Over the recent months, it’s been revealed several times that GAMSTOP isn't doing its job.
The organisation, which is supposed to block access to gambling sites for addicts, simply doesn’t do it well enough. Investigators have found out that despite being blocked via the self-exclusion programme, players could continue gambling at online casinos.
And we aren’t talking about casinos which aren’t participating in this programme either. So, let's see what has caused such major shortcomings.
How Does GAMSTOP Work?
The free self-exclusion scheme for problem gamblers helps them in two ways:
- It blocks their access to all casinos under the programme for a duration chosen by the player;
- It offers support, advice and guidance for those who want it.
When a user signs up, online casinos working with GAMSTOP get the punter’s personal information. Based on it, they deny access to their services if that player tries to sign up.
That’s Where GAMSTOP Fails
Unfortunately, changing your email address and a letter in your name renders this system virtually useless.
This means that over 50,000 gambling addicts in the UK don’t get sufficient support.
That’s how many people have signed up for GAMSTOP’s online scheme. What’s more, it isn’t just GAMSTOP.
Other similar organizations and systems like MOSES, have been failing in the same fashion. This means that whoever doesn’t get enough assistance is at risk of becoming a problem gambler. If they try to play at a casino despite blocking themselves, they can eventually do so.
The Silver Lining
On the bright side, not everyone tries to work around their self-exclusion. GambleAware has conducted a survey that sheds some more light on the matter. They’ve learned that:
- 83% of people reduced or stopped gambling thanks to self-exclusion
- 71% of people didn’t even try to gamble after their self-exclusion
Of course, one can always doubt the honesty of the survey respondents. However, this suggests that the direct support actually helps the addicts much more than outright blocking.
Then again, even if most players are satisfied with the system, such failings can’t be ignored. The story of David Bradford proves this.
The Safer Online Gambling Group
David Bradford was a gambling addict for 30 years, losing £100,000 and going to jail for stealing £50,000. He has recovered since and now tries to help others stay away from the same path.
He has been working with his son for five years now and we’re starting to see the results:
- Bradfords were the ones to expose how ineffective GAMSTOP is
- They have established The Safer Online Gambling Group
This non-profit organization isn’t the only one that aims to help the casino players in need. However, led by players with real-life experience, it also aims for something more.
They hope to unite players with operators and official bodies. Through research and player testing, they want to search for an effective solution to problem gambling.
Their findings are to be detailed in Safer Online Gambling Charter, a document which all the parties should agree upon.
Are Addicts Doomed?
So, while the situation looks dangerous for addicts right now, things will undoubtedly change:
- GAMSTOP is working on a solution to their failure (ID verification is an option)
- Safer Online Gambling Charter might lend a hand for casino addicts more effectively
For now, support and guidance remain the best protection against problematic gambling. Unfortunately, with a flawed system, it’s not enough for people in a situation like David Bradford was in some years ago.
This issue will be addressed very seriously. After all, there are almost half a million problematic casino players in the UK. So, it would be disastrous to leave them alone in the system such as it is today.
TL;DR – Addicts don’t get enough help too often. Luckily, with the massive failure on GAMSTOP’s part, more attention is being paid to improve the situation.