Gambling is popular in the UK and worldwide. According to surveys, about 46% of people aged 16 and older have gambled at some point in their life. Up to 96% of them are aged 35 and below. Also, 55% of gamblers use their smartphones at home and 20% gamble at work.
However, while gambling is an exciting pastime with the potential of winning real money, it has many drawbacks. Problem gambling is a major concern in all regions that have a betting scene. In the UK, punters have various resources and options whenever they need help. Here’s an overview of how UK gamblers get support.
GamStop Self Exclusion
GamStop is the UK’s national self-exclusion program designed for online casino operators. It was introduced by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) as a mandatory license requirement. All operators licensed by the competition must participate or risk losing their gambling license. For players, GamStop is free and voluntary. It is a national database of registered players. If you have a gambling problem, you can register for free to become a GamStop player. Your information will then be added to the database within 24 hours of registration. Although there are still a few possible ways to play when on GamStop, all UKGC licensed casino sites and online sportsbooks will automatically block you from logging in or playing for real money on their platforms. Here’s how GamStop works.
- KYC Verification – All UK casinos are required to conduct a thorough KYC (know-your-customer) process, which involves verifying player identity during account registration, login, and withdrawals.
- GamStop Database – GamStop has a registry that allows players to sign up for self-exclusion voluntarily. Once registered, casino operators can detect login and registration attempts from the GamStop players and block them automatically.
- Self Exclusion Term – GamStop offers a minimum self-exclusion term of six months once registered on the program. Players can also choose one or five years and won’t access UK casinos until the term expires.
GamStop only works for UKGC licensed casinos, therefore there are many other online casinos on NonGamStopBets available for GamStop players avoiding self-exclusion terms. Players can still sign up and bet on offshore sites licensed outside the country. What’s more, the scheme is for online gambling operators and doesn’t affect eligibility to enter a local land-based casino. Players are encouraged to provide sufficient information when registering for GamStop to facilitate the scheme. Some of the required details include names, past and current addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers. Many other European countries have GamStop-like self-exclusion schemes. For instance, Sweden uses SpelPaus, and Denmark has ROFUS.
SENSE Self Exclusion
Self Enrolment National Self Exclusion (SENSE) is the GamStop equivalent designed for land-based casinos. The scheme allows UK players to voluntarily take a break from all offline gambling locations found in the land. SENSE shares many basic structures with GamStop but is different. It is run by the National Casino Forum (NCF) as a mandatory license requirement for all land casinos and betting shops in the United Kingdom. Players who register on the SENSE program will be blocked from entering the casino and can’t play games offline until the self-exclusion term expires. Here’s how SENSE works.
- Registration – Like GamStop, SENSE uses a national registry that contains information about players who have voluntarily signed up to take a break from UK offline casinos. Players can register at any licensed land-based casino, and NCF will share the information with all national casinos.
- ID Verification – All land-based casinos are required to conduct ID verification every time a play walks in with the aim of gambling. The verification involves matching player ID with the SENSE registry. If you are registered on self-exclusion, you won’t be allowed to purchase any playing chips or play real money games in the
GamCare Gambling Support
GamCare is another popular option for UK punters looking for gambling support. It is a charity organization founded in 1997 to provide healthy gambling support and resources to problem players in England, Scotland, and Wales. Nearly all online gambling websites licensed by the UK Gambling Commission are part of GamCare. The organization has many activities, as shown below.
- Running a Support Forum – GamCare maintains a support forum available 24/7. The forum brings together rehabilitated gamblers, advisors, experts, and other members dedicated to responsible gambling. GamCare also provides support chat that players can use to speak to an expert for advice. It offers advice and accurate information for players seeking help.
- Counselling Gambling Operators – GamCare provides counselling services to various companies that are dedicated to responsible gambling. The organization’s objective is to create sustainable gambling and is renowned for introducing the Safer Gambling Standard, which is the standard for social responsibility among casinos.
- Game Blockers – GamCare offers extensive resources for players looking to take a break from gambling. The organization cooperates with leading gambling blockers, including Gamblock, Gamban, Betfilter, NetNanny, and more. Players can quickly find apps to install and block all forms of online gambling.
With the development of technologies, UK players have many other support avenues, including Gambling Anonymous and software-based game blockers. The latter comprises paid apps. However, most services and schemes like GamStop, SENSE, and GamCare are free. If you notice a gambling problem or want to learn more about gambling harm, the abovementioned solutions are some of the best in the UK and don’t charge a cent. You can also explore internal self-exclusion schemes in each casino.