Casinos Austria and Austrian Lotteries player protection conference held in Vienna

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16th Responsible Gambling Academy: International gambling experts met in Vienna
Top speakers from Canada, Great Britain, Germany and Austria are guests at the Casinos Austria and Austrian Lotteries player protection conference

Player protection and addiction prevention were again the focus of attention at the 16th Responsible Gambling Academy (RGA) on 14 May 2019. In her welcome speech, Managing Director Mag. Bettina Glatz-Kremsner emphasized the importance of Responsible Gaming for the corporate group, stressing in this context the importance of the conference as a further training measure for its employees. Glatz-Kremsner further stated that the RGA has not only developed into an indispensable event of international significance, but is extremely valuable to the group itself. Numerous measures to protect players were developed from lectures by international speakers and implemented in the group. These include various youth protection programs or the online tool "Mentor", which together with Prof. Dr. med. Mark Griffiths was developed by Nottingham Trent University. The program gives our online game participants the opportunity to assess and compare their gaming behavior.

The award-winning British behavioral psychologist Prof. dr. Mark Griffiths was present for the fifth time this year and explained in his presentation a 6-point program that identifies gambling addiction. It is not crucial for addictive behavior, how much time you spend with gambling, but what negative effects playing on the individual and his environment has. Griffiths also gave insights into the terms gaming and gambling, noting that borders are increasingly blurring, and that there are great similarities through factors such as quick rewards, reinforcement mechanisms, and social recognition.

On the subject of "Loot Boxes" - formerly treasure chests - that are built into video games, according to Griffiths, opinions in the various countries are still very different at the moment, whether it is gambling or not. "You spend money on a future event whose outcome is uncertain," says Griffiths. "These numbers for Loot Boxes is comparable to the number of machines and Loot Boxes thus quite a form of gambling", so the opinion of the expert.

With the results of empirical studies on the effectiveness of individual measures of the protection of players and minors Dr.-Ing. Tobias Hayer from the University of Bremen, Germany. Effective measures were recommended in addition to an availability reduction - which includes both a reduction of the offer and the increase in the age limit - and player blocks, as well as school-based prevention, personalized feedback and mandatory pre-commitment systems. "Staff training can influence player protection in the long term", this statement confirmed the usefulness of the further training measures on responsible gaming within the group of companies mentioned at the outset by Director-General Mag. Bettina Glatz-Kremsner.

Prim. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Michael Musalek spoke about the sensitive topic of the classification of gambling addiction from a medical point of view. Game dependence is unfortunately often seen as a pure impulse control disorder; this classification does not do justice to the complexity of the disease. The constant availability of gambling also necessitated a change in the forms of therapy. "The ultimate goal of treatment must be to regain a largely autonomous and joyous life," says Musalek. Prim. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Michael Musalek is a specialist in psychiatry and neurology and among other things Medical Director of the Anton Proksch Institute and Director of the Institute for Social Aesthetics and Mental Health of the Sigmund Freud Private University Vienna and Berlin.

The guest speaker of the University of Ottawa, Canada, Prof. em. Dr. Bradley Cousins ​​provided interesting insights into the complex process of scientific evaluation of player protection programs and how these evaluations can provide practical benefits.

Megan Pengelly, program manager for risk minimization projects at GamCare in London, was working with young people. Adolescents are often unaware of the dangers of gambling; GamCare develops projects and workshops for young people and those working with adolescents to educate and provide tools for dealing with gambling. Furthermore, the gambling behavior of young people is researched in order to be able to exert preventive influence. GamCare is the central advice center for people with problem gambling in the UK.

"Age is an illusion": With reflections on this, as was demonstrated in the course of the lecture, multilayered topic, Prim. Univ.-Prof. GDR. Michael Lehofer, Head of the Departments of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the Landeskrankenhaus II in Graz, concluded the event. Young is who is willing to develop and understands that you can also live very well without things that you thought you needed. When you use and learn from crises, there is almost nothing in the way of adolescent aging.

Among the 245 participants, Herbert Beck, Head of Responsible Gaming & Compliance at Casinos Austria and Österreichische Lotterien Gruppe, was able to welcome numerous listeners from Austrian research, consulting and therapy institutions, as well as employees of the group of companies. Also in the audience were representatives of authorities and gambling entrants from all over Europe. The conference was held for the second time this year as a certified Green Event.

Vienna, May 15, 2019

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