With the United Kingdom on lockdown to address the spread of the novel coronavirus, GamStop CEO, Fiona Palmer, has appealed to at risk and susceptible to gambling people to self-exclude to prevent falling victim to their urges.
GamStop Urges People to Self-Exclude During Self-Isolation
GamStop, the United Kingdom’s self-exclusion gambling scheme, has urged players in self-isolation to consider excluding themselves from all gambling activities while the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown lasts. The request comes at the behest of CEO Fiona Palmer who has asked vulnerable players to consider a temporarily self-enrolment.
MPs have also raised the issue that social distancing and isolation might tip many recovering addicts back to a potentially ruining hobby. What GamStop fears is a surge in gambling-related harm, an official press release sent to GamblingNews and other media outlets noted.
Meanwhile, the Gambling Commission (UKGC) has made sure to issue new guidance to all licensed operators, urging them to act in compliance with the newly-minted measures and help protect the public and those vulnerable individuals at home.
As a free service, GamStop’s goal has been to offer better consumer protection and appealed to sportsbooks and casinos in the United Kingdom that operate online to help reduce the number of problem gamblers.
Gambling Addiction in the UK at a Time of a Lockdown
Yet, GamStop has figured out an ingenuine way to achieve its goals by creating a compliance network that has become a mandatory requirement to obtain a license from the UKGC. Presently, over 130,000 people have registered at GamStop, pointing to the success of the scheme, two years after its official release in April 2018.
An estimated 73% of all people who have enrolled have decided to self-exclude for a period of five years, which is presently the maximum period available. Commenting on these developments, Palmer made an official statement emphasizing on the vulnerability of some individuals:
We are concerned that, at a time when so many people are being forced to stay at home during the coronavirus, vulnerable consumers who may have an issue with their gambling might be tempted to spend money they do not have on online gambling.
She also spoke about the importance of making GamStop known to individuals who may be at risk or are showing problem and erratic gambling behavior. Palmer noted that early evidence suggested a spike in calls to GamStop and that COVID-19 self-isolation is putting people in danger of reverting to a past state.
According to the organization’s data, around 42% of all users are aged between 25-34%, the age group which, according to the UKGC, is the most likely to be classified as problem gamblers.
Follow Established Best Practices
Chris Murphy, now 33, is a recovering gambling addict who has lost over £100,000 since he started gambling at 17. He argued that the ability to remove temptation through the blanket ban that GamStop offers is an important step towards solving the problem.
Murphy noted that anyone who missed gambling ought to use the time in self-isolation to reflect on their relationship with gambling or speak with a qualified specialist.
GamStop, of course, remains the safest way to begin to address the problem as it removes the risk factors for many people as soon as they roll in.