Over the past two years, the UK Gambling Commission has been one of the most active in making change to the online gambling space in an effort to protect problem players. These changes have included bans to credit card payments, adjustments to popular games such as slots, and the introduction of different protection methods too. In terms of gambling protection, however, which methods currently exist for UK players and how effective are these solutions?
Gamstop is the most known of the big methods available in the UK as it has gained a lot of attention since its inception. It is a self-inclusion scheme for players where they’re able to choose the duration of abstinence from online gambling services, and as such is one of the more robust forms of gambling protection. This method also prevents any form of gambling advertising from reaching players who have self-excluded themselves, as another form of protection too. Once registered to Gamstop, players can remove the self-exclusion at any time, but have to go through a number of sometimes difficult steps in order to do so. It was recently made mandatory for all UK operators to register to Gamstop to offer this protection too, so it’s the widest reaching option for gambling protection too.
Other methods include Gamban as a form of gambling protection for players in the UK too as it is offered for free – it is available for players outside of the UK too but does come with a subscription cost although at a low price. This is an application that simply blocks gambling websites and gambling apps for a period of time that can be defined by the user and functions similar to other productivity apps that block certain websites and services. Unlike Gamstop, however, Gamban doesn’t prevent marketing materials from reaching players who are blocking gaming services which is one of its drawbacks.
Finally, is Gamcare, and this is the most passive of the options available. Gamcare serves more as a support option rather than something that will intervene with gambling primarily for problem players. It’s a platform that provides forums and live chat options to help players who feel they may be struggling and provides information on other platforms like Gamstop and Gamban too. This may be the first stop for those looking to scale back their online gambling activity in the least intrusive way, before resorting to more substantial measures later on.
As the UKGC continues to explore further ways to protect players, these tools are just a few of the many methods available to help out players, and changed are regularly being made to make them more robust too.