There have been questions around gaming regulation for mobile games since they really began to surge in popularity a number of years ago – within the UK this had been managed through an initiative launched in 2018 called Gamstop which had been aimed at reducing the number of problem gamblers within the country – especially amongst the growing younger audience. Whilst the initial response had been quite positive, the initiative was also voluntary on both ends – users would have to voluntarily register to the service, but operators also had the choice to include themselves with the initiative too – but that quickly changed. As of April this year, it had been made mandatory for operators within the UK to register with Gamstop or be at risk of losing their gaming license, removing part of the choice that had been held.
Not to say the initiative is inherently bad – it is after all aimed at helping those at risk, but it does lead to evasive methods that may turn out to be more dangerous. As Gamstop has begun to grow within the country, a number of operators have chosen to register outside of the UK which has led to more non gamstop casinos on the market than many may think – many of these sites also allow users to register without identification and provide the opportunity to do so anonymously.
Gamstop also isn’t the only preventative measure – there are also a number of other countries such as Sweden have similar methods that introduce methods such as deposit limits, or even to a similar extent of Gamstop by preventing access to some of these services all together – the question of where this may become a problem however is within two different examples – the first would be at which point does the ability to block users stop, because if there is a possibility for the initiative to extend to sites not on gamstop which may begin to prevent access to users who may not have a gambling issue but simply don’t agree with the practice.
The second area of concern may be within newer sites that are registering away from gamstop, and the unlicensed casinos that pop up at the same time too – as users who are on gamstop begin to look for alternative sites to bet once they’re registered, they may fall victim to the growing number of sites that are unsafe and may look to take advantage of users who may be more at risk than others – although the initiative thus far has been considered quite successful as more than 130,000 users have self included themselves, there is no number for how many users may have looked toward other sites as a measure of getting around the scheme – the likelihood is that number could be much higher, and if the initiative is encouraging both users and operators to look to other locations for gambling, then it may be going against the purpose it was set out for in the first place.
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