GAMSTOP marks fifth anniversary with parliamentary reception as record numbers chose to self-exclude

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  • Lords event hosted by peer who first advocated multi-operator self-exclusion
  • GAMSTOP has registered more than 380,000 users since its inception in April 2018
  • May 2023 was a record month for registrations, eclipsing March 2023

Parliamentarians, regulators, gambling charities operators, and those with lived experience, gathered at Westminster to mark the fifth anniversary of GAMSTOP, the UK’s independent online gambling self-exclusion scheme.

The event on Wednesday June 14th was hosted by Lord Browne of Belmont, who first advocated a national gambling self-exclusion scheme, and former gamblers spoke about the importance of GAMSTOP in helping them overcome their problems.

GAMSTOP was launched in April 2108 and two years later it became a licensing condition for all UK operators to integrate with the scheme, in addition to operating their own self-exclusion schemes. More than 380,000 people have registered with GAMSTOP since its inception, choosing to exclude themselves from all UK operators for a period of either six months, a year or five years.

Last month was GAMSTOP’s busiest ever with a record 8,594 new consumers registering for the free service, 90 more registrations than the previous record in March 2023.

Users interviewed recently by independent research agency, Sonnet, said that GAMSTOP provided an important safety net and self-exclusion was helping their recovery. The House of Lords reception brought together former gamblers, who shared their experiences in a video played to guests.

Stacey Goodwin, from Chesterfield, who is recovering from an eight-year addiction, said:

GAMSTOP was vital for me in my recovery. I’ve had a lot of comments during my recovery such as ‘you’re so strong’ but I don’t feel that way. The truth is that when I don’t feel in a good place, GAMSTOP is the tool that is strong for me.” 

Matt Blanks, who started gambling at 11 and lost around £700,000, said:

“GAMSTOP really is a lifeline not only for me, but for a lot of people struggling with gambling harm. It gives you the chance to stop and reflect and take away the temptation of gambling”.

Jack Scott, who has overcome his gambling addiction to become a successful endurance runner, said:

“GAMSTOP smashed through the roadblock, I was sick of the person I had become. With a tool like GAMSTOP, if it can promote you being the best person of yourself why would you not tick that box?”

Fiona Palmer, CEO of GAMSTOP, told guests:

“We are constantly looking at ways we can improve the experience for our consumers, ensuring that GAMSTOP offers secure and effective exclusion from online gambling for those who have registered. We are also looking at improving consumer journeys both in terms of enabling them to seamlessly exclude from all gambling, not just online, and ensuring that they are signposted effectively to further support and treatment should they want it”.

Speaking at the event, Professor Henrietta Bowden-Jones OBE, National Clinical Advisor on Gambling Harms for the NHS, said the UK was leading the way on self-exclusion and called for further work to be done with land based self-exclusion. She said:

“We are fighting tech with tech. Patients are frustrated by self-exclusion measures because they cannot beat them. Some patients are returning to bookmakers because that’s the only thing left to do. They are using cashback from Tesco to get around bank blocks. There’s an enormous need to block people from going into bookmakers by having a universal scheme for the country”.

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