During the lockdown period, gamblers have escalated their betting game to a different level and this has resulted in the introduction of new measures to protect vulnerable bettors. This was also followed by a rise in the number of bettors who have opted for self-exclusion services.
Now, what does self-exclusion mean? Self-Exclusion is nothing but the method a bettor uses when they decide to stop gambling and want to block themselves from bookmakers and online casinos.
According to the study by National Health Service (NHS) Digital in 2018, England consists of around 280,000 gambling addicts. In 2020 a survey conducted by the National Gambling Treatment Service showed that only 9008 people received care and help till March 2020. This amounted to only 3% addicts. There are around 1.4 million problem gamblers across the UK in 2020 according to a survey by YouGov. And among the people who were undergoing treatment in 2020, 45% of them were in serious debts of more than $6800. But in 2021, gamers themselves opting for the Self-Exclusion service have increased largely.
According to figures seen by the CasinoGap, Gamstop, the self-exclusion facility run by the National Online Self Exclusion Scheme Limited (NOSES), has recorded a 21% increase in new exclusions during February. On 22nd February, the record for a single day was set in Gamstop with a whopping number of 326 new registrations. The number of bettors who have signed for the service is on the verge of reaching some 200,000.
In January this year, out of some 177,038 people, 49,328 who have registered themselves for the service, attempted to gamble but were stopped from doing so as a part of the GamStop’s Self-Exclusion scheme which restricts registered gamblers to use any of the gambling sites for a definite period. Recently almost 500,000 women have registered themselves for the Self-Exclusion service and the gender division is 71% male, 29% female. People who are most likely to use the service are aged between 18 and 34 as they account for 59% of all registrants.
Awareness Is Racing
Awareness around blocking software like Gamblock, Betblocker, and self-exclusion services such as Gamstop have been increasing throughout the last year. Gamstop said that the increase in the number of people opting for the scheme was followed by an increase in online betting capacities during November and December.
This is because the lockdown has led to more individuals entering into the gambling world and this has led to more vulnerable individuals opting to exclude themselves from the gambling sites. Matt Blanks who is a project manager at Peer Aid, a scheme that helps people to stay away from gambling, entered into the betting world at the tender age of 11. Having lost more than £700,000, he tried to end his life. He claims that succeeding in blocking himself from all the betting sites had been a lifesaver.
Over the years, apart from the self-exclusion services like Gamstop, Gamban, Betblocker, and online services like Gamcare and Gambleaware, many awareness campaigns have been raised.
Since the United Kingdom Gambling Commission revised its rules in March 2020, popular football clubs such as Middlesbrough Football Club and Luton Town Football Club have been proactively associated with Gamstop. To protect people from getting exploited from witnessing any form of gambling advertisements, the Betting and Gambling council (BGC) has set up new rules. The body has also written to the English Football League and English Premier League regarding this.
Professional Footballers Association (PFA) and other sports bodies have also taken measures to prevent bettors from running into bad debts. The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) had tied up with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), a part of ASA responsible for putting down the Advertising codes, for introducing and strengthening the rules for sports sponsorships and advertisements, especially from casinos and gambling bodies.
The National Football League (NFL) Players Association or NFLPA has partnered with EPIC Risk Management and GVC foundation in the US to promote responsible gambling and maintaining sports integrity. The league had fought against New Jersey’s legal challenge Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) stating that it expanded legal sports betting which could be harmful to the integrity of the games.
Gambling is addictive in nature and poses financial risks. Therefore, a lot of gamblers have opted for the Self-Exclusion service in the last few years with the help of the various self-exclusion services offered by Gamstop, Gambleaware, or the awareness campaigns.