Gambling regulators in the United Kingdom are now required to participate in the GamSTOP self-exclusion scheme as part of a condition of their license from the UK Gambling Commission.
The UK gambling regulator announced today (January 14th) that all operators in the United Kingdom must participate in the gambling charity’s scheme by the end of March or they risk losing their license. The decision was made as part of a move to protect consumers and strengthen its commitment to responsible gambling.
Neil McArthur, the Chief Executive for the UK Gambling Commission, has said: “By the 31st March, all online operators will be required to participate int he multi-operator self-exclusion scheme. Although the vast majority of operators are already participating in GamSTOP this will make the coverage comprehensive.
“We welcome the fact that GamSTOP have got to this stage in their development and encourage them to continue to improve their offer, particularly in relation to preventing those who have self-excluded being targeted by direct marketing.”
He continued: “Operators must do everything they can to minimise the risk of gambling-related harm. That is why we expect the industry to create safe products, know their customers, understand what they can afford to gamble with and identify when they are experiencing harm and step in.
“It is also vital that people experiencing gambling harm are able to access the support or treatment they need. This forms part of our ongoing work with our partners to implement the National Strategy for Reducing Gambling Harms.”
Helen Whately, the Minister for Gambling, added: “We have been clear to all businesses that have connections to gambling, such as operators, social media platforms and banks, that they must be socially responsible and use the power of technology and data to help consumers manage their spending and protect them from harm.
“I have been encouraged by the majority of major high street banks introducing measures to allow customers to switch off spending on gambling through mobile apps. By making it a regulatory requirement for all online gambling websites licensed in Great Britain to sign up to GamSTOP. I am confident that people who have taken the significant step to opt-out of gambling will be well supported, alongside a wide range of other tools.”
The news comes on the same day the UK Gambling Commission announced a ban on gambling with credit cards. From April 14th, 2020, consumers will no longer be allowed to gamble both online and offline with credit cards. A report from The Guardian claims the ban may also include e-Wallet payments such as PayPal but this has not yet been confirmed.
Announcing the ban, McArthur said: “Credit card gambling can lead to significant financial harm. The ban that we have announced today should minimise the risks of harm to consumers from gambling with money they do not have. Research shows that 22% of online gamblers using credit cards are problem gamblers, with even more suffering some form of gambling harm.
“We also know that there are examples of consumers who have accumulated tens of thousands of pounds in debt through gambling because of credit card availability. There is also evidence that the fees charged by credit cards can exacerbate the situation because the consumer can try to chase losses to a greater extent.”