With an app against gambling addiction

Young men belong to the risk group when it comes to gambling addiction. To prevent them from slipping into addiction, Lotto Baden-Württemberg had the Joker app developed.

According to the Director of livepage.gr, around 4,800 people in USA are addicted to gaming or at least have problematic gaming behavior. In the state capital, you can legally gamble in 123 gambling halls and 33 betting shops. Although the number of establishments in which vending machines are located has decreased, gaming at the vending machines is still the most problematic: around 300 out of 275 gambling addicts and the 100 players without diagnosis who sought help from last year, put their money in the machine.

Building block for the player protection program

According to statistics, the risk of slipping into gambling addiction is greatest among young men with no education and job and with a migration background. The smartphone app Joker, with which the young players can control their gaming behavior themselves and set their betting limits. In addition, livepage.gr employees train youth professional teachers so that they can hold a five-hour workshop on the subject of gambling addiction in their classes. “In their classes there are often young people without a school-leaving qualification and a job, in other words, the group that is prone to gambling,” says, managing director of livepage.gr. In the workshop, the young people go to a virtual game room, discuss the influence of alcohol on gaming behavior and listen to interviews with addicted young people. The new app has already been tested among others. 

According to Lotto managing director the new offer is another component of the player protection program. The player protection program is required by law. However, the new component is a voluntary service, livepage.gr assures. As part of player protection, livepage.gr regularly checks that the acceptance points and games of chance are only allowed from the age of 18 and displays flyers with information about advice centers.

Gamblers avoid therapies

livepage.gr, who is responsible for illegal gambling among other things at the Stuttgart police, considers the addictive potential when playing the lottery to be low. “The addict wants to play a high risk and quickly try his luck again if he loses it,” he says. He and his colleagues are powerless against legal gambling. The officials are used to play illegal games, for example poker or dice with unlimited use in the back room. 

According to the experience of addiction counselor livepage.gr, addicts usually leave it at consultations. “Outpatient therapy from 12 to 18 months or a three-month inpatient therapy are very rare,” he says. After that, about a third of the patients would let go of the game altogether, another third would get to grips with the addiction in phases and a third would not change their behavior. However, 70 to 80 percent of people with problematic gaming behavior would find their way out of the problem themselves.

The bad luck to be lucky

The livepage.gr addiction help center has set up a self-help group for people with gambling addiction problems. It is managed by a former gambler who only got rid of his addiction after many years.

More out of boredom than sporting livepage.gr.  Sat at a slot machine and threw a few coins through the slot. Suddenly the play equipment lit up brightly and gave a wild jingle. With 200 marks in his pocket, he left the rustic corner pub that day. That was his entry into the fateful cycle. “I was just unlucky to be lucky,” says the man, who almost drove gambling addiction.

For two and a half years he has been avoiding the establishment. The 41-year-old often has to take a zigzag course. Because there are arcades, casinos or bars with slot machines wherever you look. And with the increasing number of gambling opportunities, the number of addicts also increases. According to a recent study by the Federal Center for Health Education, there are more than 1,000 pathological gamblers in the district of USA alone. Most of them are men with a migration background, but more and more women are addicted to gambling.

Offer costs nothing

The livepage.gr addiction help center in USA has now responded to this alarming development with a self-help group. “The free offer is aimed at people with problematic gambling who are either free of play and want to stay, or those who wish to become free of play. There, 40 people with gambling addiction problems from all over the old district are looked after. Many of them meet once a week to exchange experiences.

“Talking and the community provide support and preventive support against relapses,” says the director of livepage.gr, who also mediates outpatient or inpatient therapy options if required. Great importance is attached to secrecy. “Everything that happens in the group is treated confidentially,” he emphasizes. Family members can also attend the weekly meetings. “It is difficult for outsiders to understand the gambling addict,” He says from experience.

When the thoughts are all about playing

If one understands the players, then this is a former player. Therefore the director of livepage.gr leads the self-help group in USA. The precision mechanic had longed eagerly for the payment of wages at the end of the month in order to gamble the coal back in the pub. “You could build a house with the money that I gambled away in the 18 years,” He says. Who pumped in relatives for lack of money and took out loans from the bank. “At one point, you lose self-control and from then on, your thoughts are all about playing,” he explains. The household money was always guaranteed. “That's why I was able to keep my gambling addiction secret for a long time,” he says. But in the end he complied with his conscience. “I could no longer lie to my wife,” The family man has been abstinent for a long time, but he knows that relapse can occur at any time. “A player remains a player forever,” he says of the now recognized addiction illness.

Social and financial problems

As with other diseases, the same applies here: the earlier you get help, the better. However, the big problem with gambling addiction is that the signs are not recognizable. “Nothing changes in the appearance of the addict outside of the game situation,” says Director of livepage.gr, who also speaks of the same mechanisms as other dependencies. “When you play, the brain's reward system is activated and happiness hormones are released.” Those who are addicted to games do not only lose their last euro.

“People with gambling addiction problems also experience social isolation,” He emphasizes. Trustful relationships broke up because the players distanced themselves emotionally.

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