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Types of Self-Exclusion Tools in Gambling

types of self exclusion tools

There are many different types of self-exclusion tools in the world of gambling, especially online gambling. From tools that allow you to take a break from all licensed casinos in the UK to blocking software that can be customised to offer complete protection, you have a variety of options. So, whether you want to block gambling websites or self-exclude yourself, you have many options.

Today, we’re going to talk about all the different types of self-exclusion tools that gamblers and punters have access to, particularly in the UK. Our objective here is to give you all the important information so that you can make an informed decision about what you wish to use.

What is Self-Exclusion?

Self-exclusion is the name for any tool or mechanism that allows you to voluntarily exit from gambling. Nobody can register you for such a program, you have to do it yourself when you feel the need. In the majority of cases, you can’t reduce or cancel self-exclusion time limits. In the case of blockers, you still need to go through additional hurdles if you try to unblock your access or uninstall the software.

How these tools work differs from one to another, but they are all effective. That being said, some tools are more effective for some people, whereas others could be more beneficial for others. By the end of this guide, you will have a clear idea of what service or tool is the right fit for your needs and purposes.

Reasons to Self-Exclude

The aim of all types of self-exclusion programs, tools, and blocking software is to keep you from gambling. Here are some common reasons as to why you might want to do that. Note that all of these tools have to be administered by yourself. Nobody can register you for a program or set up a blocker for you.

  • Personal Financial Protection
    The first and simplest layer of protection from gambling is to block payment methods for gambling using your bank’s app. The main reason is to protect yourself from overspending. This usually happens when you try to chase losses and gamble what you can’t afford to lose, causing major issues in your life.
  • Problem Gambling and Addiction
    Problem gambling and addiction to gambling are other major causes for why one might want to limit their access to gambling platforms. When you experience problems in your day-to-day life or start having family problems, it’s a sign of problem gambling or addiction.
  • Emotional and Psychological Well-Being
    Sometimes, we tend to lose ourselves when gambling. Gamblers who are overly involved in gambling might not be giving enough time to their work or personal lives, for example. For emotional and psychological well-being, as well as peace of mind, blocking gambling access can be a good step.
  • Employment and Career Stability
    When gambling starts to eat into your work life’s space or negatively affect your career, job, or business, it’s time to take a break. Many gamblers choose to self-exclude themselves when they are focusing on an important work event.

Types of Gambling Self-Exclusion

Now, let’s talk about the tools that you have access to. The reasons are pretty clear and more often than not, you already know if you should limit yourself from gambling or even self-exclude yourself or not. But what you might not know is the available variety of gambling blocking tools.

  • Voluntary Self-Exclusion
    Voluntary self-exclusion is when you decide to block your own access, often temporarily. Many online casinos offer you the feature of limiting your deposits or setting up temporary account blocks. A lot of banks also offer the feature to block debit card transactions to known gambling operators. These measures can be revoked at will.
  • Permanent Self-Exclusion
    This is a more robust and perhaps the most effective type of self-exclusion for most. As the name suggests, permanent self-exclusion is when you permanently exclude yourself using a system such as GamStop. Until the time elapses and you manually cancel such a block, you will stay blocked on the platforms that are covered by the program.
  • Third-Party Exclusion
    Third-party exclusion means when someone else excludes you from gambling using different tools. This can happen, for instance, if a family member sets up a gambling block software on your computer or a similar app on your phone with a password, actively keeping you from accessing gambling platforms or limiting your time on such platforms.
  • State or Government-Run Programs
    There are many official programs that offer exclusion of different levels and time periods, as well as various tools and types of support for those suffering from problem gambling. These systems are quite varied and you can choose the one that fits your use case the most.
  • Non-Governmental Self-Exclusion Services
    There are also some organisations that offer self-exclusion programs. They have their own databases of gambling operators to block them, or they partner with these operators to disallow users from depositing money and signing up once the user registers their details on the platform.
  • Financial Self-Exclusion
    Financial self-exclusion is when you limit or block your financial payment methods from being used for gambling transactions. Different payment methods work differently and not all of them provide the same level of protection against gambling transactions. This is one of the least reliable methods of the lot.

Best Tools For Self-Exclusion

We have analysed all tools available to UK gamblers and below, we are going to summarise them so you can make up your own mind about which tool is the right fit for you. Keep in mind that there are many other options as well that might be more suitable, so do your research to find the best self-exclusion programs available to you.

Tool Name Self-Exclusion Period Supported Platforms Cost Non GamStop Option
Gamban As long as installed iOS, Android, and Windows. £24.99 per year or £2.49 per month Yes
BetBlocker As long as installed Windows, Linux, Mac, iOS, Android, and Fire OS. Free Yes
Gamblock As long as installed Android, Windows, iOS, and macOS. Variable pricing Yes
GamCare Not applicable Not applicable. Free No
  • GamStop
    The best and most well-known in the UK, GamStop is a self-exclusion program that you register for. The durations are 6 months, 1 year, and 5 years. Once registered, you’re banned from all UKGC-licensed online casinos until the time elapses and you manually cancel the block. The only way out once you’re in is to use casinos not enrolled in GamStop we feature on our site.
  • Gamban
    Gamban is a suite of software that can be installed on multiple devices you own. Make an account, try it for 7 days, and then go for one of the paid plans. One major issue with Gambanis is that it’s too easy to uninstall, so it doesn’t really offer much protection if you think about it.
  • BetBlocker
    This one is a Scotland-based charity that works on the same principle as Gamban – blocking your access to gambling IP addresses once the app is installed on one of your devices. It offers wider protection, is more accurate, and is free to use.
  • Gamblock
    Gamblock is yet another software that also covers many devices. The best feature is that you can customise your package by choosing the number of devices, platforms, etc. to arrive at a better pricing than a one-size-fits-all approach.
  • GamCare
    GamCare is neither a self-exclusion program nor a blocking software. It’s a support group that you can get in touch with over call, chat, WhatsApp, Facebook, or the forum free of cost. The people here are well-equipped to help you navigate through any issue such as problem gambling, even anonymously.

How to Initiate Process for Self-Exclusion

Now that you have a better understanding of the different types of self-exclusions, the reasons why people self-exclude, and the exact tools you can use, it’s time to look at how to initiate the process. Follow the step-by-step instructions below to have a hassle-free experience:

  • Reflect on the Decision
    The first step is ensuring that this is what you want. Make sure you have a strong reason to support your decision. You might need to talk with someone (GamCare can come in handy). Once ready, move on to the next step.
  • Gather Information
    Find out all about the different tools such as self-exclusion programs in the UK and any blocking software. Gather as much information as you can and use forums such as Gamblers Anonymous to ask more personalised questions and request recommendations.
  • Choose a Self-Exclusion Program
    Now, it’s time to choose the self-exclusion program or blocking software of your choice. Look at the options we have provided above and make up your mind about which one will work best for you.
  • Set Exclusion Period
    Once you’ve chosen a program like GamStop (or alternatives, like SENSE, Bacta, etc.), it’s time to choose the time period. Note that you cannot reduce the time or remove the ban.
  • Review and Extend
    Review your plan before you greenlight it. Most self-exclusion programs require you to talk to a representative. Ask them any questions you might have. Also, when the block is over, review if you should extend it or cancel it.

Self-Exclusion Types: FAQ

What is self-exclusion in gambling?

Self-exclusion in gambling is the practice of blocking yourself from accessing gambling platforms. GamStop, for example, allows you to block yourself from all UKGC-licensed online casinos for 6 months, 1 year, or 5 years. You can’t cancel the ban before that. SENSE, on the other hand, allows you to banish yourself from all licensed land-based casinos that are part of the program. Some software, on the other hand, allows you to set personal time limits or blacklist gambling platforms on your devices completely.

What are the different types of self-exclusion?

There are many different types of self-exclusion tools. First of all, you have programs like GamStop and SENSE. Then, you can also self-exclude using blocking software to stop gambling sites from loading. Whenever in doubt, get in touch with someone from GamCare or post a query on Gamblers Anonymous to get personalised recommendations.

How can I self-exclude?

It depends on what method of self-exclusion you end up choosing. Different methods have different processes. Programs like GamStop and SENSE require you to fill out forms and provide information to become active. On the other hand, blocking software only requires you to install the apps and programs on your devices, make an account, and get going.

Can I modify or cancel self-exclusion?

No. There is no way to bypass the GamStop initiative, for example, once you’re locked into a time period. There are shady tactics that you might learn about from time to time, but the track record is such that they will cause more problems than lead to a solution. If you’re self-excluding using software, it’s easy to uninstall it from your device completely to get rid of the block.

What happens during a self-exclusion period?

During the self-exclusion period, you cannot access gambling platforms. The coverage differs from tool to tool, however. For example, GamStop’s self-exclusion will block you from registering on or depositing money at any online casino that has a UKGC licence. It can’t, however, stop you from accessing an EU or US-based casino that opens in the UK. On the other hand, installing a software like BetBlocker will stop you from accessing any gambling website based on its database (the accuracy also varies from tool to tool) on your devices, but it can be uninstalled easily.

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