Although video games are recreational activities that everyone can enjoy during their spare time, they can quickly become difficult to control addiction.
Much research indicates that the proportion of gamers at risk of video game addiction is 1.8% of the total population of the United Kingdom, which is equivalent to 1.2 million people. As a result, various national self-exclusion programs led by GamStop were established at the request of the Ministry of Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS).
The ministry’s reported that an increase in video game popularity in the UK led to a rise in addiction rates.
Self-exclusion schemes can help all gamblers exclude themselves from all forms of play for a period of time of their choosing.
Since the self-exclusion systems are integrated with all licensed operators, players will not resume playing during their self-exclusion period. Therefore, a customer who subscribes to a self-exclusion service such as GamStop can exclude himself from all gaming websites and apps for a period of his choosing.
Although video games may be a great recreational activity for many, they can be a waste of time and money for users. In the UK in particular, the average users spend on gambling activities is €135.20 per year and 20 hours per month.
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Are the Self-exclusion Services Free?
Yes, all self-exclusion services are available completely free of charge and are funded by iGaming operators. The UKGC take a levy of between 1% to 2% of the net profits of the gaming operators to support the responsible gaming services and charities.
GamStop Scheme & the “Theory of Change”
In 2020, GamStop worked on developing the theory of change, which is based on 3 main pillars, namely:
- Service promotion – it is important to promote the GamStop scheme widely and through multiple channels, especially the integrated operators, to reach the targeted segmentation.
- Treating Customers’ Concerns – It is vital to reassure players that their data is completely secure and will not be shared with any third party, and they will be safe when using this service.
- Contact centre – Sometimes, users may have inquiries about how the service works or the periods of self-exclusion available, so the service must provide support through various means of communication and be always available.
It is clear that this plan has succeeded; In December 2020, the number of GamStop subscribers reached 170 thousand.
iGaming & the Lack of Productivity
Although the problem of video game addiction may be considered an individual problem, this is not true at all. From a social point of view, gaming addiction leads to a significant decrease in productivity.
In fact, more than 15% of people who suffer from gaming addiction play in their workplace daily. In addition, the psychological consequences of iGaming addiction lead to increased anxiety and stress, poor mental health, disturbed sleep habits, and drain the financial stability.
Therefore, the Ministry of Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) established GamStop in 2016, and it was officially approved in 2020. At present, all licensed gaming sites are required to integrate with it and refuse any player who wants to resume playing during the length of his self-exclusion.
Registration With GamStop
All users can access the GamStop service easily and exclude themselves from the gambling sites with a straightforward process, entirely voluntarily and without interference from any third party.
The first step is to go to the GamStop website, click on the green registration button and enter this required data:
- Date of birth
- Residential address
However, excluded players can access sites not on GamStop during the self-exclusion period.
How Are Excluded Players Blocked From Licensed Sites?
When the excluded player tries to resume playing at licensed operators, the iGaming site will match his data with the GamStop database. If it matches, the site will reject the player’s login.
Furthermore, self-exclusion systems use third parties apps, such as Trans Union, that apply additional steps to verify users. In addition, they make sure that none of the users enters the casino with another user’s account.
Also, all banks will receive a notification of refusal of any financial transactions that the user may make on the iGaming sites for the duration of the self-exclusion period.
An Additional feature of GamStop
Gaming sites don’t have to go an extra effort to filter out the excluded players, as GamStop will give them all the necessary data they need. Therefore, the task of the gaming site is to match the player’s data when he logs in/ sign up with the GamStop database only, and if his details match, the site has to exclude him.
Disadvantages of self-exclusion programs
The main drawback of the British self-exclusion program, GamStop, is that it does not cover offshore gaming sites! This creates a serious loophole in the programme which can completely topple all the service functions.
To avoid this, the UKGC should make extra efforts in sharing information with other licensing commissions including the Malta Gaming Authority, Gibraltar Gaming Board, Curaçao Gaming Committee and other gaming regulators around the world.
According to the official statistics issued by GamStop, 80% of users of this system found it effective in treating the problem of video game addiction. In addition, 84% of users felt safer while using this scheme.
However, it is very difficult for users to overcome the problem gambling with a single decision. Therefore, GamStop reported that at least 10% of all registered players resort to playing at outside gambling sites.
Hello, my friends! I’m Jason Farrell, a journalist from the United Kingdom. I graduated from the University of Sheffield and had my first experience with gaming at the age of 18 and I got a deep passion for this industry.
Every day I try to find out more about iGaming advances and how it developed to involve many segments of the public. I am happy to share my knowledge with you and I hope you liked my article!