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Call for evidence response – gambling blocking software

In 2019, the Gambling Commission conducted a call for evidence on gambling blocking software.

Published: 23 December 2020

Last updated: 23 December 2020

This version was printed or saved on: 4 December 2021

Online version: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/consultation-response/call-for-evidence-response-gambling-blocking-software

We asked

In 2019, the Gambling Commission conducted a call for evidence (alongside a consultation on proposed changes to LCCP requirements for customer interaction and alternative dispute resolution), on gambling website blocking software.

We wanted to obtain views on the role of gambling blocking software as a support tool for consumers, including whether we should extend the existing expectation that operators should signpost blocking software to consumers and require operators to provide access to gambling blocking software free of charge to customers.

You said

We received 72 responses to the call for evidence from charities, members of the public, trade bodies and other interested parties.

The majority agreed that gambling blocking software was a positive tool that could help an individual control their access to gambling related websites, so long as it was installed on all accessible devices and there were measures put in place to prevent circumvention of the software.

Many respondents indicated that blocking software is most useful in conjunction with other support such as treatment and self-exclusion. There were mixed responses on the issue of how blocking software should be made available and who should bear the cost ranging from gambling businesses, the Commission or individuals themselves being responsible for continuing to fund the software either before or after the initial subscription period.

We did

Since the call for evidence, we have worked with partners to understand more fully the role of gambling blocking software. We agree with the respondents who highlighted the particular value of blocking software for consumers who also accessed other forms of support and as a result decided against a further requirement on gambling operators in favour of supporting a comprehensive offer for consumers. GambleAware funded free blocking software for people accessing treatment under the National Gambling Treatment Service for 12 months.

Following this period, there was an interest from treatment providers, those with an interest in self-exclusion and blocking software providers in offering blocking software as part of a comprehensive package of tools. This resulted in the Talk-Ban-Stop pilot which has launched December 2020, under which GamCare, GamSTOP and Gamban have come together to offer blocking software to those accessing the helpline or accessing self-exclusion.

This has been partly funded through regulatory settlement funding approved by the Gambling Commission, and there will be a full evaluation to help understand the impact of the package of tools for consumers and to make recommendations for future provision which may be relevant for commissioning bodies and charities. More information is available on the GamCare website (opens in new tab).