A new partnership between Time Out Ohio (TOO) and Gamban offers Ohio gamblers one year of free access to the software that blocks over 70,000 international gambling websites and apps—across multiple devices.
With the deal between the Ohio Lottery Commission’s (OLC) timeout program and the UK-based developer, Ohio joins Pennsylvania in giving players free access to the tool that blocks online bets.
According to Cleveland19, Matt Zarb-Cousin, Gamban’s co-founder, praised Ohio’s efforts:
Time Out Ohio is a fantastic voluntary program that helps individuals who are at risk at a time when gambling harm is increasing. Our goal is to help people regain control and balance of their life without compromising on the benefits of new technology.
We hope other states will follow the lead of Ohio, which has been incredibly forward-thinking at a time when mobile sports betting across the US is growing rapidly.
Gamban Makes Online Self-Exclusion Easy
Through TOO, Ohio players could already self-exclude from brick-and-mortar casinos for one or five years. Alternatively, users can opt for lifetime exclusion.
Under that self-exclusion program, players face removal and forfeiture of any winnings if caught defying the ban. Further, they face potential criminal trespass charges and a clash with Ohio’s justice system.
Thanks to the Gamban introduction, gamblers who need help staying away from Ohio online gambling can now access a free year of bet-blocking.
Jimmie Hicks, Ohio Lottery’s deputy director of responsible gambling, told Cleveland19:
A Gamban one-year subscription is being offered at no cost to anyone looking for protection from mobile sports betting and other online gambling coupled with Time Out Ohio or as a stand-alone protection.
Notably, the partnership aims to offer complete support for those who self-exclude from gambling.
Consequently, the deal allows individuals to sign up for Gamban alone or in tandem with TOO. In the former, only online betting is out-of-bounds. In contrast, choosing to exclude from both will bar access to gambling online and in person.
Additionally, according to TOO’s Gamban information page, Ohioans can self-exclude solely from online sports betting if desired.
Gamban’s ability to block illegal gambling sites makes it “essential,” Amanda Blackford told Clevelend19.
Blackford, OLC’s director of operations and responsible gaming, said:
We view Gamban as an essential tool for those who struggle with gambling online. Time Out is a tool for legal-based blocking, but Gamban protects individuals from the illegal market as well and those beyond the Commissions’ authority.
Blocking Software Attracts Black Market Parasites
While the benefits of blocking tools are many, like anything, there can be unintended consequences.
One of Gamban’s selling points is that installing the software is easy. but removing it is hard. The trouble is that some gamblers who’ve opted into Gamban later become keen to find a way around it, which may indicate a worsening gambling problem.
As a result, the world’s worst and most predatory black market gambling sites specifically target players trying to circumvent the block.
Gamstop, a similar blocking software, is a popular tool for self-exclusion in the UK. As a result, there’s a battle among shady, illegal sites and their affiliates over search terms like “non-gamstop casinos.”
Unfortunately, these affiliates use guest posts on otherwise legitimate websites—including high-profile ones like Yahoo Finance—to boost their profile on Google.
Bonus recently found one particularly egregious example in the Washington City Paper. An op-ed seemingly advocating for Gamstop as a solution to US problem gambling was actually being used as a vehicle for links to an affiliate’s non-Gamstop casinos page and a separate article encouraging players to circumvent their ban and showing them where to find illegal casinos serving US customers.
With Gamban now part of problem gambling toolkits in Ohio and Pennsylvania, similar deceptions will likely become more common. Regulators in these states should consider how they’ll respond when these sponsored posts appear locally.