In recent years, online gambling in the UK has exploded in terms of volume and participation. This movement has been brought on by new technologies that make access to online gambling sites easier.
As anyone might expect, more people gambling online have led to more people with gambling problems. To be clear, the percentage of problem gamblers has not changed just the sheer number due to more participation.
For anyone who might encounter problem gambling issues, the news is not all bad. Why? Because of efforts by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), problem UK online gamblers do have resources they can use to combat their issues.
The GamStop Self-exclusion Program
Knowing the future of online gambling was going to be big, the UKGC proactively helped create the GamStop Self-exclusion program. The program was specifically designed to serve as a resource for problem gamblers to seek help for their gambling problems from their favorite online casinos and sportsbooks.
The program matters so much that the UKGC now mandates that all licensed UK online gambling operators have to subscribe to the program for a fee. After subscribing, they have to make sure the GamStop link is easily accessible to customers.
To get the GamStop self-exclusion protection, UK online gamblers need to go through the free registration process. By the way, the process is strictly voluntary. After registration has been completed, all licensed UK online gambling providers are expected to ban the registered gambler from accessing current accounts or opening new accounts.
The program works as intended. However, it only prevents gamblers from accessing licensed UK sites. If a gambler registers with GamStop but decides they want to resume their online gambling activities before their self-determined self-exclusion period ends, there is nothing that will stop them from finding other alternatives. They are still free to use other online casinos that are not on GamStop.
The Gambling Blocking Software Option
If a problem gambler wants to stay away from all gambling sites, GamStop won’t help. However, there are gambling blocking software platforms that will do the trick with limitations.
In the online gambling space, Gamban stands as one of the most prominent and popular gambling blocking software solutions. It’s popular enough to gain the recommendation of the UKGC and responsible online gambling operators.
To be clear, there are two primary types of gambling blocking software. The first one is a platform that is controlled by gamblers themselves. They are the ones who purchase access to the software, download it, and initiate it.
The second type is controlled by third parties like family members and close friends. While all of these programs work in the same way, the third-party options tend to offer ways around permanent blocking. They come with options that allow third parties to temporarily block online gambling access until they say otherwise.
How Gambling Blocking Software Programs Works
Once a gambling blocking program like Gamban has been initiated, the gambler will not be able to access any website that has any connection to the world of gambling. The software has been preprogrammed to look for keywords that would indicate that a particular site is a gambling website.
As was alluded to above, some gambling blocking software platforms have options that allow for more control over things like how long a gambler’s access should be blocked. In the case of a program like Gamban, the blocking is permanent. The program cannot be manipulated or removed from the computer. Therein lies a problem associated with many of these gambling blocking software programs.
For the most part, the programs are device-specific. It has nothing to do with the user. The user is only blocked from their online gambling activities when they try to use the device with the gambling blocking software on it.
Clearly, that doesn’t offer much protection for a problem gambler who is motivated to start gambling again. All they would need to do is find another device from which they can gamble.
A Better Solution
Perhaps, a better solution for problem UK gamblers would be using a combination of GamStop and a gambling blocking software platform. While GamStop would prevent them from using licensed UK gambling sites, the gambling blocking software could be useful at stopping the gambler from trying other alternatives.
Here is the bottom line to this issue. A problem gambler is only going to stop gambling when they really want help. Before then, they might try to find help in the form of resources like GamStop and Gamban but will always have access to other options. That will remain the case until they truly decide they have a gambling problem and want help.