GambleAware has published an independent evaluation of software packages designed to block access to gambling websites and apps.
The review, by researchers from Winning Moves, considered both the technical and therapeutic benefits of such software. The evaluation compared three specialist gambling solutions and three more general products.
The published research anonymises the packages considered, but Gamban emerged as the most technically effective at blocking licensed and illegal gambling sites.
However, the report also discovered that many people found the cost of these tools a barrier to use.
GambleAware has agreed it will make Gamban software available to clients of its national gambling treatment services. The decision was made with the understanding that by reducing cost limitations for individuals it would encourage more people who are at risk to use the app if they needed it. This means that people calling the National Gambling Helpline who are referred for treatment from GamCare, its network of regional partners, the National Problem Gambling Clinic, and the Gordon Moody Association will be given use of the software free of charge by Gamban.
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 was found to block access to 99 per cent 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.”