Michael Volton reports / May 3, 2020
There are several online self-exclusion platforms out there that seek to help problem gamblers overcome their gambling addiction. For such platforms that are on the lower end, they require online casino sites to register their respective sites with them before preventing gamblers from accessing them.
For the higher-end platforms, they are usually equipped with sophisticated heuristics and algorithms that can automatically detect any site that contains gambling related information and prevent gamblers from accessing such sites altogether. Currently, as we are all staying home during the Covid-19 pandemic and the online gambling rate has reached new records, these online-self exclusion platforms become increasingly important to prevent gamblers from sinking into their addiction.
In this article, Michael Volton our not UK sites expert will be talking about some of the limitations that existing online-self exclusion platforms may have, and what I think should be done to enhance their systems during this Covid-19 pandemic. If you know of anyone who is or maybe a problem gambler, this article is for you and hopefully, it will be able to help protect you and your loved ones.
Problematic Gambling and Online-Self Exclusion Platforms
Problematic gambling or rather gambling addiction is a persistent problem in many societies all over the world. If not managed well, it can bring about huge detrimental impacts on one’s family and his or her well-being. That is why countries all over the world have tried means of curbing this social issue. One such solution is the development of online-self exclusion platforms.
However, one of the key requirements of such platforms as the name suggests is that it requires these problematic gamblers to first acknowledge that they have an issue. Acknowledgment is the most difficult part when attempting to combat any form of addiction. Furthermore, for those who are unable to afford the higher tier platforms, they can only rely on free versions such as gamstop which is not very effective. Problematic gamblers will still be able to access online casinos that are not registered with gamstop and gain access to al their favourite Slots & Bingo games even after self-exclusion, which then defeats the purpose of such exclusion platforms.
Proposed Upgrades to Existing Platforms
Given the current Covid-19 pandemic, the majority of the world’s population will be residing in their respective homes. Inevitably, there will be a spike in traffic in accessing these online casino sites, whether they are problematic or non-problematic gamblers. To better manage the issue of problematic gamblers, there are two things that I proposed existing platforms should be doing.
First, for the highly effective ones that can automatically detect any gambling related content on any sites and henceforth banning it totally, they should include a feature of redirecting subscribers to other forms of entertainment.
Second, prices of such high-end platforms should be sharply reduced as part of showing solidarity with the world in combatting Covid-19 and also to allow more people to come online. This can be seen in a similar effort in the UK as the UKGC banned the use of credit cards in an effort to lower the number of payment methods to online sites. And although this did help for a while, there are still some online casinos in the UK that accept credit cards from British Players. So there is more work that must be done.
All in all, the Covid-19 pandemic will see a spike in the number of online casino goers. The difficult part is to differentiate between those who are there for recreation and those who are problem gamblers. Existing online-self exclusion platforms that are highly effective tend to be pricey while those that are cheap are largely ineffective. Hence, I have proposed two ways in which existing platforms can help curb problematic gamblers in UK and international sites combined. By allowing everyone to have access to such highly effective software is the first step in curbing problematic gambling.
Next, instead of simply banning people from accessing online casino sites, redirecting them to other forms of entertainment can help to redirect their minds from gambling to other forms of entertainment instead. In the long run, this could potentially have the effect of creating a new way of entertaining themselves.