BBC Exposes Failings in UK’s Online Gambling Self-Exclusion Systems

BBC Exposes Failings in UK’s Online Gambling Self-Exclusion Systems January 21, 2019 January 21, 2019 Paul Butcher
 UK January 21, 2019 by Paul Butcher

The BBC has discovered major loopholes in UK’s existing online gambling self-exclusion schemes GamStop and MOSES (Multi-Operator Self Exclusion Scheme).

The discoveries add to a series of failings in the UK gambling industry which have recently exposed by the media. The latest expose went out on Sunday via the BBC’s Five Live radio station.

The report found that GamStop does not entirely prohibit access to online gambling sites. Altering some user details as well creating second accounts enable self-excluded problem gamblers to quickly gain access to sites, enticing them to go back to gambling.

GamStop has been up and running since April 2018 and users registered with the scheme can block themselves for up to five years. But the service is being dealt a huge blow following the latest revelation. The failings also mean the service is insufficient and is not that effective in preventing problem gamblers from further immersing themselves in various gambling activities.

Flaws Found in MOSES System

BBC Five Live also revealed more flaws in the MOSES self-exclusion system in betting shops. Last year, a BBC representative registered with the system to examine its deficiencies. The experiment ended up with the BBC rep still being able to gamble in 19 of the 21 betting shops in Grimsby, Lincolnshire from which he excluded himself.

A follow up investigation was done by the BBC and little has improved. It appears that the MOSES system continues to be problematic and major issues haven’t been addressed.

During the first experiment, the Association of British Bookkeepers highlighted an independent survey conducted by GambleAware which showed that participation in the scheme enabled 83 percent of users to reduce or stop gambling. However, it was also found by the same survey that majority of users did not attempt to access their nominated sites since the time they registered with the scheme.

Urgent Action Needed

One can therefore argue that surveys should not be relied upon in gauging the scheme’s effectiveness and quality of implementation. However, government authorities and the industry itself should look into these findings and urgently fix what needed to be fixed. While the latest reports draw a negative picture for the industry, they come at a time when problem gambling is hitting alarming levels, with the government continuing its crackdown on the illegal gambling market.

The issues should be dealt with promptly, otherwise these schemes, which are supposed to help problem gamblers, might end up being labeled as useless and a waste of resources.  

Paul ButcherAuthor

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