Concern adviser “voice of the players” fights against gambling addiction
Published by Giselle
June 28, 2019 3:48 pm
Never again will Karl W. experience such mental torments as he suffered until the final stop of the game in August 2016.
Today he is a member of the “Ready to be affected” of the “Landesstelle Glücksspielsucht Bayern” (State office for gambling addiction Bavaria) and is active for more player protection. Above all, Karl W. would like to have one thing banned.
For humans with problematic gambling behaviour, Casinos can become like the gaming house in bath Kissingen the doom.
Even who puts up to the neck in debts does not come to the Räson. Play addiction is according to Karl W. (name changed) a devilish thing, against which reason nothing can align: I wish nobody to put in this cycle. The 53-year-old from the Main-Spessart district was himself in this swamp for 30 years.
Today it is active in the concerning adviser of the federal state place gambling addiction Bavaria for more player protection. Above all, gambling advertisement would let Karl W. forbid at best completely.
Never again would Karl W. like to experience such mental torments, which he had suffered up to the final play stop in August 2016. He constantly had to lie to his girlfriend. He had to invent reasons for his financial disaster. The addiction to gambling also cost him an enormous amount of money:
“I cancelled my home loan and savings contract and my life insurance.”
His downfall was that, after divorcing his wife, he lived above a restaurant where he helped out in addition to his regular job: “There were three machines, I had the key and therefore access to them at all times.
You just can’t stop, that’s the fatal thing, says W.: “Almost nobody can get out on their own”. W., too, only managed this with 16-week inpatient therapy. A good year after his discharge in February 2017, he joined the newly founded “Betroffenenbeirat Bayern – Stimme der SpielerInnen” (Bavarian Advisory Council on Concerned Persons – Voice of Players) of the Landesstelle Glücksspielsucht Bayern (Bavarian State Office for Gambling Addiction). This includes twelve former victims. Such a committee is unique in Germany. On 27 June, the members will present their work at the tenth Bavarian Congress on Gambling in Munich.
The vending machine industry knows no pardon, says W. Well aware of the devastating consequences of gambling addiction, he believes that it constructs devices in such a way that the potential for addiction is particularly high: “You make a lot out of it. But the state also earns billions from gambling: “That’s a big problem.” Perhaps that’s why regulations are knitted in such a way that they don’t work properly. This would make it relatively easy to circumvent many of the provisions of the “Regulation on playground equipment and other games with a chance of winning”.
Even Klaus H. (name changed), Karl W.’s colleague on the advisory board, once succumbed to gambling addiction. H. is 49 years old and lives in the district of Schwandorf. He was fascinated by gambling as a child, says the independent craftsman:
“In the beginning, it was the winner of three marks as a seven-year-old boy on a device that flashes and dudels, as well as the big teddy bear as the main prize at the lottery booth.”
At the age of 16, he was fascinated by the fact that you could make money with play equipment: “I had to have this feeling of happiness more and more often. At the age of 18, he already invested more money than he could win.
From his own sorrowful experience, H. wants to bring to the public what gambling can do: “We try to point out grievances in connection with gambling and gambling providers in the advisory board for those affected”. At the age of 27, he saw no other way out than to kill himself, H. survived. He looked for a self-help group and was free of games for three years – but the relapse came: “After that, I had to gamble for another 20 years”. One and a half years ago he was free of games thanks to inpatient therapy and the help of a Caritas consultant.
The 52-year-old Silvia F., also a member of the advisory board, finds clear words: “Gambling is the perfect and perfidious branch of industry for a money printing machine legally”.
The worldwide turnover through gambling had long since left the “drug business” behind. “Even if a part of it flows into social commitment, gambling revenues for me are “blood money,” says the spokeswoman.
Millions of people paid for these sales with quality of life and health. Silvia F. calls on politicians to put the industry in its place: “And without delay”.
After all, conditions have improved noticeably in recent years, says Melanie Arnold, Managing Director of the Bavarian Academy for Addiction and Health Issues (BAS): “Politicians have reacted. Gambling addiction was officially recognized as an illness. This has made it easier to finance counselling and treatment. There are 24 half jobs in Bavaria that offer help to people with gambling problems,” Arnold explains. Nevertheless, as far as the design of player protection in practice is concerned, “there is still plenty of room for improvement”.
BAS very much welcomes the fact that there are people who do not perceive their passion for gambling as a blemish, which they try to hide by all means, but who courageously go public as affected persons. Self-help must be included as an indispensable component in the help system for affected players and their relatives, says Arnold. According to Arnold, people who are themselves affected by gambling addiction enjoy special credibility: “We are therefore convinced that the advisory board makes a decisive contribution to the fight for player protection.