Helping problem gamblers online: An evaluation of GamAid

Abstract

AIM: To evaluate the GamAid pilot service against its stated aims; evaluate client feedback in relation to the overall relevance and usability of the service; and determine if GamAid provides additionality to existing services. DESIGN: During the evaluation period, 413 distinct clients contacted an advisor. GamAid advisors identified gender for 304 clients of which 71% (n = 216) were male and 29% (n = 88) were female. Data were collected on preferred location of gambling for the 304 gamblers of known gender. RESULTS: Gambling online was the most preferred gambling location of GamAid clients both as a total sample (28%) and by gender (31% males and 19% females). Almost three-quarters of the participants (72%) were from the UK. However, a significant minority of participants (28%) accessed the GamAid services 3 from other English speaking countries and jurisdictions including the USA (21%), Australia (1%), Canada (1%) and Hong Kong (1%). Two-thirds of the online participants reported that they were experiencing gambling problems themselves (65%). Approximately a quarter of the participants wanted help for a friend or relative (26%). The remaining participants (9%) sought help and advice on specific issues. CONCLUSIONS: The service appears to appeal to females more than other current services. More than half the users of the service had never sought any other kind of help for their gambling problem. The service appears to offer immediate, easily accessible, and affordable support. The service is perceived as having a high degree of confidentiality, and favoured by those who are not comfortable talking on the phone or face-to-face. The service provides help and/or information when no other services (with the exception of telephone helplines) are locally available. The service is one of the few genuinely international services available. Overall, the vast majority of clients were very positive about their experience of using GamAid. The service is not 24-hour so clients cannot always talk to an advisor. There are some minor technical compatibility issues for some users. The service does not work on some corporate systems (e.g. workplace, universities etc.). The service needs the latest version of FlashPlayer to be installed.

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