In October 2018, GambleAware commissioned an independent evaluation on online blocking software, designed to block access to gambling websites and apps.
The evaluation, conducted by researchers from Winning Moves, led to GambleAware’s decision to fund distribution of Gamban through the national gambling treatment network.
Karl King, Associate Director of Winning Moves said: “Based on the results of systematic testing, blocking software appears to be generally effective in restricting access to online gambling. One gambling-specific package [Gamban] was found to block access to 99% of active gambling websites associated with UK Gambling Commission licences. When gamblers experiencing gambling-related harm are not aware of blocking software it can come as a welcome surprise, particularly to those feeling that they had exhausted all other potential self-treatment methods available to them. Blocking software was felt to work best as part of a treatment package tailored to the individual rather than being effective in isolation.”
Marc Etches, Chief Executive of GambleAware said: “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. This evaluation gives us the confidence we needed to fund the use of this software for anyone who is referred to our treatment services.”
How Effective are Gamban and Self-Exclusion?
As part of the distribution arrangement between Gamban and GambleAware individuals obtaining the software free-of-charge through the network of distribution partners, including the National Gambling Helpline (operated by GamCare), Breakeven, Gordon Moody Association and Citizens Advice, opted to participate in a survey evaluating the effectiveness of Gamban. Just over a year since distribution started and the headline results are:
- 89% of participants said that they thought Gamban was a helpful tool in aiding their recovery
- 62% of participants said that they used additional digital self-help tools to aid their recovery
- 70% said they felt that Gamban helped them significantly reduce the amount of time they spent gambling online
- 88% said they would recommend Gamban as part of the recovery process
Jack Symons, Chief Executive of Gamban says “Although these figures are both positive and promising, there is also room for improvement. We continue to believe that blocking software works best in conjunction with other barriers and have come to understand that Gamban is particularly effective when used in a structured treatment environment, as part of a more holistic recovery process. We will continue to develop functionality that adds value to individuals and treatment providers in this way. As well as using technology to minimise gambling-related harm and support recovery, we must also work on improving distribution effectiveness through training, while continuing to play a role in combating stigma, shame and silence that prevents many from making that crucially important first step."