Self-exclusion (as can be seen on some of the more recent posts on the Bingo Hideout forum) is an interesting concept. As a way of preventing abuse of the game it is, on the face of it, an effective and sensible policy for any online gaming site to introduce.
Used as a form of self-help and as an approach to an acceptance of a problem, self-exclusion can be all a player needs to readjust their attitude to the game or get back on track with their finances. It can also come with its own set of problems, however, as do many player- centered approaches to gambling awareness.
The concept of self- exclusion works when a player becomes aware that his or her gaming is out of control and wishes to have time off from the game to cool down. This can come about as a result of a large expenditure or long hours in play, which are of course not necessarily the same thing. It can also come about as a result of a need for a simple break from the game where a player needs to commit time or money elsewhere for a while and needs to break the habit of play.
Self-exclusion requires self-discipline
However if the idea of self-exclusion comes about for a player, it is only effective if that same player is able to hold off the temptation of joining another site for free in the interim. The temptation to choose another site to play on during this time, get your hands on a huge a free sign up bonus can be to much to resist. Players with potential problems can use this method to play on as many sites as they wish until his or her favourite site comes back online under the terms of the exclusion period.
If this is the case the problem simply moves somewhere else. As we are all aware in order to reach the upper end of the cash match offer you have to put a sizeable amount of money down on any new site, so moving from site to site in this way may in fact end up costing a vulnerable player a great deal more money rather than solving the problem.
Compulsive gambling is a problem, wherever you play
The problem with any form of abuse of the game is it's hard to monitor who is having a problem across the whole of the online bingo world. This means that the 888 sites and those who uphold this very responsible means of helping players are still unaware of how that player continues in play after they leave the main site. Self-exclusion across all the 888 holdings (including 888 Ladies Bingo) is a good method of game control for those that love the brand, but using this method there is still no way to flag up potential worrying play across the industry outside of the brand where the player has been excluded.
While we commend any site who is working toward helping its players stay in control of their game Bingo Hideout believe the only real way to get yourself out of any trouble or potential trouble is to talk to Gamble Aware and ask for expert advice if maintaining your current gaming habits are causing you problems. All self respecting sites have a link on the main page to the Gamble Aware site and those that don't usually offer 24 hour help and will be able to point you in the right direction should you feel you need it.