By Simon Wright Jan 6, 2022
A recent thread came to light within the forum here on Casinomeister, which highlighted some knowledge gaps in the community about what BetBlocker is and how it functions.
So we sat down and spoke with Duncan Garvie the Founder and Trustee of BetBlocker.org, who has kindly put together for us some FAQs which our forum members may have concerning BetBlocker and how it actually works.
How Much Does BetBlocker Cost?
Nothing. BetBlocker is run as a charity and receives its funding from industry donations. It is free for all users from any country and you can download it as many times as you want/need.
We have never charged users for access to BetBlocker because asking gambling addicts for help is exacerbating the financial hardships they are experiencing. Charging for this type of service would only ensure that those most in need of the help are least likely to be able to access it.
What are the technical benefits of operating as a charity?
There are several other significant advantages to operating as a charity:
– Length of block – There are a growing number of commercial blocking softwares on the market. These tools charge a subscription fee. For this reason, the blocks that they offer have to align with their subscription renewal periods.
As we do not charge subscriptions, this restriction does not exist for BetBlocker. We can offer blocks of any length that we choose. Currently, we offer a range of blocks of between 24 hours and 5 years.
– Type of Block – The lack of subscription fee also allows us to offer non-continuous blocks. This means that you can plan ahead and set the restriction to come on when you need it.
Want to make sure your bills are paid before gambling anything? Schedule the restriction to switch on for a week after each of your pay days.
Have a family holiday coming up and want to make sure you are not distracted by gambling? Plan ahead and restrict your access for the duration.
Bad for gambling too much after a drink? Select for the restriction to trigger on the days you know you are likely to indulge.
– Privacy – As we do not need to take payments from our users, we do not need to know who they are. We do not ask users to register accounts or provide contact details. The only time we have contact details for any of our users is where they contact User Support to request technical assistance and we purge this information periodically.
The benefits of this are two-fold – no-one has to know if you use BetBlocker and there is no possibility of your information being misused due to a privacy breach.
Is BetBlocker Perfect?
Any blocking software that tells you that there is no way round it is lying. There are ways round the restriction on every platform, but we work very hard to make them as difficult as possible to locate.
If you happen to have found one, please do not post about it on forums. Nothing positive comes from doing so. You are not ‘shaming’ us into fixing it. You are simply increasing the chances that BetBlocker will fail for other people experiencing the same challenges as yourself.
Don’t National Self-Exclusion Schemes do the same job?
National Self-Exclusion schemes are a great undertaking and do a LOT of good. They are tackling the same problem as BetBlocker from a different direction.
However, they are not perfect. There are loopholes in all National Self-Exclusion schemes that BetBlocker addresses.
The first is that National Self-Exclusion schemes look for operators to detect an excluded player and prevent them from accessing. There are a lot of ways that this can fail.
BetBlocker does not requiring matching your details to a restricted list. It blocks the device it is installed on from accessing gambling domains. This is a far simpler procedure with fewer points of potential failure.
The second is the ‘Black Market’, but I will discuss that in a moment.
I will say again – National Self-Exclusion schemes are a great tool for anyone looking to stop gambling. I am not saying BetBlocker is a better choice. Quite the opposite. BetBlocker is far stronger when used in conjunction with a National Self-Exclusion scheme. National Self-Exclusion schemes are far stronger when used in conjunction with BetBlocker.
Does BetBlocker restrict unlicensed operators (the Black Market)?
This is the other major benefit of using BetBlocker in conjunction with a National Self-Exclusion scheme. Any license based restriction will only prevent you accessing licensed operators. BetBlocker is not licensed based so can restrict ANY gambling operator.
That said, there are challenges to restricting unlicensed operators which I will briefly outline below.
With operators licensed by reputable regulatory systems (read – “not Curacao”) it is trivial to ensure that all licensed properties are restricted. The regulator will maintain license pages/lists. We have tools that crawl these pages regularly and add any new urls to our restricted list.
Unlicensed operators are more challenging to identify. There is no centralised list of these operators that can be checked via automation. We have some internal processes where we manually look for new unlicensed operators, but these are far from perfect especially when it comes to localised operators (an operator who is targeting a specific country).
However, despite this difficulty, BetBlocker is very effective at blocking unlicensed operators. How? Our users.
Our app includes a ‘Suggest a Site’ feature. We receive scores of requests every day to add new sites to our restriction. While most of these are technical issues that could be resolved by the user clearing their browser cache, they also help us identify and include sites our restriction misses.
It only takes one person to report a missed site for the gap to be fixed for everyone. We have thousands of users actively using the app every day meaning that gaps in the restriction get closed very quickly.
If you have other questions, feel free to send them to the Casinomeister team and I will do my best to answer them so this article can be updated.
Founder and Trustee
Editor’s note: There is a section of the forum for members that want to Quit Gambling. Also a section here as well offering tips on how to quit gambling or just cut down a bit.