United Kingdom, 24th April 2023: The UK's independent online self-exclusion scheme, GAMSTOP, recorded 8,504 registrations in March, its highest ever figure in a single month, and a 24% year-on-year increase.
The unprecedented spike in self-exclusions comes on the eve of the fifth anniversary of GAMSTOP’s inception. The service was launched in April 2018 and in March 2020 it became a licensing condition for all UK operators to integrate with the scheme, in addition to operating their own self-exclusion schemes.
More than 365,000 people have registered with GAMSTOP from its inception to the end of March 2023, choosing to exclude themselves from all UK operators for a period of either six months, a year or five years, with nearly 330,000 still excluded.
The most likely explanation for the surge in self-exclusions was the Cheltenham Festival, which took place from March 12-15th, attracting hundreds of millions of pounds in wagers. The biggest days for registrations were in the immediate aftermath of the festival.
GAMSTOP recently commissioned independent research agency, Sonnet, to interview a sample of its users, following up a comprehensive evaluation of the service in 2021, which showed that 84% felt safer from gambling-related harm and more in control of their gambling after registering.
The interviewees said that GAMSTOP provided an important safety net and knowing an exclusion was in place helped their recovery because it made them feel safe. Many wanted to have the option of a lifetime exclusion and felt it would help to signal the seriousness of gambling addiction, similar to alcohol or drugs, and to remove social stigma.
Fiona Palmer, CEO of GAMSTOP, said:
“Our most recent data shows that, five years after our inception, GAMSTOP is providing an increasingly important service to potentially vulnerable consumers who want to take a break from gambling. The record monthly registrations shows that we cannot underestimate the demand for a scheme such as GAMSTOP. It is extremely important that we continue to raise awareness to make sure that anyone who needs us knows about us. We also need to continue to listen to our users and develop and improve the scheme to meet their needs.
GAMSTOP registrant Jack Scott spoke about the impact GAMSTOP has had on his life:
“I signed up to GAMSTOP in December 2020 and its impact has been nothing short of life-changing. Prior to signing up for GAMSTOP, I suffered from a lengthy addiction to online gambling that saw me gamble away a terrifying amount of money, often money which I didn’t have.
Since then, I’ve been able to take comfort in the fact that I am unable to access or gamble on those online sites and have been able to commit myself to my real passion of ultrarunning, something I simply wouldn’t have been able to do without GAMSTOP.
I encourage anyone who thinks that they might be suffering from a gambling-related issue to research GAMSTOP or to take advantage of the TalkBanStop partnership, which combines self-exclusion with device blocking software, bank blocks and getting the support you might need through Gamcare”.