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Data published by the Dutch regulator (KSA) and British self-exclusion service Gamstop show an increasing number of customers opting to exclude themselves from gambling.

Netherlands update

In the Netherlands, the KSA this week launched an updated version of its Central Register of Exclusion from Games of Chance (Cruks), making it easier for customers to exclude themselves from gambling.

Another new addition to the service is a ‘reflection period’, for those wishing to remove themselves from the list after their period of exclusion has expired.

Customers opting for self-exclusion in the Netherlands can do so for a minimum period of six months, while they can also opt for longer periods.

Players opting for longer periods can choose to remove themselves from the register at any time after the first six months have passed. 

Previously, this could be done instantly at the push of a button. However, an eight-day reflection period has now been introduced in order to discourage impulsive removals from the register.

Self-excluded customers are unable to play online with KSA-licensed operators, and the self-exclusion also applies to land-based casinos and arcades.

Active since 1 October 2021, when the Netherlands launched its regulated online gambling market, Cruks now has more than 38,000 registered customers.

The last time data from the Netherlands was released on self-exclusion, in the KSA’s 2022 annual report published in March, some 35,750 customers had registered with Cruks.

At that time, there were some 563,000 active player accounts registered with operators in the country, meaning the number of self-excluded customers was around 6.3% of the number of active accounts.

UK facts and figures

Meanwhile in the UK, self-exclusion service Gamstop has marked its fifth anniversary by reporting the highest number of self-exclusions ever recorded in a single month.

In March 2023, 8,504 customers registered with the service, a 24% increase over March 2022.

Since launching in April 2018, more than 365,000 UK customers have registered with Gamstop, with nearly 330,000 of them still excluded.

Customers using the service can choose to exclude themselves from gambling for a period of six months, one year, or five years.

The service is also part of the TalkBanStop partnership, combining self-exclusion with device blocking software and bank blocks, as well as referring registrants to Gamcare for additional support around gambling harm.

Gamstop suggested that the surge in self-exclusions in March was likely caused by the Cheltenham Festival, an annual horse racing event attracting hundreds of millions of pounds in bets. 

The biggest days for registrations were immediately after the festival, Gamstop reports.

“The record monthly registrations show that we cannot underestimate the demand for a scheme such as Gamstop.” 

Gamstop CEO Fiona Palmer

According to a survey commissioned by Gamstop, 84% of self-excluded customers said they felt safer from gambling-related harm and more in control of their gambling after registering with the service.

Many respondents added that they would like the option to have a lifetime exclusion from gambling.

“Our most recent data shows that, five years after our inception, Gamstop is providing an increasingly important service to potentially vulnerable consumers who want to take a break from gambling,” commented Gamstop CEO Fiona Palmer.

“The record monthly registrations shows that we cannot underestimate the demand for a scheme such as Gamstop. 

“It is extremely important that we continue to raise awareness to make sure that anyone who needs us knows about us. We also need to continue to listen to our users and develop and improve the scheme to meet their needs,” Palmer concluded.

One Gamstop registrant, Jack Scott, said the impact of the service had been “nothing short of life-changing.”

Having gambled “terrifying” amounts of money in the past, including borrowed funds, Scott suggested he would not have been able to stop gambling without using Gamstop.

He suggested anyone who thinks they may be suffering gambling-related harm should research the service and seek support from Gamstop or Gamcare.

Other markets

In Denmark, the number of self-excluded customers exceeded 40,000 earlier this month, following steady growth in the figures since the Danish Gambling Authority launched its ROFUS self-exclusion service in 2012.

In Sweden, more than 85,000 players are registered with the Spelpaus self-exclusion service.

New Jersey recently introduced new rules designed to make it easier for customers to self-exclude from gambling, in both the land-based and online sectors.

In July last year, Australia released new rules for its BetStop national self-exclusion register, requiring operators to promote the service through their websites, apps and marketing materials.

Meanwhile, Ireland’s Gambling Regulatory Bill, which is expected to be implemented in the country this year, also includes the introduction of a self-exclusion register.

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