Gamban Founder Wants To Aid US Gambling Industry’s Responsible Gambling Efforts

Written By Derek Helling on February 7, 2022 - Last Updated on June 8, 2022
Gamban Founder Wants To Aid US In Responsible Gambling.

The biggest sports betting day of the year is quickly approaching. For most, Super Bowl Sunday is an unofficial holiday, but for those who deal with pathological gambling issues, it isn’t all fun and games. Gamban responsible gambling tools can be a tremendous ally in that situation.

Gamban’s suite of products allows users to limit their exposure to gaming. They also give people new ways to take control over their potentially harmful behaviors. To what extent they will succeed depends on to what extent involved parties value safe play, though.

What are Gamban responsible gambling tools?

Gamban is software that blocks access to gambling apps and websites worldwide on web-enabled devices like computers, smartphones, and tablets. That’s crucial in the US right now because not all citizens have access to regulated gambling apps/sites.

Even for those who live in places with such access, licensee- or state-run self-exclusion programs can be insufficient to safeguard people with gambling problems from unregulated gambling apps and sites. Gamban’s blocker fills that gap.

In 2018, GambleAware (sort of the United Kingdom’s version of the National Council on Problem Gambling) commissioned a study to evaluate the effectiveness of blocking software. The report showed that Gamban was the most effective. For that reason, all the GamCare support networks in the UK provide Gamban free of charge to customers.

Could players in the US see a similar structure in the future? That depends on what priorities gambling companies hold highest as the proliferation of their products across the country continues.

US online gambling companies’ potential conflict of interest

It’s far from the case that existing regulated online gambling platforms don’t include any responsible gambling tools. The technology does exist and is highly accessible.

App users can set custom limits and even block themselves for no charge. PayPal also allows users to block transactions with gambling products.

However, that seems to act in a contrary way to the current trends in online gambling in the US. Jack Symons, the CEO and Founder of Gamban, elaborates on how he sees the market.

“The current state of online gambling in the US seems to be more about player acquisition, whatever the cost,” Symons stated. “By getting in front of the inevitable wave of harm and establishing player protection measures early on, US gambling platforms could learn from consequences in other regulated markets but I think this is unlikely due to the economics involved. There will be a downstream impact following the player acquisition ‘land-grab’ we’re seeing now. Quite how it looks, when it happens and the seismic effects it carries is all unknown. But it will come.”

Discussions have already surfaced to Symons’ point. For example, American Gaming Association President and CEO Bill Miller pointed out how regulators in other countries have installed caps on sports betting advertisements during a panel last year.

The NBA’s Senior Vice President, Scott Kaufman-Ross, also has warned of the damaging effects of marketing saturation.

Could gambling companies divert resources to tools like Gamban?

In Symons’ opinion, investment in responsible gambling includes the matter of whether gambling companies are looking for a quick payout or are in it for the long haul. That philosophy drives where those companies invest their resources.

“What we’ve found is that it depends on how the operator or affiliate views their audience,” Symons said. “Do they want players who gamble for entertainment or do they want problem gamblers? It’s the short-term ‘bleeding players dry’ or longer-term ‘little and often play.’  But not all operators are in it for the long run. Especially when you consider mergers, acquisitions, high value exists, and other competitive forces. When someone requests self-exclusion, the operator must know they will play on a [competitor’s] site in a matter of time, so it’s better to help them stop from further harm if possible. If the player decides to come back at a later stage, they’ll come back to the operator that helped them and didn’t leave them to suffer elsewhere. Bear in mind there’s a tendency to adopt a bystander effect when it comes to player exclusion; ‘so long as we did what we needed to do to cover ourselves.’ But there are thousands of gambling sites not only willing to accept you as a player but willing to offer a bonus to acquire you. And they’re not all regulated. That’s why blocking software is such a powerful proposition.”

While Europe’s past may serve as a warning for irresponsible conduct in the United States in the present, there is good news. It seems it’s possible to recover with a commitment to player safety.

If the present in Europe is the US’ future, that isn’t all bad

The need for sophisticated, responsible gambling tools in the US will continue to grow with each passing year as regulated online gambling becomes available in new US jurisdictions. Gamban hopes to build similar partnerships out of its office in New Jersey.

In Norway, it works with Norsk Tipping (that country’s national lottery) to provide Gamban protection. Symons says his company has also partnered with the Lloyds Banking Group and other financial institutions in the UK.

Symons also says that his company is open to having similar conversations with US counterparts. One of the areas where gambling companies, financial services, non-profit agencies, and regulators could immediately lend support is simply in raising awareness.

“If players don’t know about the tools before the point where they need them then it’s likely to be too late in preventing excessive harm,” Symons added. “So, any partnership we form is based primarily around raising awareness and visibility of Gamban as a resource.”

Hopefully, that will be a resource that many avail themselves of this Super Bowl Sunday and beyond. As the accessibility of gambling grows, so does the need for robust protection systems.

Photo by Dogora Sun / Shutterstock.com
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including legislation and litigation in the gaming industry. He enjoys reading hundreds of pages of a gambling bill or lawsuit for his audience. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa.

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