Gambling addiction: How it Is handled in the UK and non-GamStop casinos
With Nigeria being exposed to several options for online gambling, there are a lot of key issues that need to be addressed when deciding where to gamble. The likes of sports books and online casinos are now becoming more and more common as the country continues to be exposed to more options every day.
There are many significant advantages associated with these types of offerings, but an important consideration that remains is gambling addiction. The UK’s online gambling sector has been up and running for a few decades at this point, so it can provide some useful insights into how Nigeria might better protect gamblers.
The UKGC and GamStop
In the United Kingdom, there is one gambling regulator that rules the roost. This is the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), a body that issues licenses to operators and makes sure that everyone is staying in line with the various rules and regulations that are in place.
Some people believe that the ever-increasing rules that are coming into place from the UKGC are a bit restrictive. However, they are usually being brought in with responsible gambling in mind. Some of the more recent measures include spin timers, a ban on the use of credit cards, and strict betting limits. To help in its cause to make gambling a safer activity, the UKGC enlists the help of an organization called GamStop.
This is a not-for-profit group that offers a self-exclusion scheme to people. This scheme allows problem gamblers to block themselves from using every single gambling platform that the UKGC licenses. Therefore, this is a quick way for UK gamblers to block themselves from engaging in gambling. The period of self-exclusion can vary from six months and go to three years. Once this is in place, the exclusion period cannot be reversed. Every single licensee of the UKGC needs to be a part of GamStop.
How Do Non-GamStop Casinos Work?
One concern in the UK is that the ever-increasing restrictive measures that the UKGC is introducing will actually drive gamblers to other platforms. These are often called non-GamStop casinos and are those platforms that fall outside the remit of the UKGC. They will often be regulated by another body, such as the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA).
The issue with non-GamStop casinos is that they will allow people who are self-excluded from UKGC-licensed sites to continue with their gambling. There is also currently no mass self-exclusion program offered by other regulators like the MGA.
These platforms will usually have their own individual self-exclusion programs. They also normally will offer a range of responsible gambling tools, such as loss limits, deposit limits, and session reminders. This allows the individual to restrict their gambling even on non-UKGC sites. You can learn more about non-UK casinos sites here.
GamStop Sites vs Non UK Casinos
There are some obvious strengths and weaknesses of both the UKGC-licensed operations and the non-GamStop casinos. They both need to be considered by gamblers in the UK. Here is a quick breakdown of the major pros and cons of each approach:
- Plenty of assistance for problem gamblers
- Mass exclusion possible through GamStop
- Third-party conflict resolution services are available
- No way for gamblers to use debt accumulation payment methods like credit cards
- Restrictions are not reversible until the time period elapses
- Not as much access to bonuses and payment options
- One size fits all type of approach
- Greater level of freedom
- More available payment options
- Bigger game libraries
- Not as many restrictions on game features
- Larger range of bonus offers
- No mass self-exclusion possible
- Ability to avoid GamStop self-exclusion
- No official third-party dispute resolution service available
What Method is Right for the Nigerians?
With Nigeria just starting embrace online gambling on a mass level, there is still a lot to learn as time goes on. The authorities of each gambling region available have their own rules and regulations on how to best protect gamblers. This often includes a portion of all tax revenue going towards funding responsible gambling programs and helping gambling addicts in their recovery.
As time goes on, the true impact of widespread exposure to online gambling with be seen. For a long time, people had to rely on illegal forms of gambling in order to get their fix. This included using offshore betting sites and bookies that usually did not have your best interests at heart. The licensed platforms now have their own controls to help them identify if a person is struggling with their gambling.
There are a few different questions that need to be answered going forward when it comes to developing a responsible gambling community in Nigeria that is not overly restrictive. This includes looking at the freedom versus protection trade-off, as well as the access to games versus providing a safe place for people to gamble.
There is always the concern that people will continue to use illegal gambling avenues if the regulated sector is overly restrictive. Therefore, there is a fine balance that needs to be stuck in order to create an approach that allows people to enjoy gambling in a safe manner.
An Exciting Time
Just like with any up-and-coming sector, there will likely be teething problems associated with the burgeoning Nigerian online gambling market. As time goes on, the authorities will figure out if changes are needed or if the current rules are too restrictive on gamblers.
Regardless, it is certainly a very exciting time for gamblers in the Nigerian market as they are exposed to so many great choices. The future of the market certainly looks bright, and people should be able to gamble in a fun and safe environment for many years to come.
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