The major gambling regulatory body in the UK – the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) – has questioned the effectiveness of the national online self-exclusion scheme called GAMSTOP.
After a number of articles regarding the results of the UK Government to reduce maximum stake of fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) have been released in the local media over the last few weeks, some questions regarding the effectiveness of the scheme emerged in the UKGC and the local Remote Gaming Association (RGA).
As The Guardian reported a few days ago, the Gambling Commission’s Executive Director Tim Miller sent a letter to the RGA to express his concerns with some “unacceptable” faults in the work of GAMSTOP. Mr. Miller scolded the lack of synchronisation between iGaming operators’ marketing and promotional lists. According to him, players who have self-excluded themselves from online gambling operations would still be reached by various promotional and marketing materials due to the so-called lack of synchronisation.
The Executive Director of the UKGC also explained that the UK gambling regulator is to demand from iGaming operators to stop sending promotional materials to players who have already taken advantage of the existing self-exclusion options or have signed up for GAMSTOP. The Commission warned that it would strip online gambling operators off their license in case they continue to do so.
GAMSTOP Alleged in Featuring a Number of Flaws
The national online self-exclusion scheme was first supposed to be launched by the end of 2017. However, it has been delayed and as Casino Guardian reported at the time, it was put off until the spring of 2018.
Now, some flaws in the GAMSTOP technology have been found. The main goal of the new online self-exclusion scheme is to help problem gamblers lock themselves out of gambling websites by signing up with GAMSTOP. The system works by collecting personal details from such players and sharing the data gathered with online gambling websites to make customers much more easier to exclude themselves from gambling operation online.
However, certain tests showed some flaws in the online self-exclusion system, as it proved easy for customers to make registrations with a number of gambling websites by only changing the account’s surname, with the rest of the details, including e-mail, phone number and home address remaining the same. This basically means that customers are still able to register in online gambling websites despite being part of the GAMSTOP scheme.
As mentioned above, the fact that the system failed to synchronise its list of registered users with the promotional and marketing mailing lists of online gambling operators. As a result, problem gamblers could still receive various adverts encouraging them to place a bet on a certain gambling website. This undoubtedly raised some concerns, especially considering the fact that the online self-exclusion scheme is funded by web-based gambling operators.
A GAMSTOP spokesman responded to the accusations, saying that some parts of the system were still being tuned. The self-exclusion scheme’s representative also explained that the alleged flaws would be reviewed to see whether customers’ details are actually being linked to online gambling operators’ promotional lists and jeopardise personal data.