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Signing Up to GamStop to Become a Condition for Operating in the UK
- September 2, 2019 By Oliver Young -
In the UK Gambling Commission’s new rules on identification verification published at the beginning of February this year, the regulator stated that operators could check the GamStop database and see whether a self-excluded gambler was intending to gamble with real money.
But since then, the UK Gambling Commission received many complaints about the failings in the system. Gamblers were still able to deposit and play, even though self-excluded. So the regulator warned the trade body RGA to fix the system. Now, GamStop has received the green light, but not only that. Signing up to GamStop will be a condition for both new and old operators in the UK.
UKGC Gives the Self-Exclusion System a Green Light
A self-exclusion system is essential in the gambling world. Problem gamblers have to have the right to self-exclude themselves from all gambling sites whenever they feel the need to do that. And according to many investigations, the UK’s self-exclusion system was not functioning properly, as problem gamblers were still able to bypass it and gamble in their moments of weakness, even though they were supposed to be excluded from all UK-licensed gambling sites.
Moreover, it was revealed by the Commission that GamStop did not synchronize its list with the lists of registered users with operators’ promotional mailing lists, so problem gamblers were still being bombarded with marketing emails. They were directly exposed to bonus offers and “free” packages.
The UK Gambling Commission warned the RGA of specifically reported failings in the system, firmly stating that it was unacceptable that GamStop did not interact with marketing lists. At the time, Tim Miller, the UKGC’s Executive Director said that they were yet to see proper evidence of GamStop’s effectiveness before they fully approve it. And after seeing satisfying results regarding its effectiveness and seeing that the problems reported have been dealt with, the Commission gave GamStop the thumbs-up.
Signing Up to GamStop as a License Condition
But that’s not all. From now on, all operators with a license to operate in the UK will have to sign up to GamStop, and this will be a condition and requirement they need to respect, to keep or obtain their licenses. The official announcement is expected to be published by the UK Gambling Commission by the end of the week, but it looks like finally the system that blocks self-excluded gamblers from all UK gambling websites is ready and approved by the watchdog.
At the moment, about 99% of UK operators have committed themselves to use the self-exclusion system GamStop already, and those that still have not will be at risk of losing their licenses. Even though GamStop did not have the backing of the UK Gambling Commission so far, it was a system up and running with tens of thousands of users.
The GamStop approval comes, interestingly enough, amid a push by the Labour party, the Commission and campaigners for stricter regulation of online casino gambling. A credit card gambling ban was discussed, replacement of the 2005 Gambling Act and many other suggestions.