The GamStop Self-exclusion brand has quickly become highly recognized within the UK online gambling community. When UK gamblers see the brand, they are very much aware of what the scheme offers. It offers gamblers a way to protect themselves from the effects of gambling addiction. That’s how UK gamblers view GamStop.
At the UK online gambling operator level, the GamStop program is far more complicated. The operators are very much aware of how the program works on the front end. At the same time, operator employees are also required to have some level of working knowledge about how the backend of the program works.
In the following sections, the discussion is going to focus on the communication protocols that drive the GamStop Self-exclusion program. While UK gamblers might not really care about this information, it should prove to be valuable to programmers who might be interested in using a similar process at some point in the future.
Brief Tutorial on How the GamStop Frontend Works
Before discussing how the GamStop program works on the backend, a basic understanding of how the program works on the front end seems necessary for context.
The GamStop Self-exclusion scheme is initiated by the gamblers themselves on a voluntary basis. The link to the GamStop registration/application page can usually be found on a gambling website’s “responsible gambling” section. The links are only available on sites that are licensed and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission. Why? It’s only these sites that are required to subscribe to the GamStop scheme.
When registering with GamStop, UK online gamblers are required to offer up personal information like age, DOB, address, email addresses, and phone numbers. They are also required to dictate the length of their self-exclusion period with the choices being 6 months, 1 year, and 5 years.
After the registration/application has been submitted and approved by GamStop, all information goes into the GamStop database. It’s at this point that registered GamStop gamblers will no longer be permitted to access their existing UK online gambling accounts. They will also be blocked from opening new accounts if they use the same personal information.
Incidentally, there are licensed non-GamStop UK gambling sites that work directly with active self-excluded UK players. A list of the best of these casino sites not on GamStop can be found on the NonGamStopOdds website.
How the GamStop Backend Works
Without getting too technical, now is the right time to offer a brief tutorial on how the GamStop backend works. This information is intended for operator employees, programmers, and curious UK online gamblers.
Application Programming Interface or API provides the basis for the internal workings of the GamStop program. API is loosely defined as the functions and procedures that allow applications and operating systems to interact with other outside applications and operating systems.
In the case of the GamStop program, the applications and operating systems that need to communicate are the registration/account access platforms provided by gambling operators and the GamStop platform, which uses the Python programming language. The library for integration is on GitHub, but is not yet freely accessible. There is a lot of debate as to whether it should be made available, but at the moment it is still under consideration by the Gambling Commission.
The workflow moves by function as follows:
Registration Process: A UK gambler decides to register with the GamStop Self-exclusion program. They complete the registration process and submit the application.
The information is loaded into the GamStop program. The program first confirms whether or not the gambler’s information would create a duplicate record. If so, the gambler is already in the database and their status only needs to be switched to the “active” position. If not, the new information is uploaded into the GamStop database.
Gambling Account Access Process – Existing gambling accounts: When a gambler tries to access their online gambling account with a GamStop subscribed operator, the operator’s platform will request verification from the GamStop database as to whether or not the gambler should be granted access to their account. If the GamStop database does not have a record of the gambler based on the gambler’s account information, the GamStop database will notify the operator’s platform that the gambler is good to go. If the gambler’s information matches GamStop’s database information and the gambler is on “active” status, GamStop notifies the operator’s platform that the gambler needs to be blocked.
Gambling Account Access Process – New gambling accounts: If a gambler is attempting to set up a new gambling account, the process is very much the same. Should any part of the gambler’s new account registration information match records in the GamStop database, the GamStop platform will notify the operator’s platform that the new account registration needs to be blocked.
It’s worth noting that these very same procedures can be used to block a gambler’s attempts to fund their gambling accounts. All of these processes are intended to do one very important thing. That is to help UK online gamblers protect themselves if they sense that their online gambling activities are threatening their overall well-being.