If you are a British gambler, you probably already know of Gamstop. This scheme or service first launched in April 2018 with a clear focus on helping gambling addicts to self-exclude themselves from all gambling sites at the same time. Most online casinos already presented a way to self-exclude from them specifically, but instead of needing to go on each betting platform separately to get banned, Gamstop was designed to shut down all accounts at once. In doing so, Gamstop was also made to help prevent customers from opening accounts on any new gambling sites. On 13th January 2019, however, BBC reported news on some disturbing findings on how Gamstop actually works. As it turns out, it is quite easy to just cheat the system and continue playing regardless of prior self-exclusions. What did BBC’s so-called investigates find out? We are going to tell you all about it!
Mere typos can make a difference
According to BBC’s article, the biggest problem with Gamstop would be its rigid attention to detail. When a person registers to Gamstop, they will be tasked with leaving all their personal information, including name, address, email, and so on. Then, when trying to sign up to online betting platforms, these people will get error messages telling them that they indeed cannot create an account. While this sounds great on paper, it would now appear that even a simple typo in one’s surname, combined with a new brand new email address, can be enough to fool the system. And, since we are talking about addiction here, there is, of course, a good chance that a person could be willing to go to even much greater lengths than this in order to continue playing.
Reactions to the flaws
Adam Bradford, son of a gambling addict, interviewed in the BBC news story went on to call such flaws scandalous, adding that the hundreds of thousands of betting addicts in the UK are actually not being protected. Ms Palmer, the chief executive of Gamstop, on the other, had this to say: “We are taking on board the feedback and we are looking to improve the scheme”. The UK Gambling Commission has since also weighed in on the story, saying that it is looking to add tougher ID checks in the future o ensure that Gamstop will work better.
Not all casinos are registered to Gamstop
A key detail to consider is the share number of online casinos not registered to Gamstop. Poker Player Newspaper reported that there are more than 20 casinos not on Gamstop active in the United Kingdom at this time. These sites are not effected by the self-exclusion scheme at all, and any gambler can just visit these websites and play like before. To see the Poker Player Newspaper report on non-Gamstop casinos visit https://www.pokerplayernewspaper.com/casinos-not-on-gamstop/. For Gamstop to be a serious alternative, it should include unlicenced casino sites as well. There are other services out there, like Gamban or BetBlocker, that covers most gambling sites out there. A combination of the services would definitely have the highest success rate.
We can understand that creating a service such as this that is completely foolproof can be extremely hard. There are simply so many different online casinos and bookmakers out there with their own registration processes that Gamstop is no doubt facing a tall task in trying to make their system work. After all, we are talking about two things that can create a rather volatile combination together: online anonymity and gamblers suffering from addiction and searching for ways to get their fix. The BBC article also goes on to report how their producer tried to ban himself from betting shops in Grimsby, Lincolnshire with the Multi-Operator Self Exclusion Scheme (MOSES). Despite his so-called ban, he was still able to continue using said shops. When not even physical brick-and-mortar betting shops are able to prevent their customers from gambling, how can online casinos ever even dream of pulling it off?