The UK online gambling industry has become a huge community of online gambling operators serving a huge population of online gamblers. When an industry can boast about getting access to the participation of 20% of the UK’s adult population, that’s a big deal. The question is this. “What ties this industry so closely together?”
What Are the Components of the UK Online Gambling Industry
With close to 12 million participants, and growing, while generating tens of billions in gambling handle, there is no denying how big the UK online gambling industry has become. To run an industry this big takes a lot of moving parts and participation.
We have already mentioned participation in the form of close to 12 million UK online gamblers and the operators that serve them. The moving parts refer to the software and software programs that tie the industry together. Yes, there need to be lots of integration within the industry in order to ensure the UK government has the ability to regulate it.
As an example of UK government regulation over the UK’s online industry, the government formed the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) to oversee all gambling activities within the UK. The UKGC is responsible for licensing operators and protecting the interest of UK residents as they participate in gambling activities.
The GamStop Self-exclusion program is a great example of how the UKGC attempts to protect vulnerable online gamblers. Membership in GamStop is mandated for licensed UK online gambling operators. Noncompliance could lead to big fines and delicensing.
For UK online gamblers, GamStop represents a possible solution to the onslaught of problem gambling issues. By voluntarily registering to enter the GamStop database, UK gamblers effectively tell licensed operators to ban them from accessing their gambling accounts until their self-prescribed exclusion period ends. The good news is the program works as long as registered gamblers commit to it. Where the program fails is found in its limitation.
Since GamStop membership is restricted to operators that are licensed by the UKGC, it leaves a lot of windows open for GamStop gamblers who have decided that registering with GamStop was a bad idea. While they will be restricted from using GamStop member online gambling operators, they can still use options like
- Using crypto-only casinos and sportsbooks with anonymity
- Partnering up with someone else to open new accounts under the partner’s personal info
- Moving online gambling activities to other jurisdictions where operators report to other regulators
- Locating and registering with unlicensed UK Non-GamStop operators
For anyone who wasn’t aware of it, there are many other online casinos that are not on GamStop self-exclusion. That creates a great online gambling alternative for GamStop gamblers who prefer being loyal to the UK gambling industry.
How the GamStop API Works and the Implementation
To whatever extent GamStop is effective, it’s because of the program’s API. API or application programming interface is a software development tool that allows seemingly unrelated software programs to talk to each other. It’s a programming tool that is typically used to facilitate the integration between or more software programs.
By understanding what API is and how it works, it becomes quite easy to see how GamStop was developed to be accessible by literally hundreds if not thousands of online gambling site applications. It’s the GamStop database that is the target of the API interface. Here is how that works.
Gamblers enter personal information into the GamStop database during the registration process. The information includes things like the gambler’s:
- Legal name and or usernames
- Postal or street address
- Email address or addresses
- Phone numbers (landline, cell)
- TIN numbers when required
Note: Non-GamStop UK sites don’t use the KYC check procedure. This may seem strange and unsafe, but it is what ensures GamStop users are free to play during self-exclusion.
This information becomes the basis by which UK online operators will identify the GamStop gamblers who want their online gambling access banned.
When a gambler tries to sign onto an existing account or open a new account under their personal info, a request goes from the operator’s software to the GamStop database through GamStop’s API. The API sends the request to GamStop’s server and awaits a response. The response will either be the gambler is or is not registered with GamStop. When the response is back sent to the API, the API forwards it onto the operator’s software platform. The operator’s platform either allows the gambler access to a gambling account or denies it based on the gambler’s self-exclusion agreement.
All of this is facilitated when a licensed UK online operator subscribes to the GamStop scheme. At that point, the operator’s software platform is granted permission to start interacting with GamStop’s API protocols.
For what it’s worth, API has other applications within the UK online gambling industry. An example of this can be found in the creation and management of affiliate programs that operators depend on as an important marketing and referral resource. More API applications are likely in the future.