In a bid to begin reducing the numbers of problem gamblers in Bavaria, the state is launching a new help line app, PlayChange, to tackle the issue.
Bavarian State to Launch PlayChange App to Fight Addiction
The Bavarian State Office for Gambling Addiction will launch a new platform dedicated to reducing gambling harm in the state. PlayChange will offer support to individuals who may be at-risk or already experience gambling addiction and are coping with gambling-related harm.
The platform has been set up with the Ministry of Health and Social Care with the help of the State Office for Gambling Addiction (LSG), and the solution is scheduled to go live on July 15. According to Health Minister Melanie Huml, PlayChange will allow people who are affected by gambling addiction to seek counseling services and help without fear of reprimand or stigma. Here is Ms. Huml’s statement cited by iGaming Business:
“Those affected can get help quickly, easily, and above all, anonymously on PlayChange. This is an excellent addition to our existing counselling services and a big step forward in addiction counselling, which we offer to citizens in the Free State of Bavaria.”
The service will have a non-invasive registration process, allowing citizens to register and set up a counselor visit anonymously via email. Vulnerable and addicted players will be able to have telephone appointments and generally have an easier time finding help to battle with an issue that Ms Huml and the Ministry of Health find serious. All services will be offered remotely.
Tackling Addiction at a Time of a Pandemic
Ms. Huml cited the novel coronavirus pandemic and argued that the remote mode of operating the help line was a good way to begin offering vulnerable people and addicts a way out of their issue without breaking social distancing rules or endangering the health of either party.
PlayChange will run under the control of LSG and will operate a budget estimated at $40,000 annually. PlayChange is a standalone app that can be downloaded for a mobile or desktop device, making access to the solution easier.
The introduction of PlayChange is an attempt to stem the tide of the growing number of gambling addicts in the State of Bavaria. Estimated 70,000 people have shown signs of problematic gambling behavior according to various surveys conducted between 2011 and 2017.
Some 33,000 of the people observed are qualified as “problematic” in the surveys, as they already show signs of gambling addiction. While the LSG has been around since 2008, this is one of the most significant moves to scale up the coverage and help reach out to problem gamblers who may be too embarrassed to attend in person.
Already, the institution provides treatment at 70 points across the state and in 22 specialist centers. The Ministry of Health has also been pleased with LSG’s work, vowing €8.7 million for the period between 2020 and 2023.
Meanwhile, Germany continues to report an increase in the overall gambling revenue, with the amount total expected to reach €3.3 billion by the end of 2024, as previously reported.