Self-exclusion service Gamstop has urged gamblers to self-exclude themselves during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The organisation has urged players who stuck at home and worried about to do so in a bid to crackdown on excessive gambling and prevent any gambling-related harm from developing.
Gamstop’s plea comes shortly after the Gambling Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group suggested that the currently enforced lockdown could result in an increased amount of problem gamblers.
Reports have confirmed that over 130,000 people have registered with Gamstop since it first launched in 2018 and around 73% of those users have chosen to self-exclude themselves for five years.
Since the COVID-19 lockdown was initiated last month, Gamstop has reportedly experienced a spike in calls from registered users looking to lift their ban before their selected exclusion period has ended so they can gamble again.
Fiona Palmer, the Chief Executive of Gamstop said in a statement: “We are concerned that, at a time when so many people are being forced to stay at home during the coronavirus, vulnerable consumers who may have an issue with their gambling might be tempted to spend money they do not have on online gambling.
“We want to make them aware that Gamstop provides a free, simple and secure solution for anyone who wants to take a break from online gambling. People generally come to us when they realise that excluding themselves from all online gambling is the first step they need to take to provide the necessary breathing space to tackle their issues with gambling.”
She added: “Self-exclusion is just one tool in a suite of services; we work closely with charities such as GamCare, who offer specialist treatment, as well as with banks who provide financial blocking options to their customers and with providers of device blocking software. Our focus is to help people take that first step and register with Gamstop rather than putting it off whilst the country is in lockdown.”
Gamstop’s plea comes as the UK Gambling Commission announced a series of new measures which will affect how casino games are played in the UK and how gambling advertising is regulated across the nation.
What’s more, the measures will also include new restrictions on VIP schemes, requiring customers to be over the age of 25 to join a loyalty scheme and having needed to have passed affordability and verification checks.