GamStop is a self-exclusion system developed with the objective to regulate the excessive gambling activities of gamblers by offering the players an opportunity to remove themselves from engaging in online gambling. GamStop is operated by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) and almost all the online casinos in the UK are linked to this software.  According to Rob Davies’ and Will Terry’s breakdown of gambling not on GamStop scheme, this system is different from the usual brick-and-mortar casinos where the self-exclusion is to be done individually. GamStop is operated by a set of operators and is a one-time registration process offering different periods of self-exclusion to choose from.

How GamStop Operates

For the process of self-exclusion, the player is needed to enter numerous personal details like:

  • Current residential address
  • Contact number
  • Email-address
  • Date of Birth
  • Previously used email addresses or residential addresses

After registering on the GamStop website, an email will be sent to the GamStop user and the Self-exclusion period will be activated within 24 hours. The player will then be excluded from the online gambling portals for the chosen time period, which might vary from 6 months to 5 years. The players are also advised to update their personal details by logging in to the GamStop site at regular intervals. This data is also later archived on the GamStop site.

Validation of GamStop Data

The data collected by GamStop is verified by two methods:

  • Transunion Database: This happens when GamStop collects the data and sends it to the database. Then this data is matched with that of players and the data is verified by asking for a little personal information about the players. Then this data is retained for a long duration of time. 
  • Application Program Interface (API) of GamStop: Personal data are shared with GamStop with the i-gaming companies and are verified using GamStop Application Program Interface (API) and a hundred percent matching is done to make sure the data is correct.

Storage of Personal Data of Users

After the activation of the self-exclusion period, whenever a player tries to enter an online UK registered gambling site, a thorough check-up is run by the system by going through the database. If the player is registered on GamStop, the player will be blocked instantly and will not be allowed to approach the gambling site further. The data is saved in the database of GamStop and the data is constantly updated by the system. The data is stored for seven years and then for an additional archive period of seven years even after the self-exclusion period is over, according to the privacy policy of GamStop.

Sharing of Personal Data with Casino Operators 

The UKGC registered casinos linked with GamStop are obliged to follow the responsible gambling rules and regulations of GamStop. While GamStop gathers user data and stores it, the casinos can access the GamStop database and can go through the database to check the registration status of the players.  The gaming operators have access to the personal details of the players, those who are registered on GamStop. GamStop shares user details with the gambling operators for the verification of user identity.

Privacy Policy of GamStop

GamStop stores various personal details like name, address, contact number, etc. In some cases, if needed GamStop might ask the users for more details like race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. This data after the explicit agreement is used for public interest and legitimate interest.

The privacy terms of GamStop are explained on their website. The personal data of the players is stored and retained by the site for a certain interval of time and is then deleted later. These terms and conditions are detailed as follows:

  • There is a provision that GamStop will not be able to share personal information without the consent of the person, not even for research purposes. 
  • The data stored by GamStop is shared with GamCare, which is the National Gambling Helpline in the UK, only after receiving the consent of the person.
  • GamStop uses this personal data for the purpose of verification of identity using facial recognition technology.
  • GamStop collects data from i-gaming companies and stores this data which is compared with the personal details of users and verified.
  • GamStop shares the data with research organizations for research purposes, gambling operators for verification, and corporate organizations.

Conclusion

The distribution and storage of data by GamStop is a sensitive subject that requires rigorous regulation and protection. GamStop stores and retains the data of users and this data is used for different purposes, after receiving the consent of the users. Furthermore, this data is stored with the application for about seven years and then deleted. GamStop users should take note of these privacy policies before registering on the site and should thoroughly go through them before the confirmation. A justified decision has to be taken by the user who then proceeded to register on the GamStop site.

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