Building and delivering a cross-industry solution to break gambling addiction

We created a national self-exclusion service for over 100k problem gamblers

We created a national self-exclusion service that allows gamblers to break a potentially critical addiction with one action.


Over 250,000 people have registered with the service.


A growing problem


In 2017 more than 2 million people in the UK were either problem gamblers or at risk of addiction, according to the industry regulator. Online gambling, which is difficult to control due to its on-demand nature, has the largest market share.


Whilst individual gambling operators had their own exclusion schemes, our challenge was to create a way for online gamblers to self-exclude from all websites across the UK.


Insight-led discovery


We built this unique service for UK citizens from scratch, all whilst resolving extremely complex technical, organisational and regulatory issues through agile ways of working.


The Gambling Commission required a service to allow any of over 16m online gamblers to self-exclude from gambling. To build a foundation of insight our researchers worked with gambling operators and users to identify challenges, motivations, needs and barriers to inform a service strategy, then design and launch the live service.


The service drew on analysis of gambling patterns, registrant behaviours at registration and account data quality. User behaviour informed architecture and demands for scalability, security, rapid prototyping and formative and summative testing.


Cross-industry collaboration


We facilitated cross-industry collaboration throughout the development journey. To implement this intricate technical solution, we needed to build consensus and collaboration between the regulator, 260+ gambling operators and our client – the main industry trade organisation.


We achieved industry-wide engagement through regular “Show and Tells”, 90-minute webinar sessions, 80 delegate days for industry working groups sessions, Wiki publishing with comments and discussion, private meetings with regulators, academics and charities, and by attending a House of Lords Reception on Gambling Harm.


Complexity to simplicity


Our solution combined an advanced architecture that reconciled the need for high performance, no interruption of service, and robust identity verification. We delivered this alongside a simple user experience, whilst managing underlying complexity, including:


  • Identity verification and management

  • Technical demands of servicing industry volume

  • Running and managing a business-critical 24/7/365 service

The result is high performing technology, processing around 32m user requests every day, and a peak up to 1m per minute. It blocks self-excluders from betting across over 250 online gambling operators.


By November 2021 over 250,000 people had registered with GAMSTOP and it had processed 30bn operator transactions.