Gambling Addiction Measures – What the US Can Learn from Europe

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Boasting an uncontrollable urge to keep gambling despite the emotional, social, and financial toll this activity has on one’s life gets now classified as an addictive disorder. Science has shown that it is like chemical addiction and that pathological gamblers have lower levels of norepinephrine, a hormone/transmitted secreted during arousal or thrill, than standard bettors.

With the online gambling climate changing in the US, and the wide availability of crypto casinos, many are raising concerns about gambling addiction rates in the US skyrocketing as this pastime becomes more available. Over thirty US states have allowed retail and internet sports betting, and six have permitted online casino games in the last decade. Undoubtedly, the speed with which other US territories will get in on this trend will soon increase, leading to a need for the US to look into implementing various problem gambling measures.

Europe has a set of developed gaming/betting markets that are way ahead of the curve on this issue, and their models and something US experts can study when deciding how to curb potential gambling troubles in the United States. These countries and their self-exclusion schemes get analyzed below.

The Emergence of GamStop in the UK

In 2005, the UK passed the Gambling Act, a law that predicted the birth of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), a body tasked with monitoring all forms of gambling in the UK, except for spread betting. In 2020, the UKGC announced a partnership with the not-for-profit National Online Self Exclusion Scheme for this organization’s self-exclusion system, GamStop, to become mandatory for all UKGC-licensed sites.

GamStop is a database that ties all UK online casinos and sportsbooks. When a player believes that he is no longer in control of his impulses, activating a self-exclusion ban in the GamStop program renders that gambler unable to play at any UKGC platform until his chosen self-exclusion period expires.

GamStop debuted in the UK market in March 2020, even though its inception had gotten discussed three years before. Once it went live, various surveys on gambling addiction in Britain got conducted that showed that problem gambling rates are rising in the country, forcing the UKGC to implement responsible gambling measures. These included removing auto-play, lowering max bet limits, incorporating wait times between slot spins, and more in early 2021. The move got met with disapproval from thousands of British gamblers who chose to navigate over to exploring top crypto casinos based abroad. It is noteworthy that the UKGC made cryptos a fiat money equivalent in 2016. Thus, BTC casino sites have been a thing in Britain for some time. Only these hubs feature more gameplay restrictions than foreign ones.

How GlüStV & SGA Work

Sweden often ranks behind the UK as the Old Continent’s second most stringent regulator. Nevertheless, when it comes to self-exclusion, it was one step ahead of Britain, bringing a nationwide program called Spelpaus to its citizens in 2019. The Swedish Gambling Association (Sper) is now in the middle of testing a 2.0 version of this scheme, aiming to make it more friendly regarding guidance on problem gambling.

Spelpaus works almost identically to GamStop, and the same applies to Germany’s centralized OASIS system that got up and running in mid-2021. It came on the heels of the country amending its State Treaty on Gambling (GlüStV), which got changed to legalize internet poker and online casino games. Again, OASIS follows the model described for GamStop. That means it is a nationwide system with several ban periods that players can select, and once they choose one, they cannot cancel it. They must wait out their chosen ban time frame.

Also, Swedish and German gambling markets have many of the same gameplay and bonus restrictions as the UK because the UKGC is undoubtedly Europe’s responsible gaming trendsetter.

What Do MGA Casinos Do?

MGA is an acronym for the Malta Gaming Authority, probably the most famous international licensor out there. Operators that attain an MGA license have the power to offer gaming services to multiple European markets and territories outside the continent. The MGA came into existence in 2001. Its inception dramatically helped Malta’s economy, effectively turning this island nation into an online gambling haven for companies wishing to operate in this industry.

Unfortunately, MGA casinos do not tie into any self-exclusion scheme. They have individual ones. What does that mean? Well, MGA site users can contact the support staff of their chosen platform and inform them that they want to activate a self-exclusion ban. When such a restriction gets triggered, they can no longer use the website in question anymore. Still, they can still register and play at other MGA hubs. Nothing is stopping them from doing so. The customer support staff at these sites boasting MGA’s seal of approval can also set deposit and wager limits for players upon request.

Crypto Gambling Sites

Bitcoin casino platforms are a mixed bag when it comes to regulation. The best crypto casinos on the Web like those offered on often have a gaming license from a Curacao master license holder like Antillephone or Gaming Curacao. That means they have identical responsible gaming procedures to MGA sites. So, platform-specific self-exclusion. Furthermore, many of the high-end crypto casinos also let users set deposit/session/wager limits inside their profiles and activate cooling-off periods on top of self-excluding.

The primary reasons why crypto casinos have gotten so much traction lately are that they have no gameplay restrictions, offer unique promotions, have community interaction options, and feature perk-rich loyalty schemes. That said, no one should use them as a means to bypass an activated self-exclusion ban. These internet gambling hubs should not get abused by players with a history of addictive behavior.

What Program Is Right for the US?

Ideally, universal self-exclusion is how to approach online gambling player control. It ensures that no one falls prey to their inability to control their impulses. Unfortunately, due to the US being a federal republic and laws varying so drastically from state to state, it is unlikely that federal law can get passed that sets in place a nationwide self-exclusion scheme.

That is why it is likely better for the American Gaming Association to soon set responsible gaming guidelines that all regulators should follow and mandates that their licensed operators obey. Maybe a voluntary self-exclusion operator system is something to consider. Not participating in one could be bad for a brand’s image, and that pressure can lead to companies joining such a system.

To Sum Up

Regardless of the gambling protection method the US chooses, the future looks bright for this market. In time, things will even out, and gamblers will likely get taken care off because awareness concerning gambling addiction problems is at an all-time high. Hence, with every passing year, regulators in every country bring forward new measures that keep making this hobby safer and more secure for all. That is something that also applies to crypto casinos and offshore fiat ones.

Sandy Jensen
Sandy Jensen, a celebrated writer in the home and garden niche, boasts over 12 years of hands-on experience. Her educational background includes a Bachelor’s in Landscape Architecture from Cornell University. Before joining our team in 2016, she worked as a landscape designer, combining her love for nature and design. Sandy's expertise shines through her articles, offering readers practical and aesthetically pleasing gardening tips. Off the clock, she enjoys hiking and nature photography, further nurturing her connection with the outdoors.

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