-exclusion term before UK casinos allow you to play real money games.
The Big Role of GamStop
Technically, GamStop is a vast database where UK players can register and become GamStop Players. All online casinos, mobile and desktop, licensed by the UKGC are then required to prevent players on the database from accessing games until their self-exclusion term expires. However, there are dozens of British casinos not with GamStop restrictions accepting self-excluded players on a daily basis. The role of GamStop is to provide an option for compulsive casino players, problem gamblers and anyone who genuinely intends to take a break from online gambling. Here are some of the advantages of GamStop:
- Voluntary: Players voluntarily register to self-exclude from all UK licensed casinos.
- Automatic Exclusion: Within 24 hours of registering on GamStop, players will be blocked from all gambling sites licensed in the UK.
- Responsible Gambling: Players with a genuine gambling problem can find help and services to help them regain control of their hobby.
Gambling is a worldwide hobby and very popular in the UK. It is also regulated and the UKGC is required to create a sustainable environment that allows problem gamblers to find help and self-exclusion options.
Is GamStop Influential?
GamStop was introduced by the UK Gambling Commission, which is the entity mandated to oversee gambling activity and license operators in the UK. The UKGC has various limits for operators and players to ensure a sustainable gambling industry. One of their requirements for operators is participation in GamStop. As such, all UKGC-licensed online gambling sites must join GamStop or risk losing their license. The UKGC penalizes all sites that fail to comply with all the gambling requirements, so most operators are keen to participate in the self-exclusion program.
However, GamStop and the UKGC requirements only apply to UK casinos. There are many other credible gambling agencies and regulators, including Curacao, Alderney, Malta, Gibraltar, the USA, Canada and more. Each entity has unique requirements for operators they license, which don’t include participating in GamStop. Since there’s no law prohibiting UK punters from playing games provided by no UKGC sites, players have many choices. You can easily find reputable online casinos that welcome GamStop players. Most are independent casinos and international brands.
UK punters can play casino games on offshore websites, regardless of whether they are, or not, on GamStop. This reduces the influence of GamStop. However, players determined to stick to the UK licensed online casinos will find GamStop significantly influential and helpful. Note that GamStop is designed for online casino operators and players. You can still play games at your local land-based casino. Players who want to self-exclude from both online and offline casinos should register on GamStop and SENSE.
Players can also use GamStop alternatives to block casino sites licensed outside the UK. Self-exclusion services, such as Gamban, Gamblock and NetNanny, provide efficient software applications players can install across their devices to block access to all gambling material. Using these services can help you self-exclude from all online casino sites in and outside the UK. Note that some are free, but most involve a fee.
GamStop plays a vital role in helping UK punters looking to self-exclude from online gambling. Many players prefer UK licensed casinos because they follow rules designed to protect the UK player and feature convenient banking methods. They are also more secure compared to offshore sites licensed in other regions.
However, if you don’t mind joining independent casinos outside the UK, GamStop has very little influence. The program also doesn’t influence land-based gambling, so players always have choices to make. If your goal is to stay away from gambling, self-exclusion apps and services offer a better alternative.