One of the signs of gambling addiction is the gambler spending all of their time doing some kind of gambling. Problem online gamblers might not leave the house for days when they go on a gambling binge. The collateral damage that can come from gambling addiction can be far-reaching.
In the UK, licensed online gambling operators are required by the UK Gambling Commission to make sure their customers have access to information about helpful problem gambling resources. As part of the effort to protect vulnerable problem gamblers, the UKGC innovated the GamStop Self-Exclusion Registry.
Before we address the article title, we first want to tell you about how GamStop works.
GamStop is a self-exclusion program that is directed specifically towards prospective online problem gamblers in the UK. Currently, the UKGC strongly advises all of the online operators under its jurisdiction to subscribe to the GamStop scheme. At some point in the future, the UKGC plans to make membership in GamStop mandatory as part of the licensing process.
Once an online site becomes a member, its customers should be able to access the GamStop program from the participating website. It’s the gambler who has to make the decision to register with GamStop for voluntary self-exclusion. As part of the process, the gambler gets to decide how long they want their self-exclusion to last. The available options include 6 months, 1 year, and 5 years. Once the registration has been completed and approved, the registered gambler will not be permitted to access any UK online gambling websites that are part of the GamStop scheme.
Of course, there are ways registered GamStop gamblers can beat the system. A favorite is when non GamStop casino players choose brands that have been reviewed by NonGamStopWager. Other option include wagering through foreign operators and using Bitcoin casinos that offer lots of anonymity.
How GamStop Self Excluded Gamblers Use Their Free Time
Let’s imagine for a moment that a problem gambler is very serious about dealing with their gambling addiction. They join GamStop and fully intend to abide by the terms of their self-exclusion. Now, they have to decide what they are going to do with their free time.
To be clear, any problem gambler who suddenly stops gambling is going to have lots of free time. They might even get the chance to clear up some financial issues, which will give them time and money.
There are lots of ways “recovering” problem gamblers can spend their time. We are going to suggest three options below.
1. Reconnect With Family and Friends
As part of any addiction, there is always some kind of collateral damage. Many times, that damage involves the family and friends. Family members can get neglected and lost as the addict gets caught up in the cycle of their addiction.
When a compulsive gambler takes a long sabbatical from their gambling activities, it gives them time to reconnect with important family members who were ignored while the gambling was taking place. As a part of reconnecting, the problem gambler can also try to make amends to the family and friends they may have infringed upon while gambling.
By rebuilding relationships, it diminishes the possibility gambling will continue to be a problem in the future.
2. Take a Vacation
Online gamblers never want to be too far away from having access to their online gambling accounts. That is exactly why so many problem gamblers don’t take time to enjoy the good things in life.
Assuming there is money available to do so, the GamStop sabbatical is a great time to schedule a vacation. Going somewhere fun and exciting might serve as a reminder that there are things to do and places to go that don’t have to involve gambling. Getting away from the home and experiencing life on the outside again can be fun, exciting, and very fulfilling at every level.
3. Develop a New Hobby or Hobbies
After hours, days, weeks, months, and even years of gambling, not gambling could lead to boredom. Eventually, boredom could lead right back to a gambling problem, and the cycle of addiction would resume.
To fill that time, the gambler might want to use their GamStop break to develop other interests. It might be some level of involvement in sports like golf, hunting, water sports. Maybe, they can start reading or address new home projects. Whatever it might end up being, a new interest can be a great distraction from the desire to gamble too much.
When the self-exclusion period ends, the individual will have to decide whether or not they can safely resume their online gambling activities. If they have spent their GamStop break wisely, there is a good chance their attitude towards gambling has changed. If not, they always have the right and ability to extend their self-exclusion for as long as it takes to make sure they will have a good quality of life going forward.