Gambling Commission approves blocking system for betting websites

Out-Law News | 02 Sep 2019 | 2:30 pm | 1 min. read

The UK’s Gambling Commission is set to tell all gambling companies to sign up to a tool which enables gamblers to block themselves from accessing all online betting websites with a single click, according to reports.

The Guardian reported that the regulator has finally approved the system, known as Gamstop, over 18 months after it was first launched, and will require all betting companies to sign up as a condition of operating in the UK.

Gambling law expert Christopher Rees-Gay of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, welcomed the news.

“This news can only be seen as positive, most importantly as a protection measure for problem gamblers. It will also provide uniformity for operators. With all operators having to sign up, any deemed advantage of not signing up to the scheme will now be removed,” Rees-Gay said.

Gamstop was developed by trade body the Remote Gambling Association. Gambling operators have been able to register with the system since December 2017, and it has been available for consumers since early 2018.

However Gamstop had not yet been approved by the Gambling Commission due to concerns over problems, such as the fact that companies’ promotional mailing lists were not coordinated with the list of Gamstop registrants and therefore people trying to stop gambling were still receiving advertising messages.

The Guardian said 99% of gambling companies had committed to using Gamstop and thousands of consumers were already using the system.

The Gambling Commission and the government have been stepping up efforts to stamp out problem gambling. In May the government introduced new rules requiring online gambling providers to verify the identity of customers before allowing them to deposit funds into accounts or to gamble.

In April the UK parliament supported the introduction of a bill put forward by a Conservative MP to review the case for a levy on the gross revenues of gambling firms.