ITV News has provided significant exposure to national self-exclusion service provider GAMSTOP, covering the charity in a feature on gambling addiction.
The outlet outlined that although retail bookmakers have been closed for much of 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 social distancing measures, many bettors have been able to utilise online verticals, where safeguarding may be more difficult for some.
Although the report noted that online gambling is ‘at people’s fingertips,’ it added: “Luckily for people with a gambling problem, so is help, in the form of the national help exclusion scheme.”
Fiona Palmer, Chief Executive of GAMSTOP, detailed how the programme operates: “We always advocate a layered approach, coming to GAMSTOP is the first port of call.
“People have to register their details with us and they select a minimum period to be blocked from gambling. The minimum period is six months, one year or five years.
“Once they are registered with us we signpost them onto a range of different treatment provisions and other tools.”
Underscoring the importance of self exclusion software was Liz Ritchie, Co-Founder of Gambling with Lives.
“It’s absolutely essential to have proper blocking software,” she remarked. “Once people are addicted, they actually really need help to stop them when they feel that intense compulsion to gamble.”
Detailing the dynamics of addiction, Dr Srinivas Lanka commented: “Most people don’t realise that they have a problem until they end up in a crisis, usually a financial crisis or relationship crisis, or a crisis at work, as a direct result of their addiction.”
Stacey Goodwin, a former gambler and a user of GAMSTOP’s self exclusion scheme, said:“I was gambling away my entire wage within about 40 minutes of receiving it.
“I lost absolutely everything in my life, the flat I was renting, and I couldn’t afford to feed myself. I was so controlled by gambling thoughts that every penny went to gambling.”
Source – GAMSTOP Twitter