How Successful Is Gamstop at Stopping Problem Gambling?

If you have been playing online casino games in the United Kingdom, you will surely have heard of Gamstop? The problem gambling platform is synonymous with helping addicted gamblers overcome their gambling habits by blocking them from accessing any online casinos which are part of their program. How successful is Gamstop at doing this, though? Has there been any kind of research done? In this article, we will take a brief look at the success rate of the UK’s number one problem gambling program.

GamStop’s Google Searches

According to Google, there has been a rising trend in the number of Gamstop searches on the engine. Google’s data reveals that the number of searches for Gamstop hit a peak on April 25, right at the height of lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gamstop claims that this alone is proof that their service is much-in-demand and that users across the United Kingdom are eager to use it to help themselves with problem gambling.

Things are not quite as crystal clear as Gamstop may like to think. Just because users Google Gamstop does not mean that they are interested in joining the platform. It could just be that they are curious about it. After all, this writer researched (and this Googled) Gamstop several times for this article.

Gamstop’s Own Data

Gamstop has also published its own data. Depending on how you interpret it, the data seems to reveal that there has been a rapid rise in the number of casino players in the UK signing up to the Gamstop program. Analysis of that data does indeed seem to support the notion that more UK players did decide to join Gamstop during the COVID-19 pandemic and that does seem to imply that the coronavirus scare coupled with lockdown may have inspired people to gamble, possibly extensively.

The Number of Early Releases Is Worrying

However, there is other data to be looked at in Gamstop’s research, and that is the part which they don’t really want to highlight. In short, it showcases that the number of early release requests also rose dramatically. An early release is when a player applies (usually unsuccessfully) to be released from their self-exclusion ban early. This was also considerably higher than usual, implying that a good number of players may have joined Gamstop by mistake, without fully understanding what it was. This would also fit with the number of increased searches for the problem gambling platform on Google.

Is Gamstop Successful, or Not?

Of course, there are many ways you read the above data. There is no denying that Gamstop is a useful tool. It has helped countless players with their gambling addictions. However, for the casual gambler, it is a tool which can cause more damage than good. Banned from safe and regulated casinos, it can lead players to more unsafe, unregulated ones which are not a part of the program. To summarise, Gamstop is highly successful for gamblers who have severe problems and want to quit for good. But for casual gamblers who want to take a brief break away, Gamstop is arguably not what you want. Instead, in-house self-exclusion tools and deposit caps are arguably safer tools to go with.