How to recognize the first signs of gambling addiction?

Technologies are increasingly entering the modern world, and it seems that even we don’t pay enough attention to their huge presence in our daily lives. Not only while we are working but also in our personal lives, the Internet is now an integral part of our being. The fast progress of new technologies often does not give us enough time to protect ourselves from the challenges and dangers that come with them. And all this is mixed with the conventional way of life, in which we buy our food from the neighborhood supermarket and our clothes from some big mall. And now we are living between the earth and the clouds. It is difficult for us to strike a balance with simple things like whether to pay our electricity bills online or through one of the household bill counters. This also applies if we are the type of people who like to have fun in the form of betting, whether in the gaming room or live on a site. In the current difficult economic environment, where we wander from crisis to crisis, as well as the ever-increasing prices of products, we are vulnerable to easy success and the desire to accumulate money quickly. And this, on the background of our passion for games, leads to the danger of addiction: gambling addiction.

Since 2015, The Responsible Gaming Foundation, established by the two Bulgarian entrepreneurs Rossi McKee and Milo Borissov, has been protecting the principles of socially responsible practices in the gaming industry. With its many years of experience, the organization has contributed to the introduction of many policies in the field, the aim of which is prevention and support of vulnerable persons.

In October 2022, The Responsible Gaming Foundation (RGF) financially supported The National Drugs, Alcohol and Gambling Helpline, which is staffed by psychologists from the “Solidarnost” Association for Rehabilitation of Addicted People.

Together with them, the experts from RGF identified some of the most common first signs of gambling addiction, which are often observed among people with similar problems.

Here they are:

  • You want to play more and more, especially after losing;
  • It seems to you that once you start winning, it will continue indefinitely;
  • It’s hard for you to stop, even when you promise not to play again;
  • You have financial difficulties because you are spending more than the game funds;
  • You borrow money and even “temporarily steal” to have money to play;
  • You also play during working hours (online) trying to recover your losses or win more;
  • Any other activity that you used to think was fun starts to turn into an unwanted obligation for you.

If you find some of the signs described above in yourself, then you must definitely think about your approach to the game – are these not the earliest signs of a behavioral deviation that will lead to addiction? RGF experts recommend seeking professional advice to prevent developing a gambling addiction. One of the ways is to contact the experts of “Solidarity” on the phone +359888 99 18 66. Your call is anonymous and free of charge throughout the country.

EGBA: If we can identify problematic gaming behaviour earlier, we will transform the industry

„Being able to identify problem gambling behaviour much earlier is the one thing that I think can transform the industry“, said Maarten Haijer, Secretary General of the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), during a recent interview.

In the course of the conversation, Haijer commented that a better understanding of problem gambling could fundamentally change the sector.  According to him, this will ensure that recreational players can continue to play in a safe and competitive environment, and, most importantly, help prevent gambling-related harm from occurring in the first place. He explained that EGBA has proposed a European standard on markers of harm, and the process to develop this voluntary standard will begin this year. The eventual standard will lead to a commonly agreed standardised list of markers of harm, based on the best available research, that operators can use to help them detect problem gambling behavior in a more accurate and timely way. He said that the process itself of creating the standard will be an invaluable opportunity for gambling stakeholders to come together, pull expertise, and collaborate on an issue of joint importance: safer gambling.

The General Secretary of EGBA explained that there needs to be a stronger culture of industry responsibility and cooperation across the entire gambling sector in Europe. He also added that far too many operators still sit on the periphery of the sector and do not take part in these processes. He commented that this attitude damages the whole sector. Haijer concluded by saying “For 2023, I hope for a more engaged, constructive, and outwardly looking industry”.


Responsible Gaming Month with 20th anniversary in New York State

This March will be the 20th anniversary of the launch of National Problem Gambling Awareness Month in New York State. The New York State Gaming Commission, the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Support, and the New York Council on Problem Gambling will organize а series of events, where participants will have the chance to gain more knowledge on the subject of responsible gaming and how to prevent addiction.

March 14th was a day for screening identification of people who are vulnerable and may suffer from problematic gambling. At the end of the month there will be a regional listening session organized with leaders from the problem gambling treatment community.

“Gambling oppоrtunities in Тhe Empire State continue to grow. This is why it is important for the local citizens to be aware of the multiple available instruments for responsible gaming”, said Robert Williams, executive director of The New York State Gaming Commission.

One of the leading supporters of the responsible gaming – Senator Joe Adabo commented that it is important that the efforts for dealing with addiction problems must be bolstered. “Recently, The New York State Gaming Commission accepted new rules on gambling advertisement”, he said and added that the aim of the these rules is to limit the exposure of sports betting marketing and commercials to underage bettors. In addition to that, the commission officials have approved a prohibition of misleading, deceptive or false statements.

The color associated with responsible gaming in New York State is yellow, and many buildings, landmarks, and gaming facilities in the state are illuminated in yellow for the whole month of March. Some of these properties, include the Albany International Airport Gateway, Empire State Plaza, Fairport Lift Bridge, Grand Central Terminal, Lake Placid Olympic Jumping Complex, and many others.

Boris Mihaylov: “In 2022 NRA put a focus on responsible gambling”

During an interview for the Bulgarian news agency, the Executive Director of the National Revenue Agency (NRA) Boris Mihaylov commented that during the last year NRA has put a focus on the responsible gaming subject. “Our goal is to limit gambling addiction, to give guidelines for responsible gaming and to protect adolescents”, he said.

On a question about the latest novelties at the NRA the Executive Director pointed out the reorganization on the structure of the Agency; the launch of renewed eservices portal and the renewal of the non-public register for people with a tendency to develop a gambling addiction. “As of January 25, 2023, more than 370 people have voluntarily entered the register”, explained Mihaylov and added that recommendations for the gambling operators, advice for the parents and recommendations for responsible gaming have been published on the NRA’s website.

During the conversation, it became clear that in 2022 the revenues collected by the National agency for the central state budged are BGN 18 billion, which is 10% more than the revenues collected in the previous year. S


Responsible Gaming Foundation reminds that the NRA resumed maintaining the register of the persons vulnerable to gambling

The National Revenue Agency (NRA) has reopened the register of persons vulnerable to gambling. It is already working and anyone who thinks they have a problem can sign in it. The register is not public.

Registrants will not be admitted to gaming facilities or online betting sites. Signing in the register is done by submitting a request on-site at the NRA office or sent to the e-mail address, signed with a qualified electronic signature. It specifies a period that cannot be shorter than two years. If the registered person wants to be deleted from the register, he or she has to submit a new request to the National Revenue Agency. This can also be done when the period indicated in the original request has expired, and if such period hasn’t been indicated – it can not be shorter than two years from the date of its entry into it.

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