GAMSTOP Failing to Protect Players According to UKGC Boss

The GAMSTOP self-exclusion system may not be fit for purpose according to UK Gambling Commission’s Executive Director Tim Miller.

UKGC Tim Miller.

UKGC Executive Director Tim Miller has called on the RGA to improve its one-stop self-exclusion service GAMSTOP. (Image: gamstop.co.uk)

As per a letter obtained by The Guardian, Miller has told the Remote Gaming Association (RGA) that he’s seen some “unacceptable faults” in the way players are protected by the service.

The main issue with GAMSTOP as it stands is the lack of synchronisation between gaming and marketing.

Simple Service Not Meeting Expectations

When a player decides to use the one-stop self-exclusion software, the system blocks them from playing games at every site registered with GAMSTOP. However, what it doesn’t do is prevent marketing material from being sent to players that choose to exclude themselves.

When the RGA launched GAMSTOP in June 2017, the plan was to offer a simple service for vulnerable players. By inputting their details into the official website, players can be locked out of all sites that are linked to the GAMSTOP network.

“With the branding now established and process design well advanced, the focus in the coming months will be on technology integration and industry communication. We are therefore confident that we will deliver self-exclusion on the truly national scale,” RGA director of social responsibility Fiona Palmer said in a 2017 press release.

Improvements Across the Board

Almost 12 months on, the software is falling short of the expected standards. As well as marketing material getting through, tests have shown the self-excluded players can still register with a betting site by simply changing their surname.

In response to the issues raised, an RGA spokesperson said that the software was still being tweaked. However, Miller wants the trade association and operators to do more when it comes to self-exclusion.

In August 2017, 888 Gaming was hit with a £7.8 million fine for failing vulnerable players. Thanks to a technical glitch, 7,000+ self-excluded customers were able to access 888bingo despite being blocked from playing poker, casino games and betting on sports.

This type of issue was the reason GAMSTOP was created, but it seems the system needs to improve to ensure operators don’t fall short when it comes to the UKGC’s social responsibility standards.

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