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How British and Non UK Casinos Curb Gambling Addiction — A Model for the US?

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With every passing year, the global online gambling industry swells. Currently, projections claim that it is on track to start pulling in annual revenues of around $158 billion, growing at a rate of 11% per year. Yet, the US is one sizeable market that is not even close to reaching its full internet betting potential. That is so because of strict anti-gambling legislation that has plagued most of its states. However, things are now changing due to the US Supreme Court repealing the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018 and the ongoing pandemic. Right now, lawmakers are much more lenient when it comes to allowing US residents to test their luck on games of chance and sporting events online, hoping to rake in the tax benefits from these activities. Over twenty US territories have made internet and land-based sportsbooks legal, and many are in the process of permitting operators to provide casino-style games to their residents on the World Wide Web.

Thus, with betting activity rising dramatically and quickly, public concerns have grown regarding the potential of a sizeable portion of those involved in this hobby developing a compulsion towards wagering. Since online gambling is more evolved in Europe, it is wise to see how British and Non UK casinos curb betting addiction ― something mandated by their regulators/licensors. Problem gambling is defined as a continuous urge to wager, despite an awareness of the negative consequences of this action. Thankfully, only a small number of people who indulge in this hobby develop this issue. Still, it is beneficial to see how other regions approach this subject and how businesses have sprung up to combat it.

The UK Gambling Commission and GamStop

Britain started to 100% regulate its interactive and sports betting market with the Gambling Act of 2005. It birthed the country’s Gambling Commission (UKGC), which now ranks as the leading European body in online wagering regulation, setting standards that others follow. GamStop is a self-exclusion scheme that was going to tie in with all UKGC-licensed platforms in 2017. However, due to a string of events and delays, it made its UK debut in March 2020. In essence, this is a network or database that all UKGC online casinos and sportsbooks share. Once a UK player decides they have a compulsion towards betting, he/she can activate this option, receiving a nationwide gambling ban. That means that the player in question cannot sign-up and continue betting with any other UKGC platform.

GamStop is a free service run by a not-for-profit organization called The National Online Self-Exclusion Scheme Limited. Their base is in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, with a technology provision outsourced to a third party in Leeds.

A 2020 survey showed that Britain, a country with an annual gross gambling yield of almost $19 billion, may also boast above-average problem gambling stats. That caused the UKGC to implement new measures that make the gaming experience less intensive. These include removing auto-play functions, lower max bet limits, and the addition of spin timers. That move got met with disapproval from many players who thought that it limited the entertainment value of online casino games, forcing them to migrate to casinos not on GamStop.

How Gambling Sites Not on GamStop Operate

Gambling sites not on GamStop are platforms based outside of the UK that accept British gamblers. In most cases, a non UK casino has its headquarters in a smaller country with lax online gambling laws. Such spots include Panama, Antigua and Barbuda, Costa Rica, and Malta. The latter’s regulator is likely the number one overseer of casino and sports betting sites not on GamStop. Malta’s gambling industry contributes close to $2 billion to that country’s economy and is one of its most viable financial spheres. Technically, it is the third-largest private-sector contributor to the island’s economy, behind the retail and food/accommodation industries.

Players that partake in gambling fun at sites licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority can receive help regarding addiction to this hobby by contacting the support staff of their chosen online casino/sportsbook. Customer representatives of these platforms can set limitations regarding wager limits and cool-down periods. Some platforms even allow players to put these restrictions themselves through their profile page, where they can also activate a platform-specific self-exclusion. Alternatively, they can seek help by reaching out to Gam-Anon International or Gambling Therapy, a global service offered by Gordon Moody. Multiple organizations exist that can provide online aid for gamblers from all corners of the globe.

UK Casinos vs. Non UK Casinos

Every type of gambling site has its pros and cons. It is up to individual players to consider all of them before settling on a platform that they will call their gaming home for a while. Below is a list of the main aspects to analyze when considering both categories of platforms discussed above.

Positives of GamStop Sites

  • Less intensive online gameplay
  • Universal self-exclusion
  • Access to third-party dispute services
  • No debt accumulation payment methods

Negatives of GamStop Sites

  • Small offer of non-mainstream payment options
  • Less enticing promotions
  • Irreversible self-exclusion bans

Benefits of Non UK Casinos

  • Fewer gameplay restrictions
  • Vast game libraries
  • Benefit-rich loyalty systems
  • Access to varied transaction options

Drawbacks of Non UK Casinos

  • Fewer problem gambling help avenues
  • Complaints get resolved via foreign laws
  • No universal self-exclusion

What Responsible Gambling Method Should the US Consider?

When it comes to the US and online gambling, the chief problem the Land of Opportunity faces is that it has no federal body monitoring all forms of gaming. The US is a federal republic, and with the 2011 DOJ’s interpretation of the Wire Act of 1961 and the repeal of PASPA, its states are free to pass laws regulating online casinos and sports betting as they see fit. That is a different situation than what is present in other countries, where governments create bodies to oversee all forms of gambling. There is no inclination that the US federal government will ever give birth to such an entity. The most sizeable nationwide organization in this industry in the US is the American Gaming Association. However, it has no obligatory power to force operators to do anything. It is mainly a tool for lobbying on behalf of the gaming industry.

So, with the absence of a federal overseer, US operators from all states where online gambling is legal must agree to follow a specific set of guidelines set forward by an organization like the National Council on Problem Gambling. They will then have to implement these rules in good faith. A self-exclusion system similar to GamStop does not seem like a reality anytime soon in the US. The best problem gambling help advocates can hope for is for someone to present a defined strategy for curbing betting addiction that each state regulator would implement.

Final Thought

Getting into handling problem gambling is not a potentially lucrative financial endeavor because all the organizations that deal with this issue are non-for-profit entities. The UK has loads of them, including GamCare, BeGambleAware, Gambling Addiction Counselling, the National Problem Gambling Clinic, and so on. Most of these receive government funding and operate as charities. That said, there is a money-making opportunity in developing software that stops people from partaking in this pastime. GamBan is one such popular application that many of the organizations mentioned in this subheading support. Non UK gambling sites also get referred to as casinos not on GamBan. Regardless of what approach to controlling gambling addiction the US decides on, these are exciting times for this market. Thus, plenty more business openings should pop up in this sector soon, not including anti-gambling softw

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