Since the introduction of self-imposed restraint from gambling in 2016, more and more people are taking advantage of the opportunity and banning themselves from different types of the addictive habit. According to Magyar Hírlap, so far, 150 people have requested this year to be banned from gambling at the Gambling Supervisory Authority.
Gambling addicts have had the opportunity to make significant self-restraint statements at the Hungarian Gaming Authority since January 1, 2016. This means that they can restrict or ban themselves from one or more types of gambling or particular game organizations, such as casinos or arcades, for one, three, or five years. This abstinence can be applied to different categories of this addictive passion: card games, casinos, online casinos, and remote gambling; or all four combined.
According to data from the Gambling Supervisory Authority, in 2016, 76 people had already requested the ban, but the number is increasing every year. In 2018, a total of 218 people restricted themselves from gambling. This year, 150 people have requested to be banned from casinos and arcades so far, compared to the 107 this time last year, so the trend seems to continue. According to statistics, compared to 2015, the number of gambling addicts has tripled in Hungary. This means that around 2.5 million people are affected – out of which, 300 thousand are chronic gambling addicts, and 800 thousand are mild addicts.
The Authority data also shows that the majority of those concerned opt for the longest ban of five years, but more and more people ask for short-term self-restraint as well. Players typically make statements of restraint on all four types of gambling, and rarely in only one category. However, a significant number of addicts – probably thousands each year – submit their statements to the particular game organizer rather than the authority.
The exact reason for the self-restraint, however, can only be guessed in the absence of research on the topic. Zsolt Demetrovics, addictologist and professor at the Eötvös Loránd University, said to Magyar Hírlap that in the background, there may be family pressure, or the player realizes that only external constraints can help him as they cannot cope alone with the addiction. He added that it is also important to note that gambling is a disease, where the risk of relapse is extremely high, and in cases where the subject falls back, self-restraint can be a useful tool to overcome the addiction once again. However, self-restraint is not enough- a complex treatment that includes medicine, psychotherapy, and peer support groups as well as legal and physical restrictions are also needed in most cases.
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