If a bar or liquor store were fraudulently promoting themselves to alcoholics, what would you think? Imagine that an alcoholic, seeking help, finds an ad in the paper for a rehab. “Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings- Problem Drinkers Get Help.” He arrives to the “Meeting”, and finds himself at a buy 1 get 1 free beer night. He completely forgets his intent to quit and goes in to drink.
This is exactly what thousands of gambling and betting web sites do. They load their sites up with articles and content about compulsive gambling and how to quit gambling online. They give tips and advice about giving up gambling, while on the very same site – and even same page, they promote their gambling site. Don’t be fooled into thinking they are being responsible and this is a noble gesture to help people with serious gambling problems. It is far from that.
The online gambling industry is at the forefront of Internet marketing and adapting techniques to attract traffic. These betting, poker, bingo and casino websites know exactly what they are doing when they offer help to problem gamblers interested in stopping. They understand the gamblers problem and they love it.
The secret is in how Internet search works. At his lowest point, the gambler goes onto the internet to seek help for his gambling problem. He looks for gamblers anonymous, help to quit gambling, giving up poker, how to block gambling, etc. And in place of getting to websites that are truly created to help him stop gambling, he arrives to some article that half-heartedly encourages him to quit his habit while it enthusiastically offers another chance to win big at blackjack, bingo or sports betting. Jackpot! The gambling site succeeded to do exactly what it set out to do. It brought a gambler onto its site. A high percentage of such people will convert into paying customers.
This cynical use of someone’s moment of desperation should cause outrage. But proving intent may be difficult and in any case, many of those gambling websites are just not under any jurisdiction that would take an interest in checking the legality of what they do. They can always claim that they are sincerely trying to help gamblers with a problem.
The one method that can prevent gamblers from falling victim to this trick is a web filter. Block gambling sites with a web filter and prevent those sites from tempting the problem gambler.