Tuesday, 7 April 2020

UK Gambling Commission Suspends Two Licenses Over Gamstop Failures

The UK Gambling Commission has suspended two gambling licenses over failures regarding Gamstop.

The online gambling regulator suspended the licenses of Dynamic, which trades as Prophet, and Sportito last week after they failed to integrate with Gamstop, a self-exclusion service. Integrating with the service is a condition of the Commission’s gambling licenses and all operators were given until March 31st to do so.

The suspension of the firms’ licenses means players in the United Kingdom can no longer access the websites and play games or place bets. The firms’ websites and licenses will remain suspended until the companies successfully integrate with Gamstop. Reports indicate that Sportito has now integrated with the service and will have its suspension lifted pending a review.

Meanwhile, Dynamic’s license is still suspended and will remain so until the operator integrates with the Gamstop service and completely complies with the Commission’s licensing requirements. Then, only when the Commission is satisfied with this will it lift its suspension.

Neil McArthur, the Gambling Commission Chief Executive, said in a statement: “We have made it clear to operators that we are ready and willing to use our powers to protect customers, as this action demonstrates. Self-exclusion is an important tool to protect vulnerable customers, which is why we made it compulsory for all online operators to be signed up to Gamstop by 31 March.”

He added: “We took action because the operators had not complied by the deadlines, which placed vulnerable consumers at risk. One of these investigations has now been lifted as the operator is now compliant. Our investigations into both operators continue.”

Self-Exclusion During UK Lockdown

The news comes just days after Gamstop urged gamblers worried about their gambling habits in the UK to self-exclude themselves during the current UK lockdown. The organisation’s plea was made after the Gambling Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group suggested that the lockdown could lead to increased numbers of people affected by problem gambling.

What’s more, Gamstop itself has reported that since the UK lockdown began last month, it’s experienced a surge in the number of registered users calling in to lift their ban before their minimum selected exclusion period has ended.

Gamstop’s Chief Executive Fiona Palmer said in a statement: “We are concerned that, at a time when so many people are being forced to stay at home during the coronavirus, vulnerable consumers who may have an issue with their gambling might be tempted to spend money they do not have on online gambling.

“We want to make them aware that Gamstop provides a free, simple and secure solution for anyone who wants to take a break from online gambling. People generally come to us when they realise that excluding themselves from all online gambling is the first step they need to take to provide the necessary breathing space to tackle their issues with gambling.”