For those with a gambling problem, knowing how to block gambling sites – be it paying for a service or using a free gambling blocker – is a potentially vital step on the road to recovery.
The Gambling Commission’s annual report for 2019 found that 0.5% of respondents were classed as ‘problem gamblers’; a YouGov survey, commissioned by GambleAware, put the number in the UK at 2.7% of the population, or around 1.4 million people.
Yet, only 9,008 people were treated for gambling problems in the UK across 2019/20, based on GambleAware’s annual report.
If you feel you have a gambling problem, starting to block gambling sites can give you time to reassess your habits, or help provide the clean break needed to stop gambling outright.
What are gambling site blocks?
Gambling blockers are types of software that prevent you from accessing gambling sites. They can be installed or downloaded on all devices, including your Windows PC and Mac, as well as your smartphone or tablet.
Once the gambling site block is in place, you will be unable to reach most gambling sites.
However, it is important to note that these gambling blockers aren’t foolproof, and should be used as part of a wider series of anti-gambling measures.
What sites can I use to block gambling sites?
There are a number of different gambling blockers available for you to use. Below are some of the most notable options, as recommended by UK charities GamCare and GambleAware and lobbying group the Campaign for Fairer Gambling.
If you are a UK resident, Gamban is free through TalkBanStop. TalkBanStop is a partnership between Gamban and the UK charities GamCare and GAMSTOP, designed to provide support throughout each step of the recovery process.
To use Gamban’s free gambling blocker, you first need to contact one of GamCare’s advisers through the National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133 or via live chat on the site.
Once you have received and installed your free licence, you will be unable to access thousands of gambling sites.
Gamban also represents one of the harder breaks with gambling – the site claims that you will be unable to uninstall the software or app once it has been downloaded.
Another free gambling blocker is BetBlocker, which is available to download not only on Windows PC, Mac, iOS and Android, but Linux, Fire OS and Huawei.
There are no limits to the number of devices you can install BetBlocker on, nor the number of times it can be installed for free.
After installing BetBlocker, you set your Gambling Self-Restriction period, from 24 hours up to 5 years. Once chosen, you will be unable to remove BetBlocker until the period has elapsed.
Netnanny is a generic website blocker and monitoring service, often used by parents to control online activity but which can also be used to block gambling sites.
A 5 device pass, covering Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and Fire OS, costs $79.99 a year, while a 20 device pass costs $129.99.
Since it is not designed with the sole purpose of blocking gambling sites in mind, Netnanny may be easier for compulsive gamblers to work around than Gamban or BetBlocker.
If you are to use Netnanny, it might be worth considering having someone you trust set the ‘Parent’ password.
Can I use online banking to block gambling sites?
Alongside using gambling blockers to prevent access to those sites, you can use online banking services to freeze payments to gambling providers.
Each bank has a slightly different procedure for blocking gambling payments, but most will allow you to do so from inside their banking apps.
How to block gambling sites
Below is a guide to which gambling blocking services you can download and install for Windows PC and Mac.
To use the gambling blockers, visit your chosen site and follow their download instructions.
How to block gambling sites on Windows PC
- Goodbye Gambling
How to block gambling sites on Mac
- Goodbye Gambling
How to block gambling sites on a mobile
Like with your personal computer, different gambling blocker apps may only work on either iOS or Android.
These apps can be found on the App Store and Google Play Store respectively.
How to block gambling sites on iPhone
How to block gambling sites on Android
- Goodbye Gambling
Will blocking software stop me gambling?
If you have a problem, using blocking software alone will unlikely be enough to stop you from gambling. It is just one tool that can be used to regain control.
You should also consider pairing gambling blockers with self-exclusion which will prevent you from accessing gambling platforms. GAMSTOP helps you to self-exclude from all online UK-licensed gambling providers, while the Multi Operator Self Exclusions Scheme covers in-shop betting.
What’s more, the value in talking to someone about your gambling problems cannot be underestimated.
If you don’t feel that you have someone in your life you can talk to, then contact a service like Gamblers Anonymous, GamCare or Gambling Therapy.
And if you are suffering with gambling debt, there are a number of charities which provide advice and assistance. These range from debt management plans to conversations around bankruptcy. The important thing to remember is that you are not alone and help is at hand.
Image source: Getty Images
One of the best tools for getting gambling help is self-exclusion. By self-excluding, you will be prevented from accessing your online betting accounts for up to 5 years. Below we look at ways to manage your gambling problem, and how to self-exclude from both online providers and betting shops.
Gambling debt is the money owed as the result of gambling activity – that could be to a specific gambling provider, or to creditors used to fund your betting. The severity of your debt may require you to stop gambling and seek help. Learn what steps you can take to stop gambling and clear your debt.