The main reason gamblers are flocking to the internet for online gambling resources is simply a matter of convenience. With the appropriate funding method, adults can avail themselves of almost any kind of gambling right from the comfort of their homes. Enjoying a few hours of casino gambling no longer requires a trip to the local retail casino.
Another benefit of online gambling as a gambling option is the opportunity to choose from hundreds of online gambling sites. Better yet, almost all of these sites will be offering bonuses that are not common within the retail (land-based) gambling community.
Is UK Online Gambling Access Too Easy?
For the responsible adult who is able to understand that gambling is nothing more than an adult recreational activity, there is nothing wrong with them accessing online gambling sites, the more the merrier. Unfortunately, unfettered access to online gambling sites is a huge problem for anyone who might be vulnerable to gambling addiction.
If a gambler is running amuck in a retail casino, there are employees that will take note and eventually take action to ask if the person needs help. Sometimes, that simple question is enough to temporarily derail the “out of control” gambling train.
That level of protection is not available to problem online gamblers. They are basically at the mercy of their own consciousness. With easy access to hundreds of online gambling sites and no one to dissuade them, problems can escalate very quickly.
There is some good news on this front. If a UK problem gambler is able to recognize they have a problem and further able to summon the desire to address it, there are website blockers they can enlist to prevent themselves from having this unfettered access to UK online gambling sites. The two best blockers that come to mind are Gamban and GamStop. The only negative aspect of GamStop is that it’s easy to get around.
Of the two options mentioned above, Gamban might be the simplest option. Gamban is a software blocking solution. It’s a software program that people can download for a fee. Once the program has been downloaded and activated, it will immediately block access to any website that can be identified as a gambling site. The program works very well in that regard, plus the block is permanent. Gamban cannot be removed from a device.
Here is the issue with Gamban. The solution is very specific to a device. In other words, a problem gambler will only be blocked from gambling when they are using the Gamban device. Nothing would prevent them from simply buying or borrowing another device for their online gambling activities.
About GamStop Self-Exclusion Program
If a UK online problem gambler wants a more reliable solution, they might want to go with the GamStop Self-exclusion program. GamStop is a UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) supported program. To promote GamStop membership among UK online gambling operators, the UKGC simply makes membership a part of the licensing process. If an online operator doesn’t subscribe to the GamStop scheme and pay the subscription fee, they can be fined and or stripped of their operator’s license.
For UK online gamblers, this is how the GamStop program works. Each GamStop member gambling website is required to provide a link to the GamStop registration page. Gamblers can hit that link and register to be part of the GamStop database for free. After they register, they are effectively blocked or excluded from accessing any online gambling site that is licensed by the UKGC.
For how long? That’s up to the gambler during registration. They can choose self-exclusion for 6 months, 1 year, or 5 years. Until that time period expires, they will be denied access. Denied access includes existing gambling accounts or any attempts to open new accounts with the same personal information.
Much like Gamban, GamStop is not the perfect problem gambling solution. After all, it only pertains to online gambling sites that have complied with the UKGC’s licensing and GamStop membership mandates. It doesn’t stop any motivated gamblers from accessing other gambling alternatives.
Let’s say you registered with GamStop and subsequently decided you don’t really have a gambling problem. With this realization comes the desire to resume your online gambling activities. While GamStop websites won’t be an option, there are still options you can choose.
If you were to look at the non GamStop website Casino-Wise.com, you can still find online casinos without a British self-exclusion program. Most of these options would be with UK online casinos that have been able to avoid complying with the UKGC’s mandates. While that might sound a bit problematic, the reality is there are plenty of very good and reputable UK online gambling operators that just happen to be non-compliant.
If for any reason that option offers you no comfort, there are a few other options worthy of your consideration. Here are a few ideas:
- Taking your gambling activities to an operator in another licensed jurisdiction (VPN might be needed)
- Opening a new online gambling account under the name of a friend or family member (with permission)
- Focusing on retail gambling options (land-based casinos/sportsbooks) until your self-exclusion period ends
- Find an online operator that doesn’t verify account information
- Use cryptocurrency and enlist the services of a crypto-only gambling website
To close, both Gamban and GamStop are viable gambling website blockers. However, they won’t help problem gamblers stay away from other options. If you choose to try Gamban or Gamstop, you might also want to think about other ways to get help.