Self-exclusion is an important responsible gambling tool that allows players to gamble more safely and helps limit the negative effects of gambling on people’s lives.
In this article, we will cover how it works, why it matters, how it helps protect players, and why we believe a global self-exclusion system could help further improve player protection worldwide.
Self-exclusion is a responsible gambling feature available to people playing in casinos or partaking in other gambling activities that allows players to block themselves from gambling for a certain period of time.
Available durations can range from days all the way to several years, with many online casinos also offering an indefinite option.
Self-exclusion in an online casino usually only applies to that specific casino, which means that players are still able to play at other casino websites. However, some countries and online gambling regulators operate self-exclusion schemes with a wider scope, which allow players to self-exclude from all casinos licensed in a specific country or by a specific regulator at once.
There currently isn’t a global self-exclusion scheme – that’s what we are trying to change by this initiative. We think that allowing players to self-exclude from all online casinos at once would further increase player protection worldwide.
Players can usually self-exclude from an individual casino in one of two ways:
Probably the most important difference between these two approaches has to do with the time that passes between requesting self-exclusion and its actual start. The first one generally starts immediately, but the second option involves an inherent time delay – it takes time for a casino employee to receive the message and exclude the player from playing.
This can lead to issues, such as players requesting self-exclusion over e-mail and them losing their remaining balance by the time their self-exclusion actually starts. Our complaint resolution team has witnessed many cases caused by this time delay, which is why the first option – one that allows to turn on self-exclusion themselves, immediately – is superior.
National or regulator-wide self-exclusion schemes usually work similarly, but often involve filling out a more complicated form and more bureaucracy. Additionally, these schemes often also include an option for excluding your loved ones from playing if you are worried about their habits. The state might have the option to exclude players as well, such as unemployed people receiving welfare benefits.
Another important difference between self-exclusions at various casinos has to do with being able to cancel self-exclusion before the predetermined period of time passes. There are 3 distinct approaches to this:
The importance of self-exclusion has a lot to do with reasons why players use it. While these can be very diverse, a considerable proportion of players resort to self-exclusion because they struggle to keep their problematic gambling habits under control.
They worry that if they are allowed to gamble, they will lose more money than they should, and self-exclusion allows them to put a stop to their unhealthy behavior, protecting their finances, relationships, and perhaps also their lives.
Gambling addiction is a very difficult enemy to beat. And while it is important to say that self-exclusion is not an effective cure for problem gambling by itself, it can definitely help addicted players limit the negative impact of gambling on their lives and perhaps also give them a chance to seek professional help.
Overcoming gambling addiction requires major commitment and often also professional help, but self-exclusion can make the process at least a bit easier and more effective.
However, perhaps the most crucial issue with currently available self-exclusion systems is that they can be circumvented. Player self-excluded at an individual casino can easily find another one and start playing there. National schemes are more effective, but even those can be circumvented by finding a foreign casino willing to allow the player to gamble.
An addict is very likely to feel strong urges to gamble during recovery. These can result in looking for any way to gamble, even if it means playing at an unlicensed casino. If self-exclusion was truly global and affected basically all available online casinos, it would make the system much, much more difficult to circumvent.
This would result in a safer online gambling world for everyone, but particularly for vulnerable players that struggle with gambling addiction. Players’ lives matter, and we believe that a global self-exclusion system would help protect them more, which is why we decided to launch this initiative and aspire to turn our vision into reality.