Bullseye! Believe it or not, darts are a professional sport as much as any other discipline where players aim to compete at a high level. Like any sport, the pressure to succeed is always pushing its participants but online gambling has been there to bring some relief. While some can enjoy a flutter and keep going, others get hooked, putting on jeopardize their careers.
The Professional Dart Player Association is always in concern if their affiliates wellbeing, founded in GamStop the gambling self-exclusion scheme, a partnership to help inform players about the risk of GamStop removal process and provide to its associates and public in distress, an option that finally aims towards the solution of their addiction.
From Leisure to Sport
For many years darts were considered a folks game, pretty much enjoyed on bars, pubs and any man cave. From local leisure to worldwide competitions, darts had gained the necessary impulse to break in thanks to the players’ commitment. Thanks to its associations, the discipline grows in size. Sponsors alike, start to gain presence in the competitions, leading to the greater recognition of darts as a sport.
In the UK, professional darts associations like the British Darts Organization (BDO) and the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) are born to regulate and promote the sport. Players also organized themselves with the Professional Dart Player Association, a non-profit body in charge to represent and protect their interests in the world of competitive sports.
A Caring Association
The Professional Dart Player Association started in the early 1980s as a union for players. As darts increased its recognition and size as a professional sport, the Union got reformed as an association. Now the PDPA keeps working to protect, improve and negotiate the conditions, rights and status of all its professional players as a collective. Its focus on health and welfare has conquered several milestones for its members in a not fully developed sports discipline. Lower levy fees, emergency funds, mental health workshops are some of its initiatives.
The PDPA also managed to partner with other associations such as the Professional Darts Council (PDC) the darts major promoter; the Darts Regulatory Authority (DRA) its governing body; and in 2014, with the Professional Players Federation (PPF) the national organisation for players associations.
The commitment from the PDPA to counsel and support its players is admirable. Especially, when players get exposed to all kinds of destructive behaviours patterns with problem gambling being one of its most prevalent, and denied.
Online Gambling, a Mirage for Dart Players
Research has determined that professional sportsmen and women are at a higher risk than non-competitive people to become problem gamblers. Despite darts not being mainstream as football or esports, nor its players the archetypical athlete, they are still subject to several amounts of stress competing on the highest level. Players also require to travel extensively seeking tournaments, leaving low margins to make an affordable living.
The need for achievement puts lots of pressure on them finding in gambling a way to wind out some of it while competing with their peers on skill games like poker, blackjack or sports betting.
With the overwhelming presence and accessibility of online gambling, players only need a Smartphone and an internet connection to flutter even between competitions. But the easy wins are often linked to extended losing streaks, making them chasing losses and putting their sports careers in second place. Debt, and depression, end haunting the problem gamblers, as much shame and guilt refrain them from seeking help, until the burden is too much to manage.
The portrait has become increasingly common in the sports scene creating concern in every association, including the PDPA. In November 2020, the association announced a partnership with Gamstop, to enhance, even more, the protection of its members with the UK self-exclusion scheme.
An Accurate Decision
Since 2018 GamStop has helped more than 160,000 users self-exclude from online gambling. Not only problem gamblers, but everyone who feels that its gambling habits are taking the best of them can also benefit from the service.
GamStop works by registering users to its platform and requesting a self-exclusion period from 6-months to 3-years. During that period, users would not be able to access any online gambling service except to retrieve any funds in their accounts. In March 2020, it became mandatory for all UK licensed gambling operators to affiliate to the scheme, broadening the protection to every gambler looking to greater control of its habit.
The partnership created a great expectation on Fiona Palmer, chief executive of Gamstop, “We at Gamstop are already impressed with the work the PDPA is doing in training, and so we’re thrilled that Gamstop can now be added to their offering as a practical tool”
The GamStop and PDPA have the intention to raise awareness of the self-exclusion tool. Thanks to practical workshops and internal communications players are now more knowledgeable about the benefits of self-exclusion and spotting the signals of a problem gambling condition among their acquaintances.
Problem gambling can be a daunting condition for dart players. But thanks to the shared commitment of the PDPA and GamStop protecting and educating those who need help, they are no longer fighting a lonely battle.