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Alarm over online betting by teenagers – Diario RÃo Negro

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Alarm over online betting by teenagers – Diario RÃo Negro

Gambling addiction is a historical problem that, until not so long ago, was only palpable in the frequent attendance at casinos or gambling houses and the constant betting of money. In recent times, another complexity was added: online betting and the growing number of teenage bettors.

Psychologist Debora Blanca has been addressing problem gambling for 20 years and recognized that until last year, the patients who came to consultations were adults, over 18 years of age, who spent long hours at the slot machines. , bingos and betting tables. That changed recently.

“Last year I started receiving emails from teachers asking for workshops or talks with strong concern. They saw that the high school kids were waiting for recess – or in class – to take out their cell phones and bet. That is to say, the problem is detected by the school itself.«, indicated Blanca, director of the organization Lazos en Juego.

He recalled that during the months of quarantine due to the Covid-19 pandemic, casinos and bingo halls were closed, which “involved forced abstinence for the players«.

He recalled that in Argentina, online gambling was legalized at the end of 2020. “There are people who, in desperation, began to investigate and play on platforms. When it was legalized, it began to be advertised and promoted. Today there are a lot of influencers who are paid by the casinos who invite you to bet and tell you the money you win,” he specified.

Online betting advertisements (also sports) spread quickly through the mass media and social networks, the most consumed by adolescents, under the promise of earning “easy money.” and fast, without any effort.

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When asked, Blanca said that there are children who, from the age of 12, bet online. “How do they bet when they are minors? They try and if they enter the platforms, they enter. Others forge documents. The issue is that adolescence is a complex moment of life and vulnerability, with existential anguish, they wonder what they are going to want to be, do, strong loves appear. At that time, online betting emerged,” said the specialist in gambling addiction, who considered that the state should begin by regulating the advertising of gaming companies.

Do families know about children’s gambling addiction? Blanca specified that although there are many parents who know about gambling, it scares them much more when the teenager consumes alcohol or marijuana. TO”They are more afraid of substances than this type of behavior“, he summarized.

The phenomenon is not only recorded in Argentina. The difference is that, for example in Spain, online gambling was legalized in 2011 and, today, there are already certain public policies to counteract gambling addiction. In Argentina, the problem has just begun.

“In face-to-face gambling, addiction develops in an average of 8 years; in the online game, only in 2 years. Furthermore, in the online game it is easier to hide the problem because it is played from the same cell phone with what we do almost everything: we write, we watch a series, we look for information. It is much more difficult for families to detect that gambling is taking place although it does not mean that there are no indicators,” Blanca stated.

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“A casino in your pocket”

Gabriel, from the Bariloche Gamblers Anonymous association, assured that the last people who approached the entity acknowledged having problems with online gambling. “Today gambling addiction goes beyond game rooms or lottery kiosks. Although technology has benefited many people, it leads to ruin for many because the truth is that today, you have a casino in your pocket. It’s at your fingertips«, he synthesized.

He commented that a 15-year-old young man who could not abandon sports betting on foreign platforms approached the Córdoba Gamblers Anonymous association.

Legislators from Together for Change from that province presented a project to modify Law 10,793 on Online Gaming in order to establish mechanisms to limit access to children and adolescents. The initiative contemplates the modification of the article that contains the Player Registry and incorporates a record of biometric data to identify the individual.

It also prohibits the advertising and promotion of gambling activities “even when they have prior authorization from the Lottery to appear in advertising media†and provides for prevention campaigns on the harm caused by compulsive gambling and the implementation of workshops. and awareness days in educational institutions.

«We should not be surprised by this problem when a boy, at 10 years old, already has a telephone“He said and added: “Through the device, I can be playing in my deposit. Or in the bathroom, in the office, at school or wherever. At many social gatherings, teenagers or adults walk away with their phones. Maybe you think they are on Facebook and they are betting,” said Gabriel.

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Gamblers Anonymous meets on Fridays from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Elflein 522 (in the La Inmaculada chapel). «If you have any questions, family members can come closer. “Sometimes it’s hard to recognize the problem yourself,” he said.


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