Number of players trying to block themselves from spikes online
After the spike in internet betting during the coronavirus pandemic, there has been an increase in the number of players trying to block themselves from using online casinos and bookmakers.
Gamstop, the national self-exclusion program for people struggling with gambling, saw a 11% increase in new bans in February, according to data provided by Guardian.
The number of subscribers is approaching 200,000, including 326 new registrations on February 22, a one-day record since the service launched in 2018.
Gamstop said the increase in gambling avoidance efforts seemed to see an increase in online betting in November and December.
It found that this indicated that "the tendency to increase online gambling may lead to people being more likely to be excluded from all sites."
More people than ever could sign up for the program, but the Gamstop data also shows how many people have a hard time staying away from gambling.
On January 2021, 49, 328 people out of a possible 177,038 tried to gamble and were stopped by registering with Gamstop which allows people to close themselves from online gambling for a certain period of time.
The organization said this showed the locking software was not a "silver bullet".
"As the number of registrants grows, encourage anyone who has introduced self-exclusion from online gambling through Gamstop to get treatment as well," said the organisation's executive director, Fiona Palmer.
“Awareness of self-exclusion patterns and blocking software has been growing over the past year and it is important that we continue to spread the message of what help is available to those who need it most. "
Matt Blanks, a project manager at Peer Aid, a program to help people addicted to gambling, started betting at the age of 11. He lost over £ 700,000 and tried to take his own life.
Being able to block himself from accessing all online operators at once, he said, saved his life. "I'm giving you this moment of break, this little respite, to make sure that when you feel like it or the impulse you can't place a bet right now," he said. "Time for reflection can make a huge difference."
People with gambling disorders are disproportionately male, but Gamstop has seen an increasing number of women signing up during the blockade.
The number of self-excluded women reached 50,000 recently and the gender split is 71% for men, 29% for women. People between the ages of 18 and 34 are most likely to use the service, accounting for the 59% of all registrants.
The data comes after evidence gathering for the government's gambling review completed last week has been completed. Gamstops said there has been an increase in the number of websites posting links to black market betting operations that are not registered with the blocking service.
Membership in the program is a prerequisite for being licensed to legally offer UK gambling.