Three responsible gaming awareness organisations – GamCare, GamBan and Gamstop – have joined together to launch a 12 month pilot, starting today.
The pilot, known as TalkBanStop, will offer free tools to support problem gamblers in managing their betting behaviours, with the aim of helping those struggling over the Christmas period.
Support will be provided via trained advisors available on GamCare’s National Gambling Helpline; Gamban’s blocking software which can deny access to thousands of gambling websites and apps; and Gamstop’s self-exclusion programme that prevents users from creating new accounts and accessing existing ones with all UK online betting operators.
The launch coincides with the release of a film in which former footballer Michael Chopra speaks with Chris Gilham about their shared experience of gambling addiction and their respective roads to recovery.
In a statement, GamCare CEO Anna Hemmings said: “After a particularly challenging year when many have been impacted by job losses and reduced income, Christmas can be a difficult time for those struggling to stop gambling.
“The TalkBanStop campaign sends a message of hope to those who are struggling with gambling but don’t know how to start their recovery journey, by providing free tools and support that give breathing space to reflect on what’s going on. The first step is simply talking to someone.
“There is support out there to help you make empowered choices about your recovery, and we urge anyone suffering in silence to be inspired by Michael and Chris. They show it can happen to anyone, but if they can get through it, so can you.”
The three organisations have also been concerned with the increase in online gambling activity during the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns.
Using the TalkBanStop website, users can easily contact each service and get tips on how to block access to gambling websites via banks.
Gambling Commission CEO Neil McArthur has been supportive of the new pilot, commenting: “Christmas can be a challenging time for those experiencing gambling related harm so we are particularly pleased with this collaborative approach to offer joined up and comprehensive services to consumers.
“We are also happy to approve funding of the blocking software pilot and evaluation element of this work through the distribution of regulatory settlement money to properly identify what works.”