Win big fast! An evaluation of mobile applications available in Australia for problem gambling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

With the increase in availability of gambling applications (apps) for mobile phones, it has never been easier for individuals to access gaming systems. A proportion of these users will be affected by gambling disorder (GD). Traditional therapies for GD can be geographically and financially difficult to access. Mobile health apps can be useful for other addictions and provide another avenue of treatment for GD. Our objective in this study was to review the features, models of treatment, and aims of apps marketed to assist people in addressing their gambling. We searched the three largest app stores in Australia and performed a descriptive analysis based on the Mobile App Rating Scale of the apps purporting to be of assistance in managing GD or problem gambling. The number of apps available for addressing GD in Australia was vastly outnumbered by the number of apps for gambling or gaming. Apps that met the inclusion criteria most often aimed at total cessation of gambling, but did not use a recognizable therapeutic model. A majority of apps featured a single tool, most often a sober time tracker. Few of the apps were affiliated with existing services, and those that were tended to have a broader range of features and tools. Mobile apps present another way for individuals who are struggling with GD or problem gambling to access treatment. For apps to be effective, more attention needs to be paid to their design in order for them to be both useful and noticeable in the milieu of more invitingly designed apps that promote gambling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-121
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Gambling Issues
Volume45
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

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