In the UK, online gambling has been legal since 2005, with the introduction of the Gambling Act. The Gambling Commission is the regulative body, which issues licenses to websites and controls their activities. The industry is being regulated in a consistent and transparent way.
The Gambling Commission holds another responsibility: it must provide resources that help gamblers prevent and treat addiction. The self-exclusion scheme is a tool that enables players to prevent addictive behaviour for at least six months. This facility helps them to stay true to that decision. Once a gambler enters the self-exclusion scheme, they won’t be able to access any licensed casinos, bingo premises, bookmakers, and arcades. All these companies must be a part of the self-exclusion system in order to get and keep their licenses.
Thanks to the effectiveness of this system, players don’t have to make requests and sign contracts for self-exclusion from all premises and websites they’ve been using. They only become part of a multi-operator self-exclusion scheme, which is available through the official GambleAware website.
What Is GAMSTOP?
GAMSTOP is a specialized self-exclusion scheme for online gambling. Online gamblers are NOT required to sign up for the service. However, they are recommended to do so if they want to prevent or stop addictive behaviour. Those who decide to become part of the programme do not pay any fees for it.
The regulatory authority imposed the need for such service as a way to put gamblers in control of their habits. When they want to restrict their online gambling activities, they usually rely on self-imposed tactics:
- They promise themselves that they will not make weekly deposits higher than a particular amount;
- They get a friend or family member to help them stay away from gambling websites;
- Some gamblers use browser extensions to block online casinos, so they can’t access the sites from their main devices.
But self-commitment is hard when we’re talking about gambling addiction. GAMSTOP was developed as a secure tool to support a gambler’s decision to quit for a specific period of time.
The Gambling Commission announced at the beginning of the year that from March 2020, all online gambling companies licensed in the UK must become part of the GAMSTOP scheme. This was done with the purpose to force websites to respect a gambler’s decision to stay away from casinos and bookmakers. Over 200 online operators accessed the programme at that point.
Why Do Gamblers Search for Ways around GAMSTOP?
The issue of bypassing GAMSTOP has become quite popular lately. Many gamblers who decided to restrict their habits search for ways to restore their activity. Why is that the case, when they were the ones to make the decision to stop?
The problem with this service is that it’s very restrictive. It enables gamblers to be excluded from all UK online casinos for six months, one year, or five years. There’s no option for them to get an exclusion for a shorter period of time. For many of them, gambling has been a daily activity. It’s impossible for them to stop it all at once. This restrictive system puts them in an undesirable position: they have an incredible urge to gamble, but they cannot use their favorite services. Many choose to visit land-based casinos in that case, and end up losing more money than expected.
Once the gambler becomes part of the programme, there is no way for them to cancel GAMSTOP or shorten the self-exclusion period.
A progressive system would be much more effective for many gamblers. That’s why they wonder how to bypass GAMSTOP; so they can make the transition milder.
Are There Any Ways to Bypass GAMSTOP?
For those wondering how to cancel GAMSTOP, let’s answer the question right away: there is no way to do that. The system is quite restrictive, and it will prevent you from accessing any gambling site with a UK license.
Now let’s alter the question a bit: is there a way around GAMSTOP? Yes; there is. There’s a trick that the Gambling Act of 2005 itself allows.
According to the Act, operators that hold licenses from whitelisted jurisdictions can offer their services to UK gamblers. William Hill and several other major websites take advantage of this regulation, so they can pay lower taxes to the country where they are licensed. These are the whitelisted jurisdictions: Gibraltar, Antigua and Barbuda, Alderney, EEA Countries, Tasmania, and Isle of Man.
The UK Gambling Commission does not have any authority over these websites with off-shore licenses. This means that it cannot demand them to become part of the self-exclusion programme. Those gamblers who excluded themselves from British online casinos and wonder how to stop GAMSTOP can simply join sites that will accept them as users.
That’s the only valid solution for those who want to go through a transitional period without breaking the pattern with drastic measures.
There are a few other suggested tricks on how to get around GAMSTOP, but they are flawed:
- Some gamblers try to create accounts with altered information. They change the email and use another name. This doesn’t work. Each licensed website must put its users through an identity verification protocol. They will be asked to provide an ID and use real personal details.
- Many try to gamble from a friend’s profile. This may work, but casinos have strict policies against profile sharing. If these players get caught, their accounts will be banned and their funds will not be available for withdrawals.
- Land-based casinos are another option to bypass the restrictions. They are part of a different self-exclusion programme, which the gambler might have avoided. However, they impose a much greater risk of addictive gambling behaviour.
Websites with offshore licenses remain the only way for players to make the GAMSTOP programme less restrictive.Follow us on