The UK Online Gambling ‘Self-Exclusion Puzzle’

Putting the Pieces Together

The aims of this brief review were the following:

  • To better define online gambling self-exclusion in the UK
  • To briefly examine each piece of the self-exclusion puzzle, weighing up strengths and weaknesses in an attempt to highlight the importance of a multi-layered approach to self-exclusion from online gambling
  • To briefly review the evidence on the effectiveness of self-exclusion tools and strategies
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Paper Overview


  • Online gambling is growing exponentially
  • Mobile gambling is also growing exponentially and in certain cases it makes up a significant percentage of the revenue of some online gambling operators
  • Self-exclusion from online gambling is currently wrongfully presented as a one-component process with focus placed around self-exclusion schemes
  • A self-exclusion scheme approach is an incomplete approach to self-exclusion and fails the “reality test” of problem gambling behaviour
  • A multi-component approach, ie: the self-exclusion puzzle, is proposed as a more complete and robust approach to self-exclusion from online gambling
  • Self-exclusion schemes, online gambling transaction blocking and online gambling blocking software are proposed as the main components of the self-exclusion puzzle
  • There are currently no peer-reviewed studies examining the effect of blocking software and transaction blocking on reducing online gambling activity or their effect on online gambling self-exclusion
  • The current available evidence around self-exclusion from online gambling is limited
  • Research is needed around the concept of the self-exclusion puzzle as well as for each of its components

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