Report by Carlos Hernandez (DGOJ) during a responsible gaming conference organized by ONCE.
A responsible gamer is someone who looks to play for entertainment, who places bets in moderation, does not assume risk, and puts limits on their time and money; according to the Digital Guide “It’s Your Turn” (Es tu turno), gaming responsibility, presented this Friday, 20 November.
This theme was demonstrated during the responsible gaming conference, where the guide was presented as part of the Gaming and Betting consumer project: “advice and recommendations for vulnerable consumers”, organized by the Spanish Confederation of Consumer and User Cooperatives (HISPACOOP) in collaboration with the ONCE Foundation.
HISPACOOP’s administrator for consumption, Carmen Redondo, was responsible for explaining the content of the guide, which aims to prevent addictive behaviours and protect consumer rights, especially the rights of particularly vulnerable groups such as adolescents, families with young children, the disabled, or the elderly.
In this sense, Redondo explained that the guide – which is available on HISPACOOP’s website – identifies the key characteristics of a responsible gamer, which include knowing in advance how much money to bet, respecting the rules and regulations of the game and maintaining self-control.
Moreover, Redondo emphasized that “a responsible gamer does not play for money but for pleasure, for fun, for entertainment; and does not borrow money to continue playing.” In addition, gaming should not interfere with the players personal, social and work relations.
Redondo also pointed out that the guide debunks certain myths about gaming and betting, such as: further gaming will not recover lost money; in games of chance like slot machines there are no patterns or strategies; and just as the lottery produces random numbers, the roulette can land on “red or black”; each result is independent. She stressed: “It’s a matter of luck”.
In addition, the guide also provides advice for people who want to stop gaming. For example, the first thing someone must do is recognize they have a problem, stop being dishonest with themselves, clearly outline the reasons they want to give up gaming; seek alternative entertainment; ask for help from friends; avoid temptations and overt stimuli; and control their expenses. The guide includes a list of phone numbers where people can seek assistance.
During his presentation, the president of the Spanish Federation of Rehabilitated Gamblers (FEJAR), Máximo Enrique Gutiérrez, gave a speech entitled: “Responsible Gaming, Responsibility for the Game”, which dealt with the “responsibility” of the authorities in the area of responsible gaming, which in his view, should be “more than just regulators”.
“One Euro invested in prevention, most surely saves three Euros in rehabilitation,” Gutiérrez argued, as well as stressing the need to “tidy up the chaos of gaming advertising.” What’s more, he cautioned that some “celebrities” who promote gambling “have a very significant appeal for minors”.
Moreover, the FEJAR president insisted that those attending “call a spade a spade” because, in his opinion, “the word compulsive gaming is not bad, however compulsive gaming is terrible”.
The event was attended by the Executive Director of the Spanish Agency of Consumer Affairs, Food Safety and Nutrition (AECOSAN), Teresa Robledo de Dios; the HISPACOOP president, Mikel Larrea Azpeitia; the general manager of the ONCE Foundation, José Luis Martínez Donoso; the CEO of ONCE, Ángel Sánchez Cánovas and the CEO of Gaming Management, an agency of the Ministry of Finance and Public Administration, Carlos Hernández Rivera.
“THE BIGGEST GOAL”
During the event, hosted by ONCE’s deputy general director of gaming, Patricio Cárceles, the director general for Gaming Oversight opened the conference and stated that responsible gambling is “one of the fundamental pillars” of his organization’s work, and they view it as “the largest goal” they have been entrusted with.
Hernández Rivera said that betting online and technological innovation have produced a new dimension “which includes new risks” that the administration and gaming operators must deal with, in conjunction, to make sure gaming “does not become a problem for those who enjoy it, or their families”.
For his part, the director general of ONCE stated that gaming should be an “act of illusion and not a personal or family issue”; pointing out that becoming a gaming operator has enabled ONCE and its members to enjoy both work and social benefits, and allows them the “dignity” to support their families through their “efforts”.
AECOSAN executive director and the president of HISPACOOP stated that the guide is a document that aims to raise awareness and provide warning about the risks of abusing gaming and betting.
The project is funded by the Spanish Agency of Consumer Affairs, Food Safety and Nutrition, AECOSAN, an organization that belongs to the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality, developed under a Collaboration Agreement entered into with the ONCE Foundation to encourage responsible gaming in Spain. In addition, ONCE contributes communication and project dissemination, as reported by diariosigloxxi.com.