Self-Exclusion: How To Utilise The Responsible Gambling Tool

Self-Exclusion: How To Utilise The Responsible Gambling Tool

Self-exclusion is an important tool in the promotion of responsible gambling and player welfare and is something that’s offered by every online casino licensed and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission.

It’s an essential tool to be aware of for anyone who feels their gambling is becoming uncontrollable, compulsive and irresponsible and should be considered alongside receiving further help to try and tackle the problem.

Understanding Self-Exclusion: What Is It?

Self-exclusion is a tool that allows players to essentially ban themselves from logging in to or registering at an online casino or gambling website. A part of the UK Gambling Commission’s rules and regulations for those holding a remote licence (3.5.4 – Self-exclusion – Remote ordinary code), it sees a customer enter into a formal agreement with the operator not to gamble. The operator must take reasonable steps to stop this from happening, usually blacklisting players.

The period of time this can be for is a minimum of six months up to a maximum of five years, extended to a maximum of seven if not removed. This can then be extended if required.

Players at an online casino should be able to self-exclude online by checking a box, or over the telephone in line with the Gambling Commission’s regulations. As part of this, operators should provide sufficient information around what self-exclusion entails as well as encouraging the customer to think about extending the self-exclusion to other gambling operators used by the customer.

It is possible to self-exclude across all UK gambling sites using the GAMSTOP service. GAMSTOP is a free tool that allows people to self-exclude from all gambling websites that are licensed in the UK. This can be done over a six to five year period, extended to a maximum of seven years if not removed.

When to Consider Self-Exclusion

Self-exclusion is recognised as one of the first steps to take when someone is struggling with gambling. It’s one step of several that should be made in order to address the situation and it’s vital to acknowledge the signs of problem gambling before it has an even more detrimental impact on a person’s life.

Whether you’re potentially struggling with gambling, or someone you know is, there are certain signs that suggest that self-exclusion could be a step worth considering:

  • Turning to gambling to cope with stress, anxiety, trauma or other emotions that can be difficult to deal with.
  • Turning to gambling out of boredom or trying to find an adrenaline rush.
  • Urges to gamble become unmanageable and impulsive.
  • Gambling is causing problems with relationships.
  • Gambling is causing problems within the workplace.
  • Gambling is having an impact on finances, including paying bills and buying daily essentials.
  • A preoccupation with gambling and losing interest in other hobbies.
  • Gambling is getting in the way of responsibilities.
  • The amount of money being gambled is being concealed or lied about.
  • Money is being stolen in order to gamble.
  • There’s a denial of the problem.

Any of the above could point to a problematic relationship with gambling in which case self-exclusion or pointing a loved one in that direction is recommended in order to be proactive about the issue.

The Main Benefits of Self-Exclusion: Why Should You Do It?

By self-excluding from gambling sites, and we would recommend using GAMSTOP to blanket self-exclude, there are several benefits, all pointing to the fact that you can concentrate on addressing problems with gambling. The reason for this is because:

  • It’s a forced break from gambling: You cannot reverse a self-exclusion, making it incredibly difficult to gamble online, no matter what cravings or compulsions you may have. Therefore there is no alternative but to take a break.
  • It gives you time to seek help: By self-excluding you’re actively acknowledging you need help, and that can encourage you to seek out further help organisations to get your life back on track.
  • It removes temptation to gamble: Alongside the forced break, knowing you cannot access gambling sites will over time remove that temptation to log-on and gamble.
  • It aids in finding healthier coping mechanisms: Many people turn to gambling to combat stress, but without it available, you’ll have to find new ways to cope. You should channel your focus into healthier alternatives.
  • It gives you more time to do the things you love: Ultimately, gambling can take up a lot of time, and a knock-on effect of that is ignoring responsibilities, hobbies and the people you love. Self-excluding gives you the time back to enjoy hobbies and spend time improving relationships with loved ones.
  • It’s an important first step towards recovery: Finally, it’s the first step to getting your life back on track, rebuilding those relationships as well as improving things like your mental health, physical health and financial situation, which may have suffered as a result of gambling.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Self Exclusion

Self-exclusion is an easy process. It’s made easy in order for people to get immediate help with their gambling problems. As there are different ways to self-exclude, however, there are different steps you need to take.

Self-excluding from a specific gambling website

If you wish to self-exclude from a specific gambling website, there are two ways in which you can do this, with the quickest and easiest being to do so online. To do this you need to:

  1. Log into your gambling account.
  2. Go to the My Account section of the site and find the responsible gambling section.
  3. Select the Self-exclusion option.
  4. Choose how long you wish to self-exclude for.
  5. Fill out your personal information to confirm your identity.
  6. Confirm the self-exclusion.

You will then immediately be blocked from using the gambling site. Alternatively, you can call the gambling website which you wish to self-exclude from, with the customer support team guiding you through all the necessary steps.

Self-excluding from all UK gambling websites

Alternatively, you can self-exclude from all gambling sites licensed and regulated in the UK using GAMSTOP. This is also a quick and simple sign-up process.

  1. Head to the GAMSTOP website and select register.
  2. Fill out the registration form with your personal details.
  3. Select the minimum amount of time you wish to self-exclude for.
  4. Accept the terms and conditions of GAMSTOP.
  5. Verify your information with photo ID.
  6. Confirm your registration.

It can then take up to 24 hours for the self-exclusion to become active, essentially blacklisting you from logging in or registering with any UK gambling site for the period of time selected.

After Self-Exclusion: What Next?

Self-exclusion is often the first step for people wanting to tackle their problems with gambling, and alongside the tool there are other steps you may wish to take not only to resist the temptation and urges to gamble, but also to address the condition head on and seek treatment.

Among the things you should consider to further manage a gambling disorder effectively are:

Utilise gambling blockers

Alongside self-exclusion schemes, using gambling blockers can further cement the ban on gambling sites across your devices. These effectively block you from accessing gambling sites, never mind logging in, and there are many on the market that are free and specifically designed to combat gambling addiction. You can find out more about gambling blockers by reading our full guide.

Reach out to charities and support networks

There are dozens of incredible help organisations across the UK that can provide guidance and workshops to help you with the different aspects of gambling addiction. This can be finding new coping mechanisms, managing finances more effectively and rebuilding relationships, while groups such as Gamblers Anonymous provide peer-to-peer support from people going through exactly the same issues.

Start to rebuild relationships

Recognising you have a problem is an important step and whether you’re using the 12 Step Programme to recovery or not, recognising that you may have damaged relationships as a result of gambling is important. By acknowledging this you can start to put the time in to repair relationships and strengthen them once again.

Seek rehabilitation and counselling

Ultimately, the best step for anyone struggling with gambling addiction is to seek professional help. Going to a residential rehab or seeking counselling can help people get to the root of the problem, develop the tools to manage cravings and temptation, as well as find healthier coping mechanisms, reducing the risk of a return to gambling and encouraging you to make positive changes towards a gambling-free lifestyle.

Ensure you have long term support

Whether it be through rehab aftercare, support groups or friends and family, ensure you continue to have the support needed in order to remain gambling-free. That means you can lean on people when you are struggling, while it may be you can be the person to provide strength and encouragement when others are in their time of need too.