Problem Gambling Needs Different Approaches, Children’s Services Manager Says

Betting on sports, holding smart phone with working online betting mobile application

Gambling’s impact on a person will vary with the individual, according to a manager of therapeutic and children’s services.

A different approach

Tracie McPherson, manager of therapeutic and children’s services at Bethany Community Support in Victoria, Australia, made that in a talk during the Gambling Harm Awareness Week, reports The Standard.

McPherson said that what may be harmful to one gambler may not be harmful to another. She went on to say: “But usually that plays out in financial distress, the stress about the time that’s used to gamble, and then you go to the more pointy end like criminal and fraudulent behavior.”

However, she believes that gambling during sporting events and on smartphones are issues that need to be dealt with.

“When the pokies were introduced, and like the TAB, you needed to drive to the venue, you needed to line up, and that created points where people might think it’s not a good idea today,” she said.

Now, of course, with smartphones an integral part of our day-to-day lives, online casinos are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As a result of new technology, different approaches need to be taken. However, McPherson didn’t highlight what form this might take.

Notably, it was reported at the end of March that gambling ads would no longer appear on live sports events on Australian TV. The measures will apply to five minutes before and five minutes after the event.

Lord Chadlington, a UK Conservative Party member, wants the UK to implement similar measures, but extending the ban to one hour before and one hour after a live sporting event.

Gamban blocking software

That news came after an announcement from GambleAware, a charity in the UK dedicated to minimizing gambling-related harm. The organization revealed that it had published an independent evaluation of software packages designed to block access to gambling websites and apps. The review was conducted by researchers from Winning Moves who compared three specialist gambling solutions and three general products. They chose Gamban software as the most effective at blocking licensed and illegal gambling sites.

As a result, GambleAware has said that it will make this software available to clients undertaking treatment services.

Karl King, associate director at Winning Moves, said: “One gambling-specific package was found to block access to 99% of active gambling websites associated with UK Gambling Commission licenses.”

Marc Etches, CEO of GambleAware, added: “Blocking software can be an effective tool to help those at risk of getting into difficulties resist the ubiquitous gambling adverts and special offers that surround us these days. This report reinforces the point that such tools work best as part of a treatment package tailored to the individual rather than being effective in isolation.”

As Chadlington pointed out, there are an estimated 430,000 problem gamblers in the UK. If measures aren’t taken, there is the risk of seeing two million people added to that number. This new software from GambleAware may be the first step to preventing problem gambling from being an ever-increasing problem.