GAMSTOP Ownership Transferred from RGA to Board Members

  • GAMSTOP is a self-exclusion scheme that was first developed three years ago
  • Has been beset by gamblers bypassing the system with a change of personal details
  • Set to be a prerequisite for all new online gambling licenses issued in the UK
Hand flip wooden cube with word change to chance.
A change in ownership of GamStop has been approved, leaving the self-exclusion system in the hands of board members. [Image: Shutterstock]

Independence behind change

The UK’s self-exclusion system for online gambling, GAMSTOP, has announced big changes this week.

Instead of its ownership lying in the hands of the Remote Gambling Association (RGA), it has instead moved to the board members themselves. GAMSTOP claims that this will illustrate its independence from the industry.

GAMSTOP was created over three years ago after the Gambling Commission asked the RGA to create a national gambling self-exclusion service that could be implemented by operators online.

Board members of the RGA have now taken ownership of the National Online Self-Exclusion Scheme (NOSES), which runs the operations of GAMSTOP. This includes Jenny Watson, Dr. Jo Watts, Kevin Beerling, Roger Parkers, and non-executive director Mike Dixon.

Effective immediately

The RGA has said that this decision should promote independence from the industry itself and is effective immediately.

Commenting on the transfer of ownership, GAMSTOP chair Jenny Watson said:

These changes help to strengthen our independence and I would like to thank the RGA for the constructive nature of our discussions.”

The arrival of Mike Dixon as a non-executive director will also help to steer the scheme towards further supporting those with a gambling addiction problem. He is chief executive of mental health charity Addaction and was previously the director of Victim Support.

Watson went on to say that she hoped Dixon’s insight and experience would “provide the operational team with a strong independent challenge.”

Problems with roll-out

Despite being soft-launched in April 2018, GAMSTOP has only just been rolled out publicly due to issues with customers being able to bypass self-exclusion rules. A BBC investigation found that users could fool the system by changing their user details such as an email address.

However, RGA has stressed that work has since been done to improve these measures. It also said that it has worked with the Gambling Association in order to provide the software to all online gambling companies.

It will soon become mandatory for operators to register with GAMSTOP, otherwise they could face licensing issues.

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