A spokesman for the Maltese Responsible Gaming Foundation revealed that more than 1,000 local gamblers have filed applications to be suspended from casinos and other gaming parlours to try to beat their gambling habits.
According to the Foundation’s spokesman, the trend for self-exclusion requests has been increasing over the recent years. This could be a good thing, as people who have problems with gambling could be realising the needs for some professional help for them to deal with the addiction.
Under the existing gambling legislation in Malta, every gambler who wants to stay away from their compulsive habit could ask to be officially banned from entering traditional brick-and-mortar casinos and gaming parlours for six months, a year, or even for an unlimited and undefined period of time.
According to the Responsible Gaming Foundation’s spokesman, one of the most difficult things for the majority of gamblers is for them to admit and accept that they have a gambling problem. Sometimes, the process could take a lot of time. As the Foundation’s representative has explained, many gambling addicts who choose to stay on the self-exclusion list year after year, but the positive thing is that there were many people who managed to break the compulsive gambling habit so that they no longer needed to be included on the self-exclusion list.
Most People Calling the National Gambling Helpline Are Friends and Relatives of the Gamblers
As reported by the Foundation’s spokesman, in 2019 there has been an increase in the number of calls received by the National Gambling Helpline which was officially launched in 2015 to help gambling addicts deal with their problem gambling habits. For the time being, the Helpline works 24/7, because they noticed a trend of people calling mostly at night as they seemed to be more comfortable to do so.
According to records of Malta’s Responsible Gaming Foundation, the majority of the people who called the National Gambling Helpline were relatives and friends of the gamblers. Still, a significant number of people who had a gambling problem themselves also called the helpline. As revealed by the spokesman of the foundation, the majority of the callers were female.
The latest report commissioned by the Malta Gaming Authority which was aimed at analysing gambling trends in 2017 and used the official country population statistics, a total of €128 million was spent on gambling services by the residents of Malta. The aforementioned amount of money was mostly directed towards games which the national lotteries administered. This basically means that there are almost 200,000 individuals who are over 18 years old who declared spending an average of about €11.30 each on gambling services on a weekly basis.
The survey held by the Malta Gaming Authority has also shown that there are about 4,000 gamblers at risk of suffering severe gambling addiction and gambling-related harm.