Project author "20 ideas for the development of Russia" Dmitry Davydov proposes to oblige gambling operators to provide financial assistance to charitable organizations and private companies that conduct research in the field of prevention and treatment of gambling addiction. In addition, business representatives should be required to sponsor preventive measures.
If you look around, then almost every person has acquaintances who somehow lost "to the nines", got into debt, fell into depression, was abandoned by the family, and often passed away in the prime of life and strength.
For me, a sports journalist known since the late USSR was such an anti-example of excitement. Alexander P. was by no means born a gamer and did not even go to casinos and slot machine halls when these establishments were located at every corner. But with the advent of sports betting, Sasha decided that with his knowledge of teams, players and coaches, his insides and a subtle understanding of football, handball, hockey, boxing, God himself ordered to "cut the loot"!
I started, naturally, with small bets on the results of matches. It would seem that it is not difficult for a football connoisseur to predict who will win the Russian Super Cup, given that the Zenit team playing at home has the strongest line-up in the RPL, a coach proven over the years, and in Spartak the new mentor holds the first official match, and each line has problems with players and their teamwork.
But just guessing the winner means getting a penny. "Real" bets and profits begin when foresight goes into the realm of the unpredictable. And with what score will win "Zenith"? And who will score the first goal? And in what half?... And on this field, the chances of those making bets and the organizers of the totalizator are not just equalized, but always and invariably go in favor of the organizers. The entire gambling business is based on this principle.
However, friend Sasha, winning from time to time, did not want to understand the simple truth. Winnings were invariably invested in new bets, and when there was not enough money, we had to borrow from all friends, acquaintances, relatives without exception ... It seems to be a little, it seems, not millions, but unpaid debts accumulated, and the moment came when no one Sasha did not want to lend money around, and most of the creditors began to demand their hard-earned money back.
The result is sad: by the age of 50, tormented by endless debts, abandoned by his wife and daughter, Sasha looked like an old man of 75 years old, then two heart attacks followed and death at 53 years old.
And such cases, often aggravated by various kinds of crime, professional psychiatrists know hundreds and thousands.
“Usually gamers come to me already in the stage of extreme insanity, inadequacy” - said the head physician clinic "First Step" psychiatrist-narcologist Vasily Shurov, - Their behavior is not much different from "chemical" drug addicts. Typically, gamers develop severe depression. The game itself can be regarded as a manic state, when excitement prevails, an increased emotional background, a person sees everything in pink. It seems to him that now he will win a large amount of money, pay off all debts, solve all problems, leave this topic and open a successful business. But as losses and debts form, a person slips into a severe depressive state with suicidal thoughts and other mental disorders.
When asked whether gambling addicts can be treated, Vasily Shurov answers with great caution:
ЭDon't expect a man in a white coat to whisper a magic formula in your ear and you will be the same or even better. No. You have 2 ways.
The first is a rehabilitation center. It's like a language intensive, when a person completely breaks away from the environment and forms new models of behavior among those who are recovering.
And the second way is outpatient programs. With this method of treatment, patients hide behind antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, nootropics. Psychotherapeutic work is also carried out with their beliefs, pathological behaviors, low self-esteem, a wrong perception of life, a violation of the self-concept - we work through all this and help people gradually, step by step, get rid of heavy addiction.
Dependence has been formed for many years, and you need to get out of it slowly so that this is guaranteed. A person must change at the level of beliefs - seriously and deeply..."
However, the question of how to create a system of assistance to victims of gambling who have already been abandoned by their families and are not ready to invest money and effort in recovering from addiction confuses doctors. After all, unlike many countries, there are no organizations in Russia that specialize in consultations for gamers and their loved ones and promote the dangers of gambling.
“Without systematic information about the dangers of gambling, not all problem players are able to identify and recognize their position and decide on self-restraint,” explained Dmitry Davydov. “In order to significantly reduce the negative consequences of gambling, it is necessary to take preventive measures, promoting the principles of responsible gambling, as well as make available psychological support for gamblers and their families in difficult situations”.
How exactly to act, suggests the practice of other countries.
In neighboring Finland, for example, since 2004 there has been an organization Peluuri, which provides free comprehensive support to problem players. It is important to emphasize that the structure is financed by the national gambling operator Veikkaus. The main goal is to fight pathological gambling addiction.
In 2005, the Singapore authorities created the National Council for Problem Gambling (NCPG). The main functions of the NCGP are to support and conduct programs for the mass education of problem gambling, advice to all interested parties on gambling issues, preventive and curative services for problem gamblers and their families, and research in this area.
A similar organization operates in South Korea...
Of course, the question arises - is the gambling business ready to invest in the rehabilitation and education of its customers?
As it turned out, ready!
In 2021, deductions from bookmakers to support sports amounted to more than 10 billion rubles, Davydov recalled. The bill submitted for consideration to the State Duma on joining the lottery business and casinos in gambling zones to the Unified Gambling Regulator's system will additionally increase the growing volume of sponsorship deductions.
The operators of the gambling business in Russia are not interested in the fact that the number of people addicted to gambling grows. It is this indicator that prevents them from developing due to the negative image of the player.
“No betting company is interested in addicted and problem gamblers. The stories of people who sold all their property are the strongest anti-advertising”, - Nikolay Oganezov, president of the first Self-regulatory organization of bookmakers in Russia, told Kommersant.
It goes without saying that not a single idea of a private person can be implemented without the legislative support of the authorities.
The author of "20 Ideas for the Development of Russia" sent his proposals to the Federation Council. In October 2021, Davydov received a response from Andrey Kutepov, Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Economic Policy. The letter says that the initiative was taken into account.
- It is necessary to recognize the problem - there is such a disease "gambling". Steps must be taken to help people get rid of this. Now people themselves through psychologists are trying to help themselves or their relatives. We need to think about economic measures so that there is some kind of fund that helps people get rid of this addiction. Fedot Tumusov, First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Health Committee, told Novye Izvestiya, adding that it is important to distinguish between passion and addiction: "If a person makes bets, this does not mean that he is sick".
At the same time, Fedot Tumusov emphasized that the problem of gambling addiction in Russia needs to be studied in more depth.
As Novye Izvestia found out, an analytical study on gambling addiction is in the plans of the Unified Gambling Regulator.
"Our position is that a comprehensive program to combat gambling addiction should be implemented under strict state control with the involvement of specialized licensed medical institutions. As a market regulator, we accumulate and study proposals for its implementation, taking into account the application of the best world practices. There is a social problem, and it can only be solved joint efforts”, - the press service said.
In turn, Dmitry Davydov is sure that the introduction of his initiative at the legislative level will have a positive impact on the well-being of Russian society as a whole and will help to avoid excessive gambling and many social problems.