Online casinos have proven to provide a convenient alternative to the land-based casino in just a matter of years, but certain safety and security issues still linger with this form of gambling. Despite numerous rules and regulations, many top performing online casinos still struggle with mandatory practices regarding a player’s well-being. Now, an industry watchdog is reshaping player safety and what online casino members can do to protect themselves in the event of a gambling problem.
The Remote Gambling Association (RGA) has recently unveiled a new plan for players to protect themselves from an excessive gambling problem with just a few simple steps. Known as GAMSTOP, this self-exclusion practice will require any online casino UK players use to lock down real money accounts if the player feels at risk for a gambling problem that is getting out of hand. GAMSTOP currently has a dedicated website, and the player can visit this site to enter their details for the pilot program. Self-exclusion from this program will block access to any online gambling operator that holds licensing in the UK.
Additionally, the player can access the website to find out all relevant information that pertains to the self-exclusion policies of online casino companies with UK licenses. Many times an online casino does not have the clearest and concise information available about its responsible gambling policies. This format provided by GAMSTOP offers a centralized wealth of info and resources geared toward player advocacy that will, in the hopes of the RGA, lead to better decision-making skills and moderated gambling by all players. Resources include links to nonprofit organizations and advice from specialists about the next steps to take for any at-risk player.
The innovative approach to helping players is a great step forward, but it stems from policies put in place a few years prior that have not necessarily lived up to their potential. In 2014, regulations were passed that made it a requirement to have self-exclusion features built into an online casino. Otherwise, the casino is unable to get licensing from the UK Gambling Commission. However, the new legislation has not kept some online casinos from skirting the proper practices throughout the years, and a handful of remote gambling operators have been investigating for the legitimacy of a mandatory self-exclusion policy.
Fiona Palmer, a director within the RGA, says that the new technology is already well-advanced and the next stage will be integrating the system into the industry and developing a line of communication with all licensed online casino operators. The hope for GAMSTOP is that it will be able to assist players who have a gambling problem realistically on a truly national scale and provide ample resources for anyone who opts in. It is no secret that, when left to their own devices, some online gambling operators have not withheld certain practices that are required under a UK Gambling Commission license. The RGA and GAMSTOP are working to resolve this issue in a way that benefits the player first.
The program director for the UK Gambling Commission, Paul Hope, says that the licensing agency is excited for such an advanced in player safety. He states that “The ability for consumers to exclude themselves from all online gambling with a single request will be a powerful tool for those that need it.” Hope also added that the UK Gambling Commission fully supports what the RGA will try to accomplish with GAMSTOP. In an ever-changing online casino industry, this innovation is a welcome addition to ensure the well-being of UK players and hopefully introduce a new system that can spearhead the future of regulated gambling.
Keeping Safe at Online Casinos
There are many ways to moderate one’s gambling at an online casino, and it pays to be informed before committing to a particular site. The most simple tool offered by many online casinos is a deposit limit. When the player requests this feature from the casino support team, they are only able to transfer a certain amount of funds within a period, and the restriction usually spans the course of a week during which a deposit limit is set, but players can communicate with the online casino for personalized options. A loss limit is also sometimes provided on a player’s account that does not allow further gameplay after a certain amount of casino credits have been placed on bets.
Self-exclusion is not the only form of player safety available. Most services from an online casino will include something known as a cool-down period. Instead of a mandatory lock on a real money account for a matter of months, the player may choose to have their account frozen for at least a week, and this will allow the player time to evaluate if their problem is getting out of hand and what to do in the case of excessive gambling. It is much more restrictive than a deposit limit for the player, but not quite as drastic as an extended period of self-exclusion.
Casinos will provide additional resources to every player who is in need. These sometimes include a self-assessment test that may be helpful in detecting a gambling problem and stamping it out before it becomes severe. Also, online casinos work with third party organization to get players the help that is necessary at no cost. Many of these agencies have websites to visit or phone numbers to call at any time of the day to receive assistance.
Players are always encouraged to only become members at online casinos that carry the proper licensing. There are hundreds of online gambling operators in the industry, and some may not be offering their products and service per regulations. Unlicensed online casinos leave the player vulnerable for excessive gambling and cannot guarantee any tools to moderate one’s gambling such as deposits limits or a period of self-exclusion. Every player should observe a casino’s license from the UK Gambling Commission, Malta Gaming Authority, Kahnawake Gaming Commission, or otherwise before signing up at a casino.