Problem gambling

Total Gamstop registrations pass 200,000 as sign-ups increase in early 2021

| By Conor Mulheir
Online self-exclusion scheme Gamstop now has over 200,000 registrants, following record numbers of sign-ups in the first two months of 2021.

In February, registrations increased 21% year-on-year, with close to 6,500 people registering with the scheme. This followed a 14% increase in January, which saw over 7,000 new registrations.

Gamstop recorded its highest daily figure of registrations on 22 February, as 326 people signed up to the scheme within 24 hours.

The scheme said 71% of its registrants are male and 29% female, with the number of women registered recently surpassing 55,000. The majority of registrants come from the 18-34 age group, at 59%.

Gamstop’s registration of its 200,000th user, which it said was not expected until later in the year, coincided with the anniversary of a change to self-exclusion regulation brought in last year.

From 31 March 2020, it became a requirement for all online operators to be registered with Gamstop.

The charity said that in January 2021, 49,328 Gamstop users, out of a possible 177,038, attempted to gamble and were successfully blocked by the scheme.

This, Gamstop said, was evidence that “self-exclusion is not a silver bullet”, stating that it advocates a layered approach to tackling problem gambling including seeking treatment alongside self-exclusion.

Gamstop said this is part of the reason it is collaborating with GamCare and Gamban for the TalkBanStop campaign, which promotes the use of a range of tools and support via the National Gambling Helpline.

“We’re pleased that Gamstop is serving as an effective safety net, providing crucial breathing space to those who are struggling with their gambling,” said Fiona Palmer, the scheme’s chief executive.

“Awareness around self-exclusion schemes and blocking software has been increasing throughout the last year, and it is important that we continue to spread the message about what help is available to those who need it most.”

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