How Poker Players in the UK Can Protect Themselves from Problem Gambling Issues

By Marcus Harmon
August 22, 2019

It should surprise no one that online poker players are just as prone to becoming problem gamblers as slot players. The reality is doing anything repetitively for an extended period of time lends itself to creating addiction issues. If someone is a diehard online poker player, they certainly understand the concept doing something repetitively for an extended period of time. That doesn’t immediately qualify them as problem gamblers, but it’s where most problems start.

For the protection of poker players who have crossed or are on the verge of crossing the line of responsible gambling, there needs to be some level of protection they can get from gambling sites. In fact, there is a program called Gamstop, which was introduced to the UK online gambling community in May of 2018. The program was introduced by the United Kingdom’s Remote Gambling Association behind support from the UK Gambling Commission. The brief discussion below will address the pros and cons with Gamstop according to newcasinos-online.

A Little about the Gamstop Program

The Gamstop self-exclusion registry is available for people who are either dealing with a problem gambling issue or who want to stop the evolution of a possible problem gambling. The Gamstop registration website operates independently from another gambling-related organization or website.

Interested individuals can browse the home landing page where details about the program are available. During the browsing process, the individual will get an invitation to register for self-exclusion. After completing the process with personal information, the individual’s profile will hit the database where it will remain for the duration of the individual’s self-anointed exclusion period. While in the database, the individual will be subject to exclusion from any and all member online gambling operators.

The Pros of Gamstop Participation for the Gambler

Since it began accepting registrations, the number of UK Gamstop member online gambling websites has grown to several hundred. That good news for poker players who can usually find access to online poker games 24/7 through a variety of different options. These options include dedicated poker sites and poker rooms offered through online casino sites. As long as an online gambling site has registered as a member site, poker players can count on being excluded per their own guidelines. The system works.

The other pro or benefit is the Gamstop self-exclusion plan is flexible enough to meet the needs of a wide range of gamblers. If a gambler just needs a break, they can set a one-month self-exclusion period for themselves. They also have the option of permanent exclusion.

The Cons of Gamstop Participation for the Gambler

The biggest issue people have with Gamstop is it’s still a relatively new registry and hasn’t yet reached a wide enough population of online gambling operators. While many popular online poker rooms in the UK are members of the Gamstop program, there are still plenty that haven’t yet joined. If a poker player can’t get past their compulsion to gamble, there are still too many available options. The best chance Gamstop has to rectify this problem is working through the UK Gambling Commission to compel all online gambling operators to join the program.

Another weakness in the program is the inability of loved ones to participate in the process. While it might be a “self-exclusion” program, there are ways family participation could make the overall program more effective.



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Marcus Harmon poker author
Written By.

Marcus Harmon

Marcus Harmon is a poker writer and editor of Sunshine Poker Rooms, a poker news and information source. With a decade of experience in the online gaming industry, Marcus has been lucky enough to have met and indeed been beaten by some of the great players. His other passions are soccer and travel.


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