The first application aimed at helping people who want to tackle their gambling habits has been designed in New Zealand.
Now, individuals, who feel gambling is no longer fun and has become a problem, are being asked to try the application for 12 weeks as part of a nationwide study aimed at checking whether the application would help them reduce or fully quit their gambling. It was the National Institute for Health Innovation at Auckland University that developed the mobile application, called Manaaki. Deakin University in Australia and the local organisation Hāpai Te Hauora also contributed to the app’s development.
Gayl Humphrey, who heads the institute study, described the new app as a support package that could be easily available to individuals who find it hard to deal with gambling-related harm. On the other hand, the study has been launched at the time when the coronavirus lockdown is being eased to support people who may be tempted to get back to their previous harmful gambling habits, as explained by the manager of Hāpai Te Hauora, Stephanie Erick.
Considering the coronavirus outbreak and the massive closures of pokie clubs and pubs, and TABs, about 50% of the gamblers shared they gambled less during the shutdown than they did before, according to the results of a survey that Nielsen and the Health Promotion Agency held in April 2020. However, online gambling participation rates rose during the lockdown, with 8% of gamblers taking part in online gambling activities for the first time and 12% of local gamblers having boosted their online gambling participation habits.
Manaaki App to Be Easily Accessible by Problem Gamblers Who Want to Reduce Their Gambling Habits
Hāpai Te Hauora’s manager explained that it was important for the organisation to provide a range of support for everyone who needed help to reduce their gambling. Ms Erick further noted that the development of such mobile services at unprecedented times when online gambling is getting more popular, makes sense.
Furthermore, she shared that local communities are failing to provide suitable support tools and platforms that could be accessed by a larger number of people and help them tackle the habit before it grows to gambling addiction.
Ms Erick highlighted that the world’s first application aimed at helping problem gamblers is easy to access. She described Manaaki as an app designed as a way to support individuals who want to help themselves deal with their harmful gambling by providing them with evidence-based treatment into a more easily accessible form that could be used anywhere, anytime.
Researchers have claimed that the app was aimed at filling a gap in the help that is available to gambling addicts, especially the ones who find it hard to access or use current services. The study, that is funded by contributions from the Health Research Council of New Zealand is set to check the effectiveness of the application, or in other words, whether the app would help research participants better manage their gambling habits or fully give them up.