The remote gambling industry in the UK was worth approximately £6.9 billion in 2022, according to the Gambling Commission. This was broken down into online casinos, which generated £4 billion, £2.6 million from online sports betting, and £189.1 million from remote bingo.
Because of this, betting sites are constantly on the lookout for the latest technology and software to attract new customers. AI has been implemented to improve targeted marketing and customer services, as well as being used to identify irregular betting patterns that can be a result of problem gambling.
In-person betting shops are dedicated to protecting vulnerable customers and offer self-exclusion options to limit their access. This is also available online through Gamstop.
Gamstop is a free service provided by the National Online Self Exclusion Scheme Limited, a non-profit authority established to protect people with gambling problems.
The purpose of Gamstop is to prohibit access to online betting sites and apps by those who register and it is a regulatory requirement for all online gambling operators in the UK.
The UK government estimates that only 0.5% of the population who are of gambling age suffer from a gambling problem, and providing these people with a way to limit their habit can help to reduce this even further.
People who want to exclude themselves from online betting operators can register with Gamstop for free and provide them with essential personal details, which include:
- Date of birth
- Mobile telephone number
- Email address(es)
- Home address
Customers will then choose a minimum exclusion length of 6 months, 1 year, or 5 years. A third-party verification process supplied by Trans Union will then confirm their identity.
The system saves the information on a database that is then checked by UK betting sites when customers attempt to sign up or log in to an existing account. They would then be denied entry.
Another service that Gamstop provides is an API that can limit the marketing of betting sites to vulnerable customers.
Gamstop uses a PERL API hosted on Github that features a selection of components that manage the scheme’s interface. These include the description programmatic interface, a unique API key for Gamstop and gambling operators, endpoint URL, copyright, license, and the name, synopsis, and attributes of the scheme.
The system is reliant on the customer inputting the required information and operators carrying out mandatory checks.
Privacy is maintained through robust security with only licensed gambling operators being granted access to the operator’s portal.
Because all UK betting operators must incorporate the Gamstop API into their system, this process provides a safe way to limit access to online betting accounts.
The user database is used to filter operator marketing lists and ensure those who are signed up do not receive promotional content or emails.
Since its Beta launch in 2018, Gamstop partnered with Data Shed, which became their key tech partner. They created a flexible and scalable platform that was able to operate in real-time without affecting gambling site customers who were not a part of the scheme.
Early load tests revealed systems that could manage up to 20,000 hits a second. Data Shed’s matching algorithm capabilities helped it become a secure and cost-effective option.
The data matching scheme is operational 24/7/365 and supports more than 250 gambling operators and 380,000 customers.
This legislation was put in place and became active on the 31st of March 2020. It can take up to 24 hours for the registration process to start working completely and for all sites to register the self-exclusion.
All online casinos that hold a licence from the UK Gambling Commission must comply with Gamstop and incorporate the API into their systems. However, there are non gamstop casino sites that users in the UK can still access, so no, Gamstop does not prohibit registrants from using all online casinos.
It is important to mention that, while these online casinos can offer a range of great benefits, such as a wider variety of games, they are also unregulated in the UK. It’s important to research sites before using them to ensure they are legitimate. Look for sites that have the latest data security features, such as encryption, and hold a license from another reputable authority, like the Curaçao Gaming Control Board.
While the number of people in the UK who suffer from gambling problems is small, there are still safeguards in place to protect them.
Gamstop makes use of online betting technology and a centralised database to ensure people have the option to self-exclude if they feel the need.
The development of technology in betting sites makes it easier for operators to identify changes in betting patterns that could indicate problem gambling or fraud. Using AI to automate this process allows people to get the help they need quickly, or flag attempted fraudulent activity on their accounts.