According to statistics, gambling addiction affects up to 5.8% of individuals globally. The industry has to cope with this challenge by implementing complex measures, and self-exclusion programs are among them. Many are aware of GamStop, which, however, doesn’t cover a lot of markets. Therefore, the industry faces the need for new software that would be even more effective.
The launch of BetStop in August 2023 boomed the gambling sector. The Australian-based self-exclusion tool was announced in June 2022, so it had a long way to go. Currently, players can already take advantage of this program, so how does it benefit the market, and which challenges are yet to be overcome?
The National Self-Exclusion Register aims to minimise harm from online casinos and betting and gambling risks for Australian players. Its work is similar to GamStop by blocking access to sportsbooks and gaming websites. Currently, BetStop covers around 150 platforms in Australia. The program allows users to get the following:
The affected player can choose the self-exclusion term: the period starts from 3 months to a lifetime. It’s impossible to cancel or suspend the ban, but users can extend it if they still see signs of gambling addiction.
Before BetStop’s launch, GamStop was the most popular self-exclusion tool available for gambling fans. Even though its effectiveness reached 80%, it still covered a small part of the market. GamStop only restricts access to UK-based casinos and other local gambling operators, so players can still easily overcome the ban by spending time on various non GamStop online casino platforms that operate in the United Kingdom, therefore, Australian users lacked a domestic self-exclusion program that would have covered local providers.
Another difference is that the minimum GamStop self-exclusion period is six months. At the same time, BetStop offers users to participate in the program for three months or more. Many users wouldn’t like to be banned by gambling websites for half a year, which is why BetStop is a better solution. Sometimes, three months is enough to cope with the first signs of addiction; after that, players can return to their hobby, complying with responsible gambling principles. Of course, they will continue receiving notifications about the possible harmful impacts and suggestions to restrict access to gaming websites.
BetStop works similarly to GamStop: it collaborates with licensed operators within the country, obliging them to inform players of harmful gambling consequences and provide timely support. Every casino and sportsbook operating with the self-exclusion program must implement a mandatory user verification 72 hours after registration. If a player wants to register in BetStop, they will be restricted to accessing any gaming website for a chosen period.
Joining the program is easy, as it’s enough to enter your email, phone number, and a driving licence. After that, the tool will start working, blocking access to all casino and bookmaker websites. The service is free of charge, so self-exclusion is more accessible than ever. It’s worth noting that the program provides a high level of security: none of the users’ personal details will be passed to any third parties unless they sign a consent to share them.
However, it’s important to remember that customer personal information can be shared among gambling companies. They will have to check whether a user is registered in BetStop and restrict access to their websites if a person is self-excluded.
Research indicates that over 73% of Australians reported regular gambling. Shockingly, around 46% of players are prone to addiction development. Therefore, locals need additional measures to reduce the number of affected individuals and new treatments. Self-exclusion tools were recognized as effective methods of coping with the problem. Therefore, the development of BetStop will increase player awareness of possible consequences for gamblers in the country and provide timely support for those affected.
Even though self-exclusion programs are the way to reduce the harmful gambling effects and decrease the number of addicts, many players still don’t hurry up to use these tools. The primary point is that the program cannot be stopped or cancelled. Users don’t want to take a long break from casinos and sportsbooks, which prevents them from using BetStop and other similar tools.
On the other hand, registered users also search for ways to get around the self-exclusion ban. And there are still ways to do it. For instance, cryptocurrency usage makes gambling anonymous, and programs like BetStop and GamStop must consider this issue. Since the self-exclusion program is integrated into the gaming websites’ activities, it cannot cover all the affected players. Therefore, there’s a need to expand its influence for better results.
Self-exclusion programs have pros and cons, but eventually, they have already shown efficiency in promoting responsible gambling principles and increasing user awareness of this issue, especially in online entertainment. BetStop has been recently launched in Australia, so it’s yet to target more problem players.
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