The easiest way to explain in layperson’s terms just how the GamStop Self-exclusion scheme works is to explain the program’s workflow. On the surface, the whole process might seem a bit complicated. However, the following workflow description should bring to light that the program is anything but complicated.
Brief Description of the GamStop Self-exclusion program
In response to growing concerns about the proliferation of problem gambling issues in the UK, the UK government, through the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), created the GamStop Self-exclusion scheme. The rollout of this program took place in mid-2018.
Originally, licensed UK online gambling operators were strongly advised to subscribe to the program voluntarily. That strong suggestion without threat lasted until 2020 when the UKGC upped the ante and made operator membership mandatory.
It’s noteworthy that GamStop membership is limited to licensed UK online gambling operators. That places limitations on the effectiveness of the program because British casino sites that accept GamStop players provide GamStop registered gamblers with a way to beat the program.
Explanation of the GamStop Workflow
The entire GamStop Self-exclusion concept counts on the participation of as many licensed UK online gambling operators as possible. Hence, the recent mandate was handed down by the UKGC.
To help simplify the workflow explanation, we are going to divide it up into three components: Operator processes, gambler processes, and software functions.
By UKGC dictate, all licensed UK online gambling operators must subscribe to the GamStop program. To do that, they will need to submit a registration form along with a subscription payment.
After membership is granted, operators are given immediate electronic access to the GamStop database. In that database sits the personal details of every UK gambler who has an ongoing active GamStop self-exclusion in place.
If any GamStop registered gambler attempts to access an existing online gambling account or open a new one using their proper personal information, it’s the applicable operator who has to act. Their actions should include identifying GamStop gamblers and subsequently blocking their access.
For gamblers, the GamStop process begins when they realize they might have a gambling problem. If they are accessing licensed UK online gambling sites, they can usually find a GamStop registration link in the operator’s “responsible gambling” section. If no such link is available, UK gamblers can go directly to the GamStop website.
After reaching the registration process, there is a registration form they must complete and submit. The form seeks information about the gambler’s
- Legal name
- Home address
- known email addresses
- Land-line and cellphone numbers
- Taxpayer numbers when applicable
All of this information will be used to identify GamStop members.
At the end of the registration process, gamblers are given a chance to dictate the length of their self-exclusion period. The choices are 6 months, 1 year, and 5 years. Whatever a gambler chooses, that is exactly how long they will be blocked from accessing gambling accounts with UKGC-licensed operators.
When the self-exclusion period ends, registered gamblers are free to request the reinstatement of prior accounts or open new accounts.
Once operators and gamblers have completed their GamStop responsibilities, the software takes over. To describe what happens, we will use an example.
Gambler A electronically registers with a new UK online operator. As gambler A’s registration info hits the operator’s registration platform, the registration information is sent digitally from the operator’s software platform directly into GamStop’s massive database of active registered gamblers.
GamStop uses the information it receives to cross-reference the new information with any information that a gambler might have provided during prior GamStop registrations. If even one piece of the information from the query matches, the sending operator is notified electronically that the gambler whose information was sent and received is GamStop blocked. At that point, the operator’s software program has likely been programmed to deny the access request.
If a response is not forthcoming from the GamStop database, that’s an indication that the gambler in question is good to go.
How to Electronically Get Around the GamStop Database
If a GamStop gambler decides they want to resume their online gambling activities before their self-exclusion expires, they won’t be able to do that with a licensed UK online gambling operator unless they find a way to beat the system.
The easiest way to do that while still using a UK licensed operator is to open a gambling account under another identity. Registering with false information is illegal. Therefore, the only legal option would involve partnering with a trusted friend and relative. By opening an account under the partner’s personal information, the system has no way of knowing who is actually using the gambling account in question.
All of this is perfectly legal as long as the partner consents to the process. As long as the GamStop gambler has the right login and password, all is legit and ready to go. However, caution is warranted. At no time can the GamStop gambler disclose their personal information when using the partner account. If they were to slip up and do that, that new account would be flagged and both partners would be blocked.
Hopefully, the above information helps you understand exactly how the GamStop program works. This information can be useful to UK online gamblers who mistakenly join the GamStop database and then decide they need to find a way to get around the program.