Online Responsible Gambling Tool Given Green Light
By James Mc
A pilot service that was launched to help control and monitor online gambling behaviour has received so much endorsement that it is now set to be fully integrated within the industry later this month.

gamAid will be the first online service providing instant, real-time, one-to-one professional guidance for remote gamblers whose gambling activities are out of control or for those who wish to better understand the concepts of responsible gaming.

The new service which has been piloted on a trial basis for the last six months has already hosted over 55,000 visits, providing 1000 one-to-one help sessions between April and July alone. The service already has the endorsement of a number of the industry’s leading lights who are already employing the system such as Betfair, Ladbrokes, SportingOdds, VIP, Camelot, BetMax, DigiBet and Playboy.

Donald Bone, chief executive officer of UK based gamAid, explained, 'With the changes of the Gambling Act coming into force in 2007 we can already provide a practical way for gambling operators worldwide to fulfil their social responsibilities, by offering the only tool that helps firms to meet the demands of the UK Gambling Commission.”

'On-line advice is tailored to a client's needs and includes one-to-one consultations and information about managing a gambling habit. We also provide on-line links to support services, forums and specialist counselling local to the client, in whatever country they live.'

gamAid has been under evaluation at the International Gaming Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University, who found that the service appealed to many people who had not previously sought help. Approximately one player in every hundred clicked on the button (found on the websites of endorsing operators) with roughly 1 in 50 of those seeking personal help. It was particularly popular with women who found it to be a more acceptable and confidential method of receiving help.

The initial pilot has been supported by the Responsibility in Gambling Trust

(RIGT) and gamAid is hopeful of an imminent announcement of further funding to expand the service to all gamblers based in the UK.

Sue Schneider, President and CEO of River City Group commented at this year's Global Interactive Gaming Summit in Canada. 'In order to tackle problem gambling, operators must clearly understand that preventative measures must be put in place for when users think things may be getting out of hand. gamAid is able to provide a wonderful on-line help service for those with a gambling problem.'

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