GambleAware Ireland too underfunded to take calls on helpline during World CupLuke Haward, CDC Gaming Reports · July 12, 2018 at 3:23 pmNot to be confused with the well-known UK charity Gamble Aware – the services are entirely separate – GambleAware Ireland is an industry-funded responsible gambling service based in Ireland that a recent expose in The Times revealed is so severely underfunded that its self-help line for problem gamblers has been non-functional for the past month. The service is largely funded by the gambling industry, with help from National Lottery funds, and is run by the Irish Responsible Gambling Board.A quote from Director John Purcell indicated that funding from gambling operators had “dried up” but that was unaware that the volunteer-run service had been failing to answer any calls during the past four weeks, during the peak of the World Cup tournament. Mr. Purcell also stated that he had sought renewed funding from industry bodies as recently as May of this year.The investigation also took a statement from the Irish Bookmakers’ Association. Chairwoman Sharon Byrne acknowledged that the Irish Responsible Gambling Board had contacted the IBA seeking funding support. She said none been provided since the service did not meet certain required standards, such as having a manned phone support service rather than one routed to volunteers’ phones. Ms. Byrne also mentioned the need for face-to-face counselling services.The service essentially seems to have failed without those running it being fully aware of its failure, despite its being one of the most high-profile support services in Ireland. Such a situation occurring to a high-profile service partially funded by the National Lottery is, it’s reasonable to say, alarming. TV ads running during the World Cup have been directing users to the website for support.Mr. Purcell has since set the GambleAware.ie website to redirect to the fully operational service Problem Gambling Ireland, with a banner on the site saying, “If you have been redirected here from the GambleAware website, this is due to the fact that Gamble Aware Ireland’s services have shut down.”A spokesman for Problem Gambling Ireland also said that several callers to their service had mentioned being unable to contact Gamble Aware.