In an effort to minimize problem gamblers on the Internet, Gamblers Anonymous in Scotland is planning to use the Internet for assistance.
Gamblers Anonymous has announced that it plans to roll out Skype, which allows phone calls over the Internet to be made free from the Highlands and other small communities with poor transport links.
Based in Glasgow, the charity will launch the program later this year. They are purchasing 50 VOIP telephones which enable members to make calls via broadband and have the ability to connect with as many as 12 problem gamblers. The meetings will be chaired by a senior GA volunteer based at a central location such as Edinburgh or Inverness.
The charity believes it will save thousands of pounds in the long term over their current land-line systems of phone conferencing.
“There are people in places like Portree Arran and parts of southern Ayrshire, Dumfries, and Galloway who can’t travel the long distances to their nearest meetings in Inverness or Carlisle,” a Gambler’s Anonymous spokesman said. “People in these communities are as vulnerable to Internet gambling as people in the big cities who have meetings on their doorstep.”
Gamblers Anonymous is also planning to upgrade its website, www.gascotland.org, which receives 600 hits a month, to include message boards for members to swap advice and support.
Crawford Moodie, a psychologist at Glasgow Caledonian University, who has conducted several studies on gambling, said: “I think using Skype to reach remote communities is a fantastic idea. It’s more good news after a week which saw the super-casinos put on hold.”