GamStop puts you in control by helping you restrict your online gambling activities. The optional service allows players to limit their access to gambling sites licensed in the UK, for a time of the player’s choosing. GamStop is a free service for gamblers in Great Britain and Northern Ireland only. A non-profit organisation operates GamStop, and the full name is The National Online Self-Exclusion Scheme Ltd.

To sign up to GamStop, players will need to submit details confirming their identity. They include your date of birth, email address and postcode. You cannot sign another person up to GamStop; each player has to make that decision themselves. Nevertheless, nothing stops you from suggesting it and guiding someone who needs help. Once a player signs up to GamStop, they receive a summary of the details of your gambling exclusion. It takes just 24 hours for the self-exclusion to take effect, and subsequently, you are excluded from all gambling either licensed operators in the UK.

You can choose anything from 6 months up to 5 years, and as soon as the minimum period elapses, your self-exclusion remains in place until you return to GamStop to manually remove it. Once you sign up, you should update your details with changes in address, email, phone, or if you change your last name. It is ultimately your responsibility to keep your details up to date with online casinos. The website support page is full of valuable tips and worth checking out.

It should be pointed out that a request for self-exclude on GamStop does not automatically exclude you from receiving any gambling marketing material or exclude you from social media offers or emails. You can unsubscribe from such emails, and stop following gaming websites on social media like Facebook and Twitter. That way, you limit the amount of such marketing material. Furthermore, you need to ensure you do not have any withdrawable funds on account with any online casinos as you will not be able to access them once the self-exclusion is in place. 

Why GamStop Exists

The UK Gambling Commission has introduced GamStop with new, stricter regulations for licensed gambling operators in the UK to ensure a future of responsible gambling. The rules stipulate all UK operators must be registered with GamStop. The UK Gambling Commission is undoubtedly one of the world's more respected gaming regulatory bodies. The Commission has its finger on the pulse and runs comprehensive analyses and remains vigilant of the ever-changing iGaming industry landscape in the UK. As a result, UK licensed betting sites are obliged to sign up to GamStop. 

How Does GamStop Work?

GamStop is effectively a national, multi-operator and self-exclusion system. Gamblers who believe they have a problem can choose to exclude themselves from gambling at any online GamStop casinos. Rather than contacting every online casino individually to set up an exclusion period, GamStop allows you to register your details simply, and a verification process then takes place. Once you set that up, you are unable to play at an online GamStop casino you are registered at. Moreover, you will be unable to register at any new casino that is licensed by the UK Gambling Commission, or members of a remote gambling association.

The GamStop scheme runs concurrently with individual casinos’ self-exclusion programmes, so if you want to exclude yourself from a casino for any reason besides problem gambling, you can still exclude yourself from that particular site, and any sister sites owned by the casino operator. When you complete the self-exclusion process and successfully registered with GamStop, your details are stored on a national database set up at the end of 2018 where all licensed UK casino and sports betting operators are linked to GamStop and updated with all the latest information regarding all individuals signed up to the scheme and those expired. The records are held on the casino operators’ servers, so if any GamStop registered player tries to sign up and gamble, they won’t be able to until the self-exclusion period expires.

How can I stop GamStop, you may ask yourself? You have to wait for the self-exclusion period to elapse, then visit the GamStop site to unregister yourself. 

Flaws of GamStop 

Nothing is perfect, and GamStop does have a couple of flaws. One of them is the misleading advertising of unethical non-GamStop casinos using the statement, ‘Casino Sites not on GamStop’. This gives a false impression of GamStop and does more harm than good. The unlicensed site will accept players regardless of whether they are on GamStop. 

In 2018, the BBC revealed that by misspelling a name, when signing up at an online casino, the player could gain access and trick the site. How can this happen? When a player signs up with GamStop, all personal information, including the name, address, and email, are registered in the system. That produces error messages whenever the player attempts to sign up at a betting site, preventing them from creating an account. A typo error in one’s name along with another email address is enough to trick the system! 

Another downside is that a player may go to great lengths to play and might sign up at an unregulated or cowboy non-GamStop casino to bypass the system. There are also casinos based in other jurisdictions that allow players from anywhere to sign up. A gambler who decides to use GamStop will need to have the willpower to resist temptation wherever it may be. 

How GamStop Can Help you

If you feel you have a problem limiting your gambling activities, or worse still, you cannot stop, GamStop is there to help you. You mustn’t let what was once a source of fun to become detrimental your daily routine and affect your financial status, or personal relationships and behaviour. It has become all too easy to access a source of gambling either online or off. It can be a struggle to restrain yourself with the myriad collection of betting sites, online casinos and physical betting shops. 

GamStop can help with a solution to gain back control over a gambling problem. The GamStop system does the job of controlling your gambling budget and your playing time, so it will no longer be a problem. Gambling can be a problem at land and online casinos, and it can become a real addiction. There are services at land casinos that can help you exclude yourself.

Online games can be just as addictive as land-based, traditional slot machines or card games. GamStop extends that service to licensed online casinos and will help you with that first, vital step to recover from any gambling symptoms and regain complete control over your personal life and finances. GamStop is the best gambling self-exclusion service, so if you believe you may have a gambling problem, signing up to a GamStop might be your best bet!