Published on 15 May 2015 by Rhi
Way back in May 2014, pretty much exactly a year ago, the UK Gambling Commission (GC) declared it’s intention to set up and enforce a nationwide self exclusion scheme, which would allow players to self exclude from all UK licensed online gaming operators if they wanted to. Well, it turns out this was no idle declaration and a draft framework has already been written and there are plans to have this platform in place as early as 2017.
The scheme has been tentatively dubbed CHOOSE: the Central Hub for Online Operator Self Exclusion and will allow players to self exclude themselves from all UK licensed online gaming sites. The minimum exclusion period available will be six months, that much has been confirmed. Currently exact details are still under wraps but there are bound to be other options, perhaps predefined timeframes to choose from, or perhaps the player will be able to insert their own desired time frame. There will probably even be a ‘permanent’ option for those players who want to step away from online gaming for good.
The UK is a regulated market meaning only online gaming sites who have been approved for a UK based license from the UK Gambling Commission may accept players based there. This regulation makes the perfect basis for this innovative self exclusion policy.
What is Self Exclusion?
Self exclusion is a kind of account closure that a player selects themselves. It’s more than a standard closure though, as it prevents the player from reopening their account, or opening a new account, within the chosen timeframe. So if you self exclude for 6 months, the casino will not open your account until those 6 months are up (and even then, you have to request it) and you’re actually breaching terms and conditions if you open a new account within that timeframe.
This is a very important feature for players who feel they need to step away from online gaming for a while. If online gaming isn’t fun any more, is causing distress, or a player finds themselves gambling with more than they can afford, then self exclusion is an invaluable option to keep their playing in check.
But How Will it Work?
Good question. When I first heard of the UK’s aim to set up such a scheme, I thought “nice idea, but it’ll never happen”. Whilst it’s a great idea to have a platform where players can exclude from all UK licenses casinos, thus removing any temptation to open new accounts, it’s a hell of a lot of work. Currently casinos do not cooperate with each other much and certainly don’t share player data, so casino A had no idea if you excluded from casino B and was well within their rights to accept you if you wanted to open an account.
CHOOSE will create a national platform where excluded player details will be stored (safely of course). Larger, more trusted online casinos will integrate this system into their own platforms, so any time a new player opens an account their system will automatically scan the CHOOSE database to make sure the player hasn’t set a UK wide self exclusion.
This is personal, private and very very sensitive data though, so only the most trusted of casinos will have access to the unencrypted details, and even then, only certain members of staff will have access to the platform. Smaller casinos will have access to a more encrypted version, which will serve the same purpose but keep the data as safe as possible.
The UK Gaming Commission estimates that CHOOSE will take around €2million to set up, with annual running costs of around €1million, which the licensees are obliged to pay. Most likely the GC will build the costs into licensing fees so each casino operator pays a fair amount towards the system.