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The Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to problem gambling prevention.

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Problem Gambling? There's an App for that

by Barry Koen-Butt | Sep 07, 2012 02:06 PM

Newscan (Vol. 14, Issue 35)

People who choose to gamble have greater access and a growing variety of options thanks to technology. They can pick up their mobile communication devices while commuting or waiting in line and gamble on online poker sites and casinos. Lottery tickets are available on the web in some jurisdictions and even Facebook launched its first real money gambling App in the UK, Bingo Friendzy by Gamesys, opening the door for more countries and more gaming companies to follow suit.

A new generation of gamblers

“Advances in technology are generating a new generation of gamblers. These players are typically younger and technology savvy,” says RGC CEO Jon Kelly. “They represent the future growth of electronic, online and mobile gambling and they are erasing the traditional distinctions between gambling and gaming. We cannot continue to rely exclusively on the traditional solutions when it comes to problem gambling prevention.”

Since more and more people are accessing news and information on their mobile communications devices it only makes sense to provide problem gambling prevention information using the same tools. At least three problem gambling prevention/treatment Apps are already available. All of them provide information and/or help that is immediate, accessible and easy to use—at the players' fingertips.

Problem Gambling Apps

Cost2Play 

For people who gamble, it’s difficult to know just how much it costs to play—small individual losses can add up. So RGC built the Cost2Play Calculator, which is downloadable free for Android, or can be used online. Cost2Play is a tool that helps people to understand the long-term costs involved in popular casino games: slots, blackjack and roulette.

Mobile Monitor Your Gambling & Urges (MYGU) 

The Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario (PGIO) at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) created Mobile Monitor Your Gambling & Urges (MYGU), an App that promotes self-awareness of gambling behaviours. This educational tool can gather important information about gambling behaviours and report back to the gambler:

  • The date and time they experienced an urge to gamble
  • What triggers their urges to gamble (e.g., having money, feeling bored or lonely)
  • What activities they do instead of gambling
  • Wins and losses when they gambled
  • Their feelings—if they gambled or didn’t gamble
  • Consequences—if they gambled or didn’t gamble

The App is not only a valuable tool for the user to track or resist gambling urges, it can also complement counselling sessions and provide valuable information to therapists.

Cassava 

Created by Elements Behavioural Health, the Cassava Recovery App is a recovery App with trigger alerts, a visual journal, and a directory of phone numbers for support anywhere in the US, Canada, and some international offices. Users can add friends and share meetings, track progress and challenges, and get a daily positive message. It also enables them to track any setbacks, issues or achievements.

Grabbing people's attention is key

The RGC Centre for the Advancement of Best Practices’ Insight 2010: Informed Decision Making noted that personalized and targeted delivery methods are critical. As the report states:

The vast majority of gamblers are not actively seeking information to help them make more informed decision about their gambling. To get noticed and to reach the gambling sub-groups, information provision needs to include attention-grabbing, creative tactics to generate interest and motivation.

“With the expansion of gambling options facilitated by technology, it is essential that problem gambling prevention keep pace. The RG sector needs to continue to be innovative, focused and engaging.” says Kelly.

This post was updated with new links for Cost2Play and Cassava on December 7, 2016.