German Federal Center for Health Education Taking Action to Help Problem Gamblers
For the first time in the country’s history, Germany’s Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) has launched the first nationwide day devoted to raising awareness about problem gambling. Beginning this year, September 25 will be recognised yearly as Gambling Addiction Awareness Day in Germany.
The goal is to better educate German citizens and civilian gamblers about the dangers of gambling addiction and the importance of holding yourself accountable when gambling. Especially important today when casinos are pushing free bonus promotions along with other perks at a higher rate than ever. With more people becoming interested in gambling and therefore being exposed to the risks of gambling addiction, many German citizens feel Gambling Addiction Awareness Day is long overdue.
The BZgA has chosen the slogan “Don’t play until you’re addicted” or “Spiel nicht bis zur Glücksspielsucht” and announced the release of a new online platform called “Check your Play” that can be found at Check-dein-Spiel.de.
“A day dedicated to raising awareness about an issue that affects the lives of millions of people is long overdue,” says Max Zimmer from Casinovergleich.eu. “We think it’s wonderful that Germany’s Federal Center for Health Education has recognised the importance of this issue.”
The day, known as Aktionstag Glücksspielsucht 2019, provides extra information, to anyone interested in learning more about gambling and gambling addiction. Citizens will have access to information on the various kinds of gambling that are accessible in Germany and the unique risks they pose to players who may be more at risk for gambling addiction.
People in Germany will also be granted access to a self-test that they can use to find out if they could be addicted to gambling or if they are displaying warning signs of potentially troubling gambling behaviour. If they take the test and receive either result, they are then given further steps they can take to change their behaviour before it becomes a destructive, life-ruining habit.
Included in the information shared, will be sources for those who are ready and willing to seek help. Fortunately, Germany has the resources necessary to address and treat those struggling with gambling addiction adequately. But naturally, most hope that it won’t come to that.
BZgA Chief Dr. Heidrun Thaiss has recognised the importance of raising awareness on the issue and stated that is it “important to inform people.” He also hopes to “make them aware of the addictive native of gambling before they develop problems.”
The Federal Ministry of Health subsidiary reported that approximately 1.5 million people aged 16 to 70 say they have played slot machines at least once in the past year. Slot machines are reportedly particularly popular among Germans aged 18 to 25. This is important to note given that addiction rates are statistically higher among slots players compared to other types of betting such as lottery or sports betting.
The BZgA also reported 500,000 people across Germany to have compulsive gambling issues. Approximately 120,000 of those people are slot players. Dr. Thaiss explained “Frequent repeated gambling can be a sign of addiction risk. Not everyone is aware of this, especially as there are different risks associated with each form of gambling.”
The Ministry is confident that the information they are providing, as well as the techniques they are using to distribute the information, will be particularly effective at raising awareness and helping the cause. The kind of addiction a gambler experiences can vary depending on their game of choice.
Dr. Thaiss added, “This is why the BZgA is offering online and offline information and counselling services, in several languages, for gamblers and their relatives.”’
The public will also be handed flyers, printed in several languages, to further promote the campaign. In the meantime, you can allow the campaign to inspire you to conduct your own research into the signs of gambling addiction, so you are better able to spot a potential problem before it becomes a major problem.
The hope is that anyone who would otherwise feel uncomfortable to talk about or address gambling addiction, feels that they now have the platform to do so. The ministry hopes that in the long run, Germany will see less citizens struggling with gambling addiction, and instead be a country where people can enjoy gambling the way it’s meant to be enjoyed.