All You Need to Know about Self-exclusion: UK, Sweden, Denmark
Responsible gambling is a concept that incorporates multiple requirements and policies applicable to online casino players to protect them from the negative effects of online gambling.
As a gambler in South Africa, you must understand that it is always the house that wins in the long run. You may win a prize every now and then or even a life-transforming jackpot, but that does not mean every gambler can make a full time career out of gambling. If you must gamble, you must gamble for fun and entertainment alone. You should play only with money that you can afford to lose, and never with money set aside for important things such as medical expenses or education.
Companies that provide online casino games, software and services are required to comply with responsible gambling regulations, as part of which they have to support responsible gambling,
Licensed online casinos are required by law to protect their players from the negative effects of online gambling by offering a wide range of gambling management tools such as self-exclusion, self-assessment questionnaires, reality checks, setting deposit, win/loss, and gambling session limits, and many more.
The most important of these tools is self-exclusion as it can definitely save players from turning into problem gamblers. Self-exclusion allows you to withdraw from the online casino either temporarily or permanently if you feel that you are spending too much time and money on gambling.
Many regulated online gambling markets such as UK and Sweden have very strong self-exclusion programs in place to protect residents from gambling problems. If you live in the UK, you can use GamStop, the national online self-exclusion service, to self-exclude from all online casinos licensed in the UK. And if you reside in Sweden, you can use a similar service called Spelpaus. These national services are absolutely free of charge.
Responsible Gambling Policies and Self-exclusion Programs in Other Countries
UK – The UK Gambling Commission, the authority that licenses and oversees gambling activities across the UK, makes its licensees comply with the following safe gambling requirements:
- Operators have to maintain a fair and transparent gaming environment.
- Online casinos should advertise their products and services in a socially responsible manner, in compliance with the UK Advertising Codes.
- UK laws require online casino operators to contribute to the research, prevention, and treatment of gambling related problems.
- Operators have to play an active role in identifying and assisting players who are at risk of problem gambling and gambling addiction.
- Operators must implement proper policies to prevent underage gambling.
- They should give their customers the option of self-exclusion if they feel that they are at risk of problem gambling or gambling addiction.
The UK is home to a large number of non-profit organizations that assist and support problem gamblers, gambling addicts, and their friends and family members. Some of these organizations are:
- GamCare – It provides the national gambling helpline 0808-8020133.
- Gordon Moody Association
- CNWL National Problem Gambling Clinic
- Gamblers Anonymous UK – This is a self-help fellowship of UK gamblers who are determined to solve their gambling problems.
- Gamble Aware – Its aim is to create awareness regarding responsible gambling.
Sweden – The Swedish Gambling Authority clearly states on its official website that it is responsible for licensing and supervising all gambling activities in Sweden’s regulated gambling market. It makes sure that all its licensees support responsible gambling. The authority has the power to make its licensees implement responsible gambling measures to help players gamble safely.
Online casino operators licensed in Sweden are required by the law to give their customers the option of self-exclusion, called Spelpaus in Swedish. Though, though there are almost 90 so-called ‘casinos utan svensk licens’, usually with Curacao or MGA license, which offer Swedish players to play without Swedish license (utan svensk licens & Spelpaus).
The following are some details about Spelpaus:
- Swedish players have the option of self-excluding for 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, or until further notice.
- In case of a one-month Spelpaus, the online casino turns off all games and direct marketing for one month. The player automatically regains access to his/her account after one month.
- In case of a three-month Spelpaus, the same happens for a period of three months.
- If a player opts for a six-month Spelpaus, he/she won’t be able to access any games or promotional material for a period of six months.
- If the problem is that bad, Swedish players can request self-exclusion until further notice. In this case, the online casino turns off games and direct marketing for a period of 12 months. At the end of 12 months, players can login to their account to manually end the self-exclusion. If they do not login, the Spelpaus will continue.
Denmark – Recently, the Danish Gaming Authority issued a new responsible gambling guide for its licensees. The new guide serves as a supplement for the Danish Gambling Act as well as executive orders associated with it. It provides interpretations and guidelines for licensees to comply with the country’s responsible gambling laws. It incorporates several existing executive orders that were implemented before Jan 1, 2020, along with regulations and amendments to previous procedures.
The guidelines direct license holders not to accept players below the age of 18 and to provide players complete information about responsible gambling practices and gambling addiction. License holders also have to provide a complete list of organizations and centres that provide support and treatment for problem gambling and gambling addiction.
In addition, license holders have to implement an automated self-exclusion procedure for players who feel that gambling has become a problem. License holders are also required to display a clock on their websites so that players can see how long they have been playing. Also, they should permit players to set their own deposit limits.
The Danish Gambling Authority also maintains the ROFUS, a register of self-excluded persons. If you want to self-exclude either permanently or temporary from any online or land-based casino licensed in Denmark, you can register with the ROFUS. However, you cannot cancel your registration. Danish players can use ROFUS to self-exclude for 24 hours, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, or permanently.
The Danish Gambling Authority offers another service called StopSpillet, which helps with professional, confidential, and independent counselling about responsible gambling, clarification about problem gambling, and guidance on treatment. It is a free service for gamblers, friends and family members of problem gamblers, and professionals seeking advice about compulsive gambling and gambling addiction. Call StopSpillet on +45-70-22-28-25.
How to Gamble Responsibly in South Africa
Unfortunately, online casino gaming is unregulated in South Africa. The country has legalized online horse betting and sports betting, but not online casino gaming. As a result, players have to sign up at offshore online casinos.
Here are a few tips to help you play safely in South Africa:
- Sign up only at online casinos licensed in reputed jurisdictions such as Malta (casinos with MGA license), Gibraltar, and Alderney.
- Make sure that the online casino supports responsible gambling.
- Check if the online casino is associated with non-profit support bodies such as Gamblers Anonymous, GamCare, and GambleAware.
- Ensure that the online casino offers gambling management tools such as setting deposit limits, self-exclusion, reality checks, and others.
If you feel that you are gambling too much, do not hesitate to self-exclude from the online casino.