OVERVIEW OF THE RESPONSIBLE GAMBLING FOUNDATION – Island Echo

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While Macau and Las Vegas are the capital of casinos, Malta is the Mecca for the world’s iGaming industry. The industry in the Mediterranean country has become so prevalent that it is its major employer and provides nearly 13% of the national gross income. But with its relevance in the national economy, gambling has become a concern in its citizen’s health because of the risk of problem gambling.

To counter its hazards, the Responsible Gambling Foundation has the mission to teach an in the younger generation the importance of a responsible approach towards any activity, and also providing the necessary support for those who have lost control of their gambling habit.

The RGF Precedents

What started as a debate in the Maltese Parliament over the introduction of more regulatory amendments to govern land-based gaming parlours, it became the spark behind the creation of the Responsible Gambling Foundation. The need of an independent and dedicated body to raise awareness about responsible gambling in the Maltese community; quickly draw the attention of politicians as the most effective way to control and minimize the harms of problem gambling that affects severely other countries in the European Union.

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February the 18th 2014 became the birthdate of the Responsible Gambling Foundation, an independent body dedicated to educating people regardless of age and gender, about the causes and risks of problem gambling and what is needed to address it in a responsible manner, preventing its occurrence. At the same time, the RGF seeks to provide the support and advice needed by problem gamblers and help them recover. To efficiently achieve these goals the Foundation has established the following objectives:

  1. To promote fair gaming and responsible markets;
  2. To undergo further research into problem gambling;
  3. To increase awareness of gambling addiction through information campaigns;
  4. To embark on advertising campaigns earmarked at convincing gamblers to stop;
  5. To assist and promote activities alternate to gambling;
  6. To promote and/or provide services for the rehabilitation of problem gambler;
  7. To protect the young and vulnerable; and
  8. To safeguard against money laundering.

The funding of the RGF mission is solely obtained by donations and collections from the Gambling sectors, both online and offline, as they are also willing to back the support mechanisms to help every individual affected by problem gambling and the prevention of its extent.

RGF Campaigns

As education and prevention towards problem gambling is the main focus of the Foundation, trying to use the same format to every target audience won’t have the same impact as a tailored one. To properly deliver the information, certain channels must be used.

To promote awareness on adults a series of videos have been created to give broader access among several platforms, mostly on social media. While all the clips voiced in Maltese and some are even subtitled in English anyone can understand the depicted struggles many problem gamblers face in their homes and how the enticing of a “big win” always lures them to lose grip over their responsibilities.

But it is in the education of the younger generations where the RGF holds its major focus. Launched in October 2015, the educational campaign targets more than a 100 state, church and private schools in Malta and Gozo. Using a life-size amicable mascot inspired in the Maltese knights, with workshops involving hands-on learning and play, students age 4 have the opportunity to learn how to:

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  1. Define the concept of Digital Citizenship;
  2. Be aware of certain links between different addictions, notable excessive use of internet and gambling;
  3. Be aware of the concept of Responsible Gaming

By helping school children to understand and embrace these concepts, students become able to create the right balance in all aspects of their lives, as they can add other healthy activities such as playing an instrument, drama, sports and countryside walks, and not letting that technology be its sole source of entertainment and connection with other people.

Available Resources to Help Problem Gamblers Recover

To help online problem gamblers to make a stop, and recover control of their lives, the Foundation offers several contacts to support them in their decision towards recovery.

Online Support

Just access to the Responsible gambling Foundation official website – https://www.rgf.org.mt/ and look at the bottom-right chat icon we’re a team of Call Center agents will be ready to help you on any inquiry.

Helpline 1777

A free and confidential call can be made to reach any of the 24/7 available Call Center agents for help, advice and booking an appointment at the Foundation offices to request a self-exclusion.

Self-Exclusion

Being gambling so prevalent in Malta is difficult not to fall into the temptation of a bet. As one of the steps towards recovery, self-exclusion allows gamblers to blacklist themselves from accessing any independent casinos available online, gambling parlours and bingo halls for 6 months, 1 year or an indefinite period.

If any gambler wants to self-exclude for an indefinite period, there is no need to have a  medical certificate for the request, needing only a valid ID Card. Call and a booked appointment.

Laws & Regulations

Education about the problem gambling doesn’t reduce to its risk and causes, as knowing the law provides insights about the rights and duties operators and gamblers alike have under the Maltese Gambling Authority jurisdiction.

Knowing that the gambling laws and regulations in Malta are regularly updated, the Foundation provides its most recent editions in the country’s two official languages Maltese and English.

 FAQ

What is responsible gambling?

Responsible gambling can be approached from two perspectives:

  • From the gamblers view, responsible gambling can be considered the conscious act of making a bet for leisure knowing the likelihood of losing money and the psychological risk associated, caused by its extended practice.
  • From the industry view, responsible gambling should be seen as the obligation to raise awareness of the risks associated with gambling and its prevention. It also means creating a safe environment with conditions that prevent or minimise problem gambling, while helping at-risk and problem gamblers to receive the required help for their case.

What is the mission of the Responsible Gambling Foundation?

The foundation’ mission is to educate and prevent the risk and causes behind problem gambling by teaching people to have a more responsible approach in their gaming activities. On the other hand, the RGF has the commitment to provide support to any problem gamblers willing to reach the Foundation and seek help.

How can I self-exclude from gambling in Malta?

First reach the RGF call center team through the website or the helpline 1777, book an appointment to the Foundation’s offices. Once approved the request you can select the time for its extension varying form 6 month, 1 year or an indefinite period. .Once processed, gamblers cannot access any gambling venue, such as casino, bingos, lotteries or any gambling parlour.