The power of a software platform lies in its ability to deliver exactly what developers and end-users want. Application Programming Interface (API) in particular is often what makes it possible for that to happen as it opens the door for one software platform to communicate with another software platform. Cross-communication between software platforms is of particular interest within the online casino gambling community.
How API is Used By Online Casino Software Developers
In the early days of online casino gambling, the online casino platforms were very crude in the way they functioned. There was hardly any cross-application integration because there weren’t any software development tools that could create the connecting points. Instead, casino software developers were confined to building a “stand-alone” platform and the casino games that would operate exclusively on that platform.
What changed about a decade ago was new software development tools came to light. Some of these software development tools opened the door to more integration between software platforms, and the online casino community was quick to pounce.
Imagine for a moment that you owned an online casino website prior to 2010. As the owner, you had to decide if you wanted an all-inclusive software program from software developers like Microgaming, Netent, or Playtech. Remember, you could only choose one. What you couldn’t do was create an online casino environment that offered casino games from any and all of the top casino game software developers within the same online casino.
Thanks to the introduction of protocols like HTML5 and API in recent years, you can build exactly the online casino environment you want. You can create a basic casino platform that will allow you to integrate games from software developers all over the world. You can thank the advent of API for casino owners having that kind of flexibility. You also have the ability to integrate supporting software programs like the GamStop Self-exclusion program.
What is GamStop and Why is It Relevant to the Online Casino Community?
At a time when the UK Gambling Commission was growing concerned over a surge in problem gambling issues in the UK, they knew they needed to address the problem. In their eyes, the only way they could address problem gambling issues was to create a way for online gamblers to help themselves. They chose this approach because you can’t mandate people in a free society to take care of themselves.
The answer the UKGC came up with was the GamStop Self-exclusion scheme. They helped create this program as a means for problem gamblers to get help from the actual online gambling operators with which they are gambling. GamStop works as follows.
A UK online gambler decides they are struggling to control their online gambling. Knowing their favorite licensed UK online gambling operators are required to subscribe to the GamStop scheme, they find the GamStop link on their favorite gambling site. From that link, they are able to voluntarily register for inclusion in the GamStop database. Once they get into the database, they know that all licensed UK online gambling sites will ban their attempts to gamble. Note: The exclusion period is determined by the gamblers at registration.
All of this is facilitated by GamStop’s API. The GamStop protocols allow for all subscribed casino operators to integrate into and access the GamStop database. Using key information provided by registered gamblers, they are then able to identify attempts by said gamblers to access licensed UK gambling sites.
This is a great representation of how an API can help an entire community of software platforms communicate among themselves. It shows what is possible as an open use resource.
The Limitations of GamStop
While GamStop’s API has made it possible for unrelated online gambling operators to communicate, the GamStop program has its limitations. The key limitation being it is only tied to online gambling operators that are licensed by the UKGC and subscribed members of GamStop. That leaves other online gambling options available to GamStop gamblers who want to get around their GamStop self-exclusion period.
One of the ways they can do that is to visit UK online casinos not blocked by GamStop. It’s not a hard thing to do because such gambling sites are plentiful if a motivated online gambler knows where to look.
Could GamStop’s API be used to close some of these other gambling access doors? Yes! It would simply require that the facilitators of these other options be willing to cooperate with the GamStop scheme. The expansion of GamStop is exactly what would make the wait for GamStop’s API worth the wait.
What is the overriding problem? Online gambling providers want as much business as possible. Without a governing body like the UKGC mandating their involvement in GamStop, the motivation to integrate into the program is simply not there. But…There would seem to be great possibilities regarding the expansion of GamStop’s API in the future.