Self-Exclusion in Sports Betting | A Lifeline for Responsible Gaming

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The rapid growth of the sports betting industry, fueled by easy access to the internet, easily accessible mobile apps and the proliferation of online gambling platforms, has created both opportunities and challenges for punters.

While the convenience of sports betting can provide entertainment and excitement, it has also exposed vulnerable individuals to the risks of gambling.

Below we explain the discussion about self-ban as a proactive step to promote responsible sports betting; to examine its application in legislative and industry efforts and to examine its effectiveness as a tool for reducing the problem of gambling.

What is Self-Exclusion in Sports Betting?

Self-exclusion is a voluntary step taken by a sports bettor who is identified as a problem gambler or who shows early concern about his betting behavior. A person wishing to initiate this procedure can request a ban from gambling activities for a predetermined period of time.

In the context of sports betting, self-exclusion can cover both established betting shops and online platforms.

Self-exclusion agreements typically require individuals to provide game operators with information about their personal bank accounts and other private information (including a recent photo). The establishments, in turn, will stop the bookmaker from accessing their services within the exclusion window.

Benefits of Self-Exclusion in Sports Betting

Reducing gambling-related harm

By limiting or blocking access to betting tools, self-exclusion can potentially help someone gain control over their gambling behavior, reduce the risks of financial ruin, and alleviate gambling-related mental health problems.

Encourage self-reflection

Self-exclusion can prompt individuals to critically evaluate their gambling habits, anticipate potential problems, and seek appropriate help if determined to be necessary.

Increasing industry accountability

The adoption of self-exclusion programs by sports betting operators demonstrates their commitment to responsible gambling and the well-being of their customers.

The Practice of Self-Distancing Between Jurisdictions

Self-exclusion programs differ in structure, scope and duration in various jurisdictions:

  • The availability of self-exclusion programs in the United States varies by state: some offer statewide self-exclusion databases, while others offer more localized options. For example, New Jersey offers self-exclusion for online gambling and sports betting with exclusion periods of at least one or five years.
  • In the UK, for example, the multi-operator self-exclusion program GamStop allows individuals to abstain from online gambling activities for at least six months, one year or five years.
  • In Australia, the Victorian state self-exclusion program run by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation offers a customizable ban period ranging from one month to five years.

The Effectiveness of Self-Exclusion

The effectiveness of self-exclusion as a tool to alleviate the problem of gambling remains a topic of ongoing research.

Research has yielded mixed results, with some showing that self-exclusion programs can help individuals reduce their gambling behavior. Other research suggests that self-exclusion may have a limited effect due to factors such as poor enforcement, lack of resources, and the availability of alternative gambling venues.

A 2019 comprehensive review of self-exclusion programs published by the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction reported mixed findings.

Overall, self-exclusion may be successful for many, but the overall effectiveness of the strategy in addressing the problem of gambling at large may be limited.

Disabling factors may include: (1) the lack of a unified, global system of self-exclusion; (2) limited coverage of legitimate gambling operators; and (3) lack of robust monitoring and enforcement mechanisms.


While anyone who may be a problem gambler should take additional, regulated measures to address potential addictive behavior, the practice of self-exclusion can serve as a vital part of a plan to promote responsible gaming.

The combined effort of policymakers, regulators and industry stakeholders will increase the likelihood of widespread success in self-exclusion programs. This can be achieved through refined, directed efforts to address current limitations; develop robust monitoring and enforcement mechanisms; and prioritize education and awareness campaigns to encourage responsible betting.

For more resources on how to practice a healthy sports betting hobby, visit

Game Day Staff –


Monday, 08 May 2023

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