The late economist and gambling expert, Bill Eadington, proposed four Stages of Responsible Gambling: Denial, Lip Service, Halfway House and Full Commitment.
The mechanism of self-exclusion falls into each of the stages of responsible gambling – yet it depends how the operator delivers and upholds the exclusion.
Self-exclusion is the process by which an individual can ban themselves from a site (or in some cases, a network of sites under an operator), restricting access to the iGaming platform. This has come to be a requirement of operators and, although a necessary option, the way it tends to be implemented is inherently flawed.
In the first instance, problem gamblers can often bypass their own self-exclusion. A new [email] address and a common name can enable self-excluded gamblers to re-register and continue betting.
However, even if a player observes the self-exclusion, what’s to stop a self-excluded individual from moving on to one of thousands of other online gambling sites?
From a player’s perspective, there isn’t much that differentiates one gambling site from another, so excluding a problem gambler from one platform does not tackle the issue, especially as operators are vying to attract new players with sign up bonuses and incentives.
Industry-wide self-exclusion requires operators en-masse to sign up and participate.
Alas, not all operators do.
A combination of registering with a national self-exclusion scheme – gamstop for those in the UK – and blocking software, such as gamban®, can be extremely effective at enforcing self-exclusion and improving overall industry sustainability.
The industry must recognise collectively that ‘passing the buck’ or allowing individuals to sign up to other sites, is unsustainable and that the actions of the least responsible affect the reputation of the most responsible.
It is conceivable that there’s a competitive ‘disadvantage’ that comes with acting responsibly. Doing the ‘right thing’ should not result in competitor absconsion.
One operator, aligned with gamban®, explained that in offering gamban® protection to their players who presented with problems, the results were remarkable; aggression was replaced by gratitude – and support agents were able to respond with actionable solutions to uphold self-exclusion. This has a positive effect, not only on the individuals struggling to control their online gambling, but on the morale of the team and an industry that struggles to control its reputation.
For more information on how operators can align with gamban® visit: https://gamban.com/professional/operators/