GamStop Explained: Is It Exclusive to Online Gambling?

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For individuals seeking to curb their gambling habits, GamStop has emerged as a go-to resource. However, confusion often arises about whether its services are confined to the digital world or if they extend to the realm of brick-and-mortar establishments as well. This article aims to demystify GamStop's reach and address the question: Is GamStop just for online gambling?

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Last updated: 20 February 2024

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A Digital Lifeline for Online Gamblers

GamStop is the United Kingdom's self-exclusion scheme for individuals who want to pause or stop their online gambling activities. It offers a centralized service to self-exclude from all online gambling sites that are licensed by the UK Gambling Commission.

The Digital Domain of GamStop

Online Gambling Focus: GamStop's self-exclusion service is designed to work with online gambling sites and apps. It effectively prevents users from accessing these platforms during their self-exclusion period.

User-Centric Control: Individuals can select a self-exclusion period according to their needs, which can range from six months to several years.

The Offline Gambling Question: Does GamStop Cover It?

Online Exclusivity: GamStop is an online-centric service. It does not cover offline, land-based gambling establishments such as casinos, race tracks, or betting shops.

Offline Betting: Outside GamStop's Jurisdiction

In-Person Betting Exclusion: For those wishing to self-exclude from physical gambling venues, GamStop's online system does not provide a solution.

Dedicated Offline Schemes: The UK provides alternative self-exclusion systems for various types of offline gambling, like the SENSE system for casinos.

Bridging the Gap: Complementing for Comprehensive Self-Exclusion

To achieve a full spectrum of self-exclusion, individuals must take a proactive approach by engaging with both online and offline schemes.

  • SENSE for Casino Self-Exclusion: This program allows gamblers to self-exclude from all UK casinos, effectively supporting GamStop's online service.
  • MOSES for High Street Betting: The Multi-Operator Self Exclusion Scheme is a service for self-excluding from high street bookmakers.
  • Bingo Halls and Other Venues: Many have their own self-exclusion arrangements that need to be initiated directly with the venue.

Proactive Measures

Direct Communication: Visit your local betting shops, casinos, and bingo halls to inquire about and sign up for their self-exclusion programs.

Support Systems: Augment self-exclusion efforts by tapping into support groups and professional counseling.

Conclusion: Navigating the Waters of Online and Offline Gambling Self-Exclusion

While GamStop serves as a robust barrier against online gambling, it is not a catch-all solution for all gambling types. Understanding that services are restricted to the online sphere is crucial for those looking to comprehensively manage their gambling activities. For a full-circle approach to self-exclusion, individuals must actively engage with both online services like GamStop and the ancillary programs available for land-based gambling venues.

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