Clear Guidance Was Ignored
In January, the UKGC issued the order that all online betting sites had to be fully integrated with the GAMSTOP tool. The notice made it clear that participating in the program was a requirement that must be fulfilled in order to maintain their licenses. Operators were given until March 31 to comply with this new regulation, and both Sportito and Dynamic Bets chose to ignore this deadline. As of this moment, the exact reasons for the lack of compliance by these two sports betting firms has not been determined.
However, the UKGC has launched separate investigations into both of these betting firms in order to discover why they chose not to integrate within the specified time frame. If it is determined that their reasons were not valid, they may each face a serious monetary fine.
Sportito has since integrated its betting systems to become compliant, and its suspension has been reversed. Dynamic Bets has not yet complied, so its operations are still under suspension. The investigations into both cases are still underway.
The Importance Of Compliance
The UKGC has come down swiftly on Sportito and Dynamic Bets for their lack of compliance. The Gambling Commission’s Chief Executive, Neil McArthur, made the following statement in response to their action: “We have made it clear to operators that we are ready and willing to use our powers to protect consumers, as this action demonstrates. Self-exclusion is an important tool to protect vulnerable consumers, which is why we made it compulsory for all online operators to be signed up to GAMSTOP by 31 March.”
“We took action because the operators had not complied by the deadline, which placed vulnerable consumers at risk.”
In addition, the UKGC has been working hard already this year with suspending the licenses of a number of other online betting sites for a failure to follow various guidelines that have been put into place.
This serious effort to protect consumers is due in part to the stressful situation that many UK residents find themselves in due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The UKGC has issued several warnings to its operators that any attempts to take advantage of consumers during this pandemic will not be tolerated.
How the GAMSTOP Program Works
GAMSTOP is a free service provided for all United Kingdom residents that attempts to help problem gamblers curb their online gaming activities.
It was introduced two years ago, and it has already been used by more than 130,000 gamblers since its inception. According to figures, approximately 42 percent of users are in the high-risk demographic of 25-34 years old.
The service works by allowing users to register their personal data with an index run by the nonprofit organization The National Online Self-Exclusion Scheme Limited. Once a user’s data is on file, he or she will be excluded from all gambling operations that are run by companies licensed in Great Britain.
The exclusionary period can be set for a minimum of six months and a maximum of five years according to the user’s preference. When a person’s information is entered into the database, any online casino sites that are partnered with GAMSTOP will run a security check to see if he or she has self-excluded. If the site finds matching information in the registry, that person will be denied the ability to register for an account.
Once the requested amount of time has passed, the exclusion will remain in place until the user returns to the GAMSTOP website to specifically request to have the self-exclusion removed.