At least more than eight out of ten consumers have either reduced or already stopped their gambling after getting registered with GAMSTOP, as per the first evaluation of the online self-execution scheme of the UK.
The reports of the research consultancy Sonnet are based on the surveys made on at least more than 3300 users. Interviews have found that 84% of them are feeling safer from the harms related to gambling after getting registered with GAMSTOP. 8 out of 10 have said that this self-execution scheme is delivering their intended outcomes, whether they intended to stop the gambling completely or reduce it or take a short break from it.
Financial losses are a very important factor that triggers while registering with GAMSTOP. Consumers have also reported that there are significant improvements that are visible in their well-being. 77% of users feel that they have more control over their both personal and household finances. 72% have reported improvement in their stress levels and anxiety. 63% are enjoying an improvement in their quality of family relationships. 60% have found that they are having better focus on their work. 40% of them have reported that they are consuming lesser alcohol.
The recommendation of the report includes various areas:
Longer periods for self-execution: Currently, the maximum of self-execution is for five years, which had been selected from 71% of the surveyed consumers. But four out of them wanted an option for excluding themselves from online gambling for a longer time.
Active engagement with family and friends: Only 28% of the consumers got support from friends or family, who were too embarrassed to seek any help. The rise of the awareness service among them has improved their engagement with their friends and families.
Helping consumers to have access to specialist support: 53% of the users were not aware of any gambling-related support services. This scheme can bridge other organizations to help gambling-addicted ones with closer communications.
Responding to the threats related to unlicensed gambling websites: The scheme users have been facing deliberate targets of unlicensed sites. 10% of the users have reported accessing them while self-executing. Thus, more control on these sites is needed to prevent users from being exposed to any provocation.
More than 200000 consumers have already registered with GAMSTOP after the starting of the scheme in 2018. The report has found that GAMSTOP has reached a broad cross-section of the population across all of the demographic groups. Women over the age group of 44 are identified as a very important demographic that makes 53% of all who have been surveyed. In the report, older age groups were also surveyed.
The study shows that GAMSTOP is successfully achieving the reduction in gambling-related harms. It is having far-reaching impacts, which are positive and is much evident from the users who have been interviewed during the survey.
A majority of consumers have reported that by using the service, they currently have effective positive impacts, along with reduced risks of harms related to gambling.
An office worker who was spending up to £300 per spin on online slot machines was running up debts with more than £10000. He has registered with GAMSTOP after his partner left him and due to the fear of losing his job. He has self-executed himself for five years now, and he is feeling safe from the temptation during this lockdown. He has now stopped gambling completely. He is now eventually paying back his debts to his family and friends.
A delivery driver who had been spending almost her entire weekly wage on gambling got help after registering with GAMSTOP. She is now getting married and has built up her savings. She has said no to betting on football at the high street bookmakers.
The Chief executive of GAMSTOP, Fiona Palmer, said,
“We are grateful to Sonnet for carrying out this very detailed evaluation of the service and are studying their recommendations carefully. We are delighted to know that vulnerable consumers who have registered with GAMSTOP have found it has helped them control their gambling and made a positive impact on their lives.
The insights in this report are extremely helpful and we welcome the opportunity to look at all suggestions for further improvements to the service, including extending the length of the maximum exclusion period to give them peace of mind that they will benefit from the long-term protection that GAMSTOP provides.”