How to self-exclude yourself from gambling sites

If you’re worried about your gambling, self-exclusion is an extreme but effective way of breaking your addiction. Here’s how to do it.

If you find yourself spending too much time on gambling sites, or you’re worried about how much you’re spending, self-exclusion is one way to put a stop to your gambling habits. 

What is self-exclusion? 

Self-exclusion is way of banning yourself from gambling with certain companies. It’s something you do voluntarily, entering into an agreement that you won’t gamble or enter into gambling premises (if you opt for an in-person self-exclusion).  

It’s an extra layer of support to help you get your gambling under control, meaning you’re not only relying on your own willpower to stay away from gambling websites, apps, and shops. 

How can I set this up? 

GAMSTOP is an online service that stops you using gambling websites and apps run by companies licensed in Great Britain. It’s quick and easy to sign up to, and it’s free. You can choose how long you wish to self-exclude for: 6 months, 1 year or 5 years. Once you sign up, you cannot remove the self-exclusion until your minimum period is up.  

Does it only apply online? 

GAMSTOP’s service only applies to websites and apps, but there are many similar schemes that can help with UK betting shops, casinos and bingo halls. You can find further information on The Gambling Commission’s list of self-exclusion schemes []. 

Are self-exclusions effective? 

Yes, self-exclusion agreements are incredibly effective in putting a stop to problem gambling. GAMSTOP in particular puts a big barrier in between you and the ease of gambling via online sites. Once registered with GAMSTOP, websites and apps will be able to see you’re registered and you’ll no longer be able to use your account. The same goes for if you try and register a new account. 

For betting shops, the multi-operator self-exclusion scheme (MOSES) makes it much more difficult for you to find a shop to bet in. By signing up with them, you agree not to enter any of the premises in your agreement, and if you do, staff will ask you to leave. This requires a little more self-control than an online exclusion, and it’s up to you to make it work, but the threat of being asked to leave generally makes people stay away. 

GAMSTOP found in 2021 that 84% of users polled felt safe from gambling related harm after registering with GAMSTOP, and 70% of users saw an improvement in their mental health.  

Are there any other ways of excluding myself from gambling? 

There are exclusion schemes that cover most forms of gambling, but if you want an extra layer of protection, some banks allow you to block gambling transactions. Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds, Monzo, NatWest, Santander and Starling all have a way of blocking gambling payments, most using their mobile banking apps. Find out more by looking at the Gambling Commission’s information on blocking gambling transactions. [].