Navigating the UK's Online Gambling Scene with A Comprehensive Guide

Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen much tighter regulation within the online gambling industry, especially within the United Kingdom. This, we believe has had only a positive impact on the industry and has undoubtedly brought about a bigger awareness and a positive impact that we didn’t see in the early days of online gambling. 

For example, in recent years, if a gambling company wishes to operate within the UK, they must be licensed by the UK Gambling Commission. Plain and simple. However, to procure such a license, iGaming companies must satisfy a lengthy application process and show the Gambling Commission board (among many other things) that they are a reputable outfit operating a safe, fair and responsible gambling company. 

What’s more, both iGaming companies and online marketers have also felt the wrath of tighter yet progressive actions and laws, especially with the new advertising codes and practices which have been put into place to protect the public. On the target list here were articles that were deemed misleading or adverts designed to target minors, usually incorporating cartoon characters or childish theming.

What was once a wild west, immature industry where most things went unnoticed; we now have a safer, honest and regulated industry which everyone has welcomed for the better.

For the honest punter, tighter legislation has been a positive thing. Whilst most of the ‘free casino bonuses’ have dried up (and let’s be honest here; the free bonuses of yesteryear were not really free as they often came with ludicrous bonus requirements) customers can rest assured that nowadays, a UK licensed casino will be fair, safe and wholly legitimate.

Consumers will now also find it easier to close their online gaming account and not be contacted by a gambling site if they have self-excluded themselves. One thing the UK Gambling Commission is hot on the heels of is responsible gambling and gambling addiction.

Online gamblers in the UK are far more protected today than they ever were. One of the most recent developments to protect UK citizens is a self-exclusion scheme called GAMSTOP.

What is GAMSTOP?

GAMSTOP is a national online self-exclusion scheme. Consumers who register with this scheme are blocked from all online gambling sites registered in Great Britain (N.Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales). GAMSTOP currently includes a large number of online gambling websites, but not all. However, in due course, all online gambling websites will be required to join the scheme by the UK Gambling Commission.

Why does GAMSTOP Exist?

With the rise in popularity of gambling online in the past 10 years, there has been an increase in gambling addiction problems. Until now, there hasn’t been one central scheme to help a gambling addict with the right tools to help them self-exclude so they cannot log into an online gaming website. This means that although one could self-exclude on one website, the customer could easily register at another gambling site and start gambling. GAMSTOP is making everything centralised so that if a customer self excludes, then they will not be able to register on any other website that’s under the GAMSTOP scheme, and as we mentioned above, soon all UKGC licensed casinos and gambling sites will be party to it.

How Does GAMSTOP Work?

Gamblers who wish to exclude themselves from gambling online need to register for the scheme and choose the period of time that they wish to self exclude for. The options are for 6 months, 1 year and also 5 years. GAMSTOP aggregates data and will prevent you from registering and logging into a gambling site which is part of the scheme (soon to be all UK gambling sites). So, by signing up for the service, you will be prevented from using gambling websites and apps run by companies licensed in Great Britain, for a period of your choosing.

Who Can GAMSTOP Help?

GAMSTOP is a free service for consumer’s residents within the United Kingdom (Great Britain and Northern Ireland) only. If you feel that you would like to talk to a helpline, help a friend or self-exclude yourself then GAMSTOP may be able to help you exclude yourself from the gambling websites that have signed up already. It only takes a few minutes to sign up with GamStop and start the self-exclusion process.

HOW TO REGISTER: In order to successfully sign up to GAMSTOP it is essential that you provide them with a number of details that confirm your identity. This will include:

Note: It is important to remember that you cannot sign up to GAMSTOP for another person but you can help someone else with the process. Also, once you've signed up, the process cannot be reversed until the time period is over.

After you sign up, you'll receive a single email summarising all the details of your exclusion from online gambling. It can take up to 24 hours for your self-exclusion to become effective. You will be excluded from gambling with online gambling companies licensed in Great Britain, for a period of 6 months, 1 year or 5 years (depending on your chosen option).

What Happens After Probationary Period - Reversing GAMSTOP

You should be aware that once you’ve self-excluded, this process cannot be reversed. You’ll be unable to use your accounts or set up new ones until the self-exclusion time period is over. Even then, your old accounts will also not automatically be reopened. If you want to gain access to your accounts once the self-exclusion is finished, then you need to contact GamStop and inform them that you want to be removed and the accounts to be reopened. More Than Self-exclusion

Gamstop is an important tool for people who either want to take a break from gambling or wished to stop completely. For a compulsive gambler, the aforementioned Gamstop might not be enough because Gamstop is only a self-exclusion tool. While it helps to limit access to UK gambling sites, it doesn’t do anything to decrease the urge to gamble.

If you’re struggling with gambling, and you want to stop gambling, then you could combine a self-exclusion tool like Gamstop, with a tool that helps you decrease the urge to gamble. is a recommended online community for problem gamblers. On QG, you'll find the Happiness Test. The test will not tell you if you’re addicted to gambling, instead it’s designed to help you understand why it’s so hard to stop gambling. After the test, you get access to 15 video courses, support forums and motivational emails that will help you decrease the urge to gamble. You have 24/7 access on desktop or via the QuitGamble mobile app.  


What is GAMSTOP?

GAMSTOP is the UK’s biggest national online gambling self-exclusion scheme. It’s a multi-operator self-exclusion facility that has been developed for online gambling companies. Not all online gambling sites are part of this scheme, yet but soon it will be mandatory rule set by the UK Gambling Commission for all UKGC licensed gambling sites to become a member and participate in it.

Who is Behind GAMSTOP

GAMSTOP is operated by a non profit organisation called The National Online Self-Exclusion Scheme Limited.


Yes, Gamstop is a free self-exclusion theme for online gambling. It’s entirely free to register and exclude yourself. 

How Long Does GAMSTOP Last?

When you register you can choose to self-exclude for 6 months, 1 year or 5 years. Once you are a member, you will be excluded from logging onto any of the accounts that you hold with casinos registered on GAMSTOP. You will not be able to register as a new player on any online casinos that are members for the chosen duration of your self-exclusion.

Why aren’t all UK Casinos on GAMSTOP?

GAMSTOP is a relatively new scheme that has been in the making for some time. This is why not all gambling companies are part of it, but soon they will be required to be.

Can You Bet in Betting Shops, Bingo Halls or Arcades if you are GAMSTOP Registered?

Whilst you can play at bingo halls, arcades and even betting stops if you are a GAMSTOP member, you won’t be able to if you need to have an online account at the establishment.

What Other Actions Can I Take?

You can also install gambling specific software such as Gamban which works by blocking online gaming sites on all computers, tablets, and mobile phones that you have access too. If you have gaming apps on your mobile phone or tablet, then we advise you to take the first steps and delete those apps as well. What’s more, we recommend you to also unsubscribe from gambling companies emails and unfollow them/block them on social media as GAMSTOP doesn’t (yet) block access to those. 

How Can I Seek Help?

If you feel as though online gambling is starting to create problems in your life then it’s imperative that you seek help aside from signing up to the GAMSTOP program. You can call the National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133 to talk to someone who can help you gain confidential support and information. You can also get online support from Gamblers Anonymous by visiting their website as well.

Are There Casinos Not On Gamstop?

There are non-UK licensed casinos operating not on Gamstop that may accept players from the United Kingdom, we but we do recommend them. In fact, stay well clear! The reasons for us recommending that are simple. Gamstop is a scheme in accordance with the UK government, plus playing at any unlicensed UK casino is asking for trouble and not recommended as you are not protected as a player.

Written By - Jessy Fox

[email protected]

One of the initiators behind this casino guide was also involved in developing the casino test that we currently use to evaluate new casinos. With over +15 year experience from the igaming sector.