Online gambling came into existence in 1996, but over the past decade entered the mainstream consciousness, and in the last few years, it sky-rocketed in popularity. In 2023, the global gaming market should start pulling in annual revenues of close to $93 billion, or $27 billion more than its 2020 figure. Hence, as this pastime becomes more widely accepted, many people have expressed worries concerning how this will reflect gambling addiction rates.
Below, an investigation follows into multiple markets that regulate games of chance differently and those that partake in this hobby. Through this analysis, a deduction will emerge regarding what choice is best for casual players. The strict measures that countries like the UK implement, or the free gaming fun available at non GamStop casinos, sites that live outside the scope of Britain’s mandatory self-exclusion scheme named GamStop. These are platforms that feature lesser anti-gambling-addiction precautions.
Territories That Stringently Regulate Gaming
When it comes to looking after gamblers developing a compulsion towards betting activities, the UK and Sweden reign supreme, and without a doubt, these are the two most established gambling markets in Europe. They hold the operators that offer games of chance within their borders in a firm squeeze.
The UK’s gaming regulatory body is the UKGC, founded in 2007. It boasts a reputation as the most stringent gambling overseer on the Old Continent, and in the past two years, it has gone all out to curb the rise of problem gambling in Britain. It has done so by implementing the mandatory self-exclusion scheme called GamStop. Plus, banning credit card use from online casinos and incorporating gameplay restrictions such as obligatory wait times between slot spins, no auto-play, and lower max bet limits. Rumors are that it may even soon mandate a source of funds checks for players, creating a rigid gaming environment. Foreign platforms available to Brits are casinos not on GamStop.
Sweden, with its body, the Swedish Gaming Authority (SGA), or Spelinspektionen, pretty much follows in Britain’s footsteps. It also has a nationwide self-exclusion scheme (Spelpaus), and it has put in place many of the same measures as the UKGC.
A universal self-exclusion system is a database that all licensed operators use. A player that feels he is starting to form an uncontrollable compulsion towards betting can activate a self-exclusion ban that limits him from accessing any online casino operating in his country. The ban is active until the selected self-exclusion period passes.
Regions That Are Tightening Regulation
Despite global public perception, most countries in Europe do not have up-to-date gambling laws. They lack government entities that will allow and monitor companies that wish to operate gaming locales and sites.
For example, for years, only the state of Schleswig-Holstein could regulate internet betting in Germany. Yet, thanks to the 2021 Interstate Treaty on Gambling, the state of Saxony-Anhalt created a new regulator. That prompted the country to develop its self-exclusion network – OASIS.
Throughout 2021, north of Germany, in the Netherlands, an almost identical gambling revolution took place. It resulted in the inception of Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), or the Dutch/Netherlands Gaming Authority, and its associated self-exclusion database – CRUKS.
Hence it is clear that the Netherlands’ and Germany’s intentions are to become highly-regulated markets that look out for their residents’ interests, in a similar fashion to what Sweden and the UK are doing.
Loosley Regulated Markets
Prime examples of loosely regulated markets are Malta and Curacao, and these are the primary licensors of the mentioned casinos not using GamStop. The thing with these regulators is that, unlike the ones discussed above, they regulate/license companies based within their borders but allow them to accept users from various corners of the globe. Therefore, as viable gambling sites for UK players that do not have a home base that is not on British soil, they have earned the moniker casinos not using GameStop.
The benefits of people using a casino not on GamStop are that they allow more liberating gameplay, offer better bonuses, have perk-rich loyalty schemes, and have higher max wager limits. On the topic of problem gambling prevention, the average non GamStop casino tries to do its part by featuring responsible gaming tools that let players set loss/deposit limits and activate a platform-specific self-exclusion ban. They have no market-wide bans, so it is up to those that use them to practice proper self-control and keep their impulses in check.
Now, while the prospect of playing at a site not monitored by anyone, which can offer various features that licensed platforms cannot may seem appealing to some, tempted parties should be aware that this is where most online casino scams occur. Thus, they are generally not worth the risk, even if their added perks seem alluring. Registered users have no recourse in a case of a dispute at such platforms, and they offer virtually no responsible gambling measures. So, those with impulse controls problems can suffer dramatically by utilizing these sites.
What Approach Seems Best?
In a perfect world, the blend of what a non GamStop casino offers combined with a nationwide self-exclusion system like those available in the UK, Sweden, Germany, and the Netherlands seems like the ideal combo. While gameplay measures help those who can go a bit too far in their gaming fun, most casual players find them irritating, and they only cause those unaffected with gambling addiction issues to seek platforms that have none.
Those that suffer from compulsion problems should get protected from themselves. There is no arguing against that. Though, keeping them safe cannot come at the price of the online gambling industry getting affected. Millions of people and other sectors rely on it economically. Consequently, the best approach seems to be heavily promoting responsible gambling and accepting that all adults should get accountable for their actions.
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