Interesting developments in the UK online gambling industry

13 April 2020
By Bryan Smyth
bryan@TheCork.ie

Gamstop, the UK’s online gambling self-exclusion scheme, has urged people worried about their gambling while at home during the novel coronavirus (COVID19) lockdown to exclude from all gaming sites to protect themselves from harm.

GamStop is a free service where a person can voluntarily register their details, and have themselves excluded from UK registered online gambling sites for a period of their choosing

The COVID19 lockdown has affected most activities and has forced people into a form of self-quarantine. Limiting social interactions has affected a number of activities including socialising, going the shops (including traditional bookmakers). Since the COVID19 situation arose many former gamblers have been contacting the service seeking to withdraw from the GamStop self-exclusion scheme; so that they can resume gambling online.

Another workaround some gamblers have been taking has been to use non UK registered bookies which are not subject to GamStop.

This is especially the case since the UK Gambling Commission cracked down on UK registered gaming sites which were not engaging  with the self-exclusion scheme.

All online operators were notified in January 2020 that participating in GamStop by 31 March was a requirement of their licence conditions and social responsibility code provision 3.5.5.

Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission Chief Executive, said: “We have made it clear to operators that we are ready and willing to use our powers to protect consumers, as this action demonstrates.

“Self-exclusion is an important tool to protect vulnerable consumers, which is why we made it compulsory for all online operators to be signed up to GamStop by 31 March.”

Sportito and Prophet Licences suspended

The UK Gambling Commission flexed its muscles recently and took action, leading to a situation where there were some gambling giants whose licences have been snatched. A statement on the Gambling Commission website explained that it had suspended the licences of two online operators with immediate effect and commenced reviews for failure to fully integrate the self-exclusion scheme GAMSTOP.

All online operators were notified in January that participating in GAMSTOP by 31 March was a requirement of their licence conditions and social responsibility code provision 3.5.5. The decision to suspend the licences of Dynamic, trading as Prophet*

*Update 08/04/2020: On 7th April the licence suspension of Dynamic, trading as Prophet, (Operator Licence No 000-053739-R-330568-003) was lifted.

and Sportito was taken for failure to comply. Subsequent to the suspension being implemented, Sportito has now integrated and its suspension has been lifted, the review continues.

Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission Chief Executive, said: “We have made it clear to operators that we are ready and willing to use our powers to protect consumers, as this action demonstrates.

“Self-exclusion is an important tool to protect vulnerable consumers, which is why we made it compulsory for all online operators to be signed up to GAMSTOP by 31 March.  We took action because the operators had not complied by the deadline, which placed vulnerable consumers at risk.

“One of the suspensions has now been lifted as the operator is now compliant.  Our investigations into both operators continue.”

Operating Licence No 053101-R-330206-001 and 000-053739-R-330568-003 were suspended in accordance with s118(2) of the Gambling Act 2005. Reviews have been commenced under s116 as the Commission believes a condition of both licences had been breached and the Licensees may be unsuitable to carry out the licensed activities.

The suspension of Dynamic’s licence will remain in place until the Commission is satisfied that the operator has fully integrated the GAMSTOP scheme and is fully compliant with their licence conditions.

Customers of Dynamic, trading as Prophet, who may have questions or concerns can contact hello@betprophet.com or +44 7407 534073.

Conclusion

Gaming sites need to be aware of the latest regulations in different markets, meanwhile customers need to familiese themselves with the services of GamStop and Gamcare UK.

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