Research shows GAMSTOP to be working effectively

Reporting on research undertaken on its behalf by Sonnet Advisory & Impact CIC, GAMSTOP has published a report entitled Evaluating the effectiveness of the national online self-exclusion scheme’ (that you can download below).

Key findings within the report – based on data from 3,300 demographic survey responses, 41 consumer interviews and 1,700 effectiveness and impact survey responses – are set out below:

  • GAMSTOP reaches a representative cross-section of the population
    • Gender balance consistent with other research studies, showing 71% male consumers
    • GAMSTOP’s consumer ethnicity profile matches closely to census data
    • 75% of GAMSTOP consumers are in full or part time employment
    • 23% of GAMSTOP consumers are in single person households, 62% households with no children
    • Nearly 50% of GAMSTOP consumers found the scheme from internet searches
    • More than 200,000 persons have registered with GAMSTOP since its inception in 2018
  • GAMSTOP is successfully achieving a reduction in gambling-related harm:
    • 82% of GAMSTOP consumers have stopped or reduced online gambling using UK-regulated websites following self-exclusion.
    • 80% of consumers report that GAMSTOP delivered on their intended outcomes
    • Over 80% of consumers who wanted to stop online gambling report that GAMSTOP is effective
    • 84% of GAMSTOP consumers report feeling more in control of their gambling choices as a result of self-exclusion
    • 89% of consumers found the experience of registering with GAMSTOP to be easy or very easy
  • Consumers register with GAMSTOP for complex combinations of reasons including both financial losses and other forms of gambling-related harm, including feeling that they are spending too much time on gambling websites and feeling a loss of control over their gambling. Amongst other wellbeing improvements, the report highlights that:
    • 84% of consumers feel safer from gambling-related harm since self-exclusion with GAMSTOP
    • 70% of consumers report reduced anxiety and stress
    • 77% felt more in control of their personal or household finances
    • 60% of consumers reported feeling more able to focus at work
    • 63% felt that the quality of their family relationships had improved after self-exclusion
    • 40% reported a reduction in their consumption of alcohol
  • GAMSTOP consumers have a broad range of intended outcomes:
    • 56% of consumers wanted to stop online gambling
    • 20% wanted to stop all forms of gambling
    • 13% of consumers wanted to achieve a short break from gambling
    • 71% of consumers choose the longest available exclusion period of 5 years

The report’s recommendations are stated as follows:

GAMSTOP is working effectively, and we would encourage it to continue and grow, we would also encourage the gambling industry and other support organisations to continue to fund, support and partner with it. We also recommend that:

  • GAMSTOP should introduce a broader range of exclusion periods: 12% of consumers would like to see shorter exclusion periods available, and over 40% would like longer exclusion periods. We further recommend that other organisations, including gambling website operators should refer consumers to the scheme for short breaks as well as for longer exclusion periods.
  • GAMSTOP should use the findings from this report to develop a targeted engagement strategy to reach those who exhibit a broader range of motivations and risk factors (e.g. 53% of female consumers are over 44 years old, whilst 64% of male consumers are 44 or younger). We can also see that certain game types seem to pose a greater risk for some groups, and that motivations such as the amount of time spent on gambling websites or a feeling of having lost control may help to target those at risk of gambling-related harm.
  • GAMSTOP’s website should be reviewed to make content as accessible as possible: although the website appearance is extremely positively regarded by 49% of consumers, this was lower than other website features. Some interviewees suggested improvements could be made to make it feel more encouraging and less “clinical”.
  • GAMSTOP should seek the most prominent position possible on operator websites: 50% of consumers want to see more prominent links to GAMSTOP on operator websites, and particularly to emphasise its value as a more effective provider of short breaks;
  • GAMSTOP should seek opportunities to engage with consumers who have never accessed specialist gambling-related support: For the 53% of consumer who have not accessed any kind of support, GAMSTOP has an opportunity to add value to the work of other organisations by seeking to understand the reasons that they have chosen not to seek other support. Support organisations should work together as closely as possible to ensure that consumers benefit from the most integrated journey possible.
  • GAMSTOP should actively seek to reach out to and engage with family and friends of consumers who have experienced gambling-related harm. Friends and family were involved in supporting 28% of consumers. There is an opportunity to raise awareness amongst friends and family to enable them to offer support, but also to encourage those at risk of problematic gambling to seek support from them.
  • More can be done to understand the specific issues relating to unlicensed gambling websites: we heard from interviews that these can be an unhelpful source of temptation for consumers, and 10% of consumers have reported accessing unlicensed gambling operator websites in our survey.
  • More research into the harmful effects of advertising is needed: whilst this was not a specific part of our review, consumers have been keen to tell us in interviews and survey ‘free response’ sections about their frustrations relating to advertising, which is an unhelpful and dangerous reminder of their challenges.

GAMSTOP Chief Executive Fiona Palmer is quoted as saying:

This study very strongly shows that GAMSTOP is succesfully achieving a reduction in gambling-related harm with far reaching positive impacts for consumers. Our research highlights that it is effective both in terms of delivering consumers’ objectives but also in alleviating a wide range of gambling-related harms.