Online gambling help going live this month

A service called gamAid that provides instant online help to people with gambling problems has the green light to go live this month after a six-month trial. The service has already had more than 55,000 visits and provided 1,000 one-to-one help session during the first four months of its trial.

With gamAid, online gamblers can find instant, real-time, one-to-one access to professional help when they feel like they're losing control of their gambling or if they're interested in learning more about responsible gambling.

"gamAid gives our clients access to help and information that they may not otherwise receive. Providing easy access to information assists us greatly in meeting our social obligations," said Sue Harley, compliance director at Ladbrokes, owner of Ladbrokes Poker.

Ladbrokes and Betfair Poker are just two of several gambling site operators who are already using gamAid. Sites can make gamAid available to their players by placing an active button on key pages of their site. Players will be able to click the button and get instant, direct access to a trained advisor for help.

"Online advice is tailored to a client's needs and includes one-to-one consultations and information about managing a gambling habit," said Tony Roberts, gamAid manager. "We also provide online links to support services, forums, and specialist counseling local to the client in whatever country they live."

Currently, gamAid is the only service that helps gambling sites meet the demands of the U.K. Gambling Commission, which will implement changes to the new Gambling Act in 2007 and require that all gaming firms be in compliance at that time. The company is also working with regulators to provide a best practice use of gamAid to ensure that the gamAid button is prominently displayed on every operator's site in the future.

"In order to tackle problem gambling, operators must clearly demonstrate that not only do they operate an honest, fair and informative site, but they also need to understand that, like anything addictive, preventative measures must be put in place for when users think things may be getting out of hand," said Sue Schneider, president and CEO of the River City Group at this year's Global Interactive Gaming Summit in Canada. "gamAid is able to provide a wonderful on-line help service for those with a gambling problem."

For more information, visit www.gamAid.com.

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