Self-exclusion is a facility for those that have decided that they wish to stop gambling for at least six months and wish to be supported in their decision to stop. If you think you are spending too much time or money gambling – whether online or in gambling premises – you can ask to be ‘self-excluded’.
It is up to you to stick to your self-exclusion agreement, but if you try to gamble during that time the gambling business should take reasonable steps to prevent you from doing so.
Once you have made a self-exclusion agreement, the gambling company must close your account and return any money in your account to you. It must also remove your name and details from any marketing databases it uses.
All companies that offer gambling in licensed premises (arcades, bookmakers, bingo and casinos) must be part of a multi-operator self-exclusion scheme. This allows you to make a single request to self-exclude from all premises offering the same type of gambling (for example, betting shops) in your area, rather than the customer needing to exclude from each operator individually.
You can find out more about self-exclusion and the multi-operator self-exclusion scheme on the GambleAware website.
A multi-operator self-exclusion facility is being developed for online gambling companies, called GAMSTOP. The first phase of GAMSTOP includes a large number of online gambling websites (but not all) and is now available for consumers to sign up to at:
Early registration will provide consumers with exclusion from those operators currently participating in the scheme with a single request - coverage will increase as more online gambling firms join the scheme. Ultimately all online gambling websites will be included in this scheme later this year.
Before this is available you can self-exclude with each of the online businesses that you gamble with. In addition to self-exclusion, you could consider blocking software which blocks access to gambling websites, as well as seeking help and support.
While self-exclusion can be a useful aid, to support a decision to stop gambling, it is important that those suffering gambling-related harm also seek help and support on the GamCare website.
Breaking your self-exclusion agreement
In an anonymous gambling environment there will be times when customers who have self-excluded will be able to gamble without being identified. It is the role of gambling businesses to ensure these occasions are minimised by putting reasonable arrangements in place to prevent them.
If you have gambled whilst self-excluded you should inform the gambling business as this may help them identify any areas where their procedures could be improved. For similar reasons you may wish to let us know as it provides useful intelligence about potential shortcomings.
In order for us to consider using the information you give us to explore whether it highlighted shortcomings with a company’s procedures we would need you to provide us with your permission to share your details with the company. You will also need to tell us:
- When you entered into the self-exclusion agreement
- How you let company know you wanted to self-exclude
- What the company provided to confirm that the self-exclusion was in place
- The period you self-excluded for
- The dates you were able to gamble even though you believed you had a self-exclusion agreement in place
- Details of any contact you have had with the company since you gambled with them.
We will use any information provided to consider regulatory compliance. However, we are not a complaints handling body and we are unable to obtain a refund of any money you have spent gambling.