Responsible Gaming Association – short presentation
By Dan Iliovici, Vice-president ROMBET Association & Vice-president Responsible Gaming Association
The Responsible Gaming Association (AJR) develops and implements specific programs regarding the effects of excessive gambling and social reporting. These programs help prevent gambling addiction, educate the public on the subject, and combat addiction by providing psychological counseling to people who have misunderstood the role of gambling entertainment.
The activities of the association are carried out on four main strategic directions: Awareness-Education, Training, Prevention and Intervention.
Responsible Gaming Association Programs
√ Responsible Gaming Program
√ Trained for Adulthood
√ 24/7 online psychological counseling
√ Support group
√ Training program for employees of gambling organizers
1. The Responsible Gaming Program is the first and, at present, the only program in Romania for the prevention, identification and assistance of people with gambling problems, as well as their families.
• Online self-testing through the questionnaire available on the website www.jocresponsabil.ro;
• GREEN-LINE toll-free hotline 0800.800.099, through which players have the opportunity to contact a psychologist and to schedule five free evaluation and psychological therapy sessions;
• Five free psychological evaluation and counseling sessions in one of the offices in Bucharest, Craiova, Cluj, Constanța and Iași. Depending on the case, the number of meetings can be supplemented on the recommendation of psychologists and with the approval of the board of the Association;
• Information materials in game rooms (posters).
Started in 2011, the program has enjoyed a continuous development:
➣ has been permanently invested in the most modern support tools for players (website, self-test questionnaire, etc.);
➣ the number of offices offering psychological counseling has been expanded (Constanța and Craiova), as well as the number of therapy sessions (from two to five);
➣ actions have been taken to encourage gambling operators to behave responsibly;
➣ action has been taken continuously to promote the principles of social responsibility.
2. The Trained for Adulthood Program is the only program in Romania for educating young people in the last years of high school, regarding the adoption of a responsible attitude towards gambling. It is the concrete involvement of the gambling industry in the process of education and prevention among adolescents.
Educating young people to be able to make the right choices, to know the risks of engaging in activities that do not correspond to their level of psychosocial development and that may affect their further development.
The program has a dual role – educating young people so that they can make the right decisions as well as prevention in order to maintain the practice of gambling in the recreational sphere.
The target group is mainly represented by high school students, grades XI – XII, but the program is also aimed at teachers.
The “lessons” take place in the form of interactive discussions, in which Dr. Cristian Andrei tells high school students approaching adulthood about how adolescents should position themselves in relation to the value and earning of money, about life decisions and consequences. Students are encouraged to ask questions and discuss with Dr. Andrei the topics covered during the meeting.
Messages sent include:
➣ Understanding and correctly positioning adolescents in relation to the value and obtaining of money;
➣ What’s really important in social networking and how teens should react to the temptations of adult entertainment;
➣ Ways for teenagers to assert themselves other than by having fun or making a quick buck.
3. 24/7 counseling is the first non-stop online psychological counseling service for people with gambling or addiction problems who feel the need for help or guidance.
The 24/7 Counseling Service can be accessed within the Responsible Gaming Association website, www.jocresponsabil.ro, where an online chat module is integrated, through which any player can get in direct contact with one of the Responsible Gaming psychologists. It was built on the model of the medical practice triage procedure in order to establish the priority and the level of care required. Thus, depending on the severity, the callers of the service are classified in one of the four codes: green, yellow, orange and red. It is a 24-hour service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The development of the chat platform allows the extraction of statistics and the qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the services offered.
4. Virtual support group
The first virtual psychological counseling service of the support group type to fight the problems caused by the excessive practice of gambling:
◆ The group is closed and can have between 6 and 12 participants;
◆ The access of each participant in the group is allowed following the individual evaluation made by the therapist. Taking into account the specifics of the group, a plan with therapeutic objectives can be drawn up;
◆ In order to properly address the group’s problems, 10-15 meetings are needed, with a weekly frequency or more often in case of urgent situations; Meetings are held online;
◆ After the dissolution of the group, the participants keep in touch with each other for mutual support.
➣ Participating in support groups provides opportunities for: sincere communication, listening and learning, receiving and providing adequate feedback;
➣ Within the group, participants can share their experiences with other people who have faced or are facing similar challenges and can understand specific issues;
➣ This understanding makes members more sincere and open in communication: honest discussion with family and friends is often difficult due to their reactions, where judgment, blaming the player frequently occurs;
➣ The stories of other troubled players about their ups and downs on the road to recovery can bring additional awareness and motivation;
➣ Members can learn new coping strategies, find inspiration and, most importantly, feel that they are not alone in their recovery journey.
During the pandemic, the Responsible Gaming Association used the experience it has gained so far in online psychological counseling and the expertise of its psychologists in behavioral therapy to get involved in other social responsibility projects. For example, the 24/7 non-stop online psychological counseling service was also dedicated to COVID-19 patients admitted to the “Marius Nasta” Institute of Pneumophthisiology in Bucharest, their relatives and the hospital’s medical staff, in order to help improve their psychological state. and emotional health care staff and caregivers. Also, during the state of emergency, the GREEN-LINE telephone number and the 24/7 Counseling program were made available free of charge to persons directly involved in the management of Covid-19 or to persons vulnerable or psycho-emotionally affected by the pandemic. Moreover, AJR also offers free psychological counseling services to people who have arrived in Romania as a result of the conflict in Ukraine.
The programs of the Responsible Gaming Association are part of the concept of Assumed Responsibility, in the sense of involvement in CSR activities beyond those required by law. It is appreciated that more and more operators want to contribute to the support of the Responsible Gaming Association.
Currently, AJR’s activities and programs are fully funded by the business environment (private and state), and at the same time, AJR is in constant contact with the National Gambling Office – ONJN, communicating the progress of the programs and the new ones responsible gaming area initiatives. The scope of the Association’s programs is ensured by the substantial support of Fortuna, Superbet, Game World, Kindred (Unibet, Vlad Casino) and the Romanian Lottery, Maxbet, Admiral, Stanleybet, Betano, Kambi, Las Vegas and BetOne operators.