From the Spanish Federation of Random Players Rehabilitated (Fejar) alert that the profile of the ludópata in Spain is changing rapidly. So warns Juan Lamas , technical director of this federation, to ensure that if some years ago the addicted to the game was mostly a married man between 35 and 45 years, currently the associations of Fejar across the country reach young people between 18 and 25 years. "It's also relevant to the increase of consultations of families with children of age in connection with games of chance and gambling that, although they legally can not gamble until the age of 18, they get to play and, in many cases, become a prey to the disorders of pathological gambling".
Participate in gambling is not legal in Spain until the age of majority , however, –as indicated by the Clinical Guide "Young people and Online Game", developed by Fejar and funded by the Ministry of Health,– today, the mechanisms to which the operators of online game can control who is playing is age of majority "are still insufficient". Any child could come to usurp the identity, for example, of one of its parents, with the data of a credit card.sports Betting, and poker online
there are No conclusive studies of the reliance on minor, hard to quantify due to the very fact that they can't play within the law. Even so, from Fejar insist that the pathological gamblers are more young people and that, unlike what was happening a decade ago, in which 75% of the cases were addicted to machines, slots –and the rest to other modalities face-to-face as you scratch, pools...–, today more young people are seduced by the sports betting and poker in the mode online.
there Are several reasons that explain this addiction so early. In 2011, entered into force the regulation of online gambling in Spain the Law 13/ 2011 . From that date, as described the Guide "Young people and Online Gaming", is spurred numerous strategies of advertising through different communication channels and social networks. The increase of advertising claims, such as welcome bonuses, promotions, or advertisements on all means of communication, it is particularly important in groups who may be more vulnerable, including youth and adolescents.In search help
Precisely, " between 2012 and 2015, was observed a further growth of young people in search of help to get out of their addiction to the game –pointing Juan Lamas–. In 2015, those under 26 years of age accounted for 16% of new receptions, while before the legalization, the percentage was barely 3.8%".
According to William Ponce, a psychiatrist specializing in addictions, "Spain has the highest rate of young people with pathological gambling (between 14 and 21 years) all over Europe." He explains that the young people are very familiar with the use of digital technologies , which exposes them massively different gaming services. "Numerous studies have indicated that the prevalence among adolescents of behaviors, problem gambling is at least double that of adults".Relieve sadness and anxiety
One of the factors that motivates him is that the state of the development neurobiological in childhood and youth determines a greater sensitivity to rewards and a higher propensity to engage in risk behaviors. Ponce ensures that the stimulating effect of the game can be able to relieve in temporary states of anxiety and sadness prevalent in adolescence. "In addition, at these ages there is a greater dependence on social recognition in peer groups, which would determine a special risk in those who press for certain practices, such as the game or the use of substances".
Nor must it be overlooked that the expansion of game modes and the diffusion of propaganda through internet is an increase exponentially the greater the availability to play, mainly in those who use these media. If years ago, it was found that the increased availability of game (more betting centers, casinos or slot) is associated with an increase of cases of pathological gambling , "it is easy to understand that the ubiquitous digital promotion of the game and the multiple possibilities that exist involving an increase in the risk among the main users of digital media," explains Guillermo Ponce.
on the other hand, points out that the fact of making possible the access to different modalities of games of chance to a younger age favours the development of the problems arising, "as it is firmly noted that the earlier onset of these practices is associated with a faster progression to pathological gambling and a greater severity of this. Previously had an average of 5-6 years from the start of the play behavior until they developed the addiction, while in actuality, in only a few months are trapped by the game because of the ease of access it any place, 24 hours a day.
Guillermo Ponce also alert the modalities covert, as the game no money different video games, or the game of proof, in "demo" mode , in the pages of the games of chance that do not restrict this mode to minor, and in which, for the promotional strategy, facilitates achieving early profits high. "The experience of obtaining a high gain can be a trigger for the development of the habit of playing up to dangerous levels: many patients people with pathological gambling tell how his habit began in the wake of a high-gain point, which implanted in them the belief false of a high probability of getting one or a special skill staff to achieve success in the games," explains the psychiatrist.
For this reason, recommends that parents monitor what their children are doing on the internet and not let that fall into these traps covert of games that can do that, little by little, to spend many hours "hitching a ride" to them. " video games are just the initial phase because, although they have no economic gain, it gives them the rewarding feeling of being good every time they earn points or pass levels and be they who dominate the play".
One of the biggest problems in this matter to the technical director of Fejar is that "the Administration believes the game of chance as a mechanism recaudativo, without perceiving it as a channel addictive and generates serious problems , both in the individual himself trapped by the game as in his family environment, social... it Is an addiction without substances with psychosocial consequences of very serious and, therefore, –insists Lamas– the State should also assume part of its responsibility to be accountable for the costs of public health to get these people with pathological gambling from a very early age. In Spain, the 1% of the population plays the way pathological; that is to say, there are affected about 400,000 people , to which must be added the disorder generated in the family, which means that finally affects 2.5% of the population, a million people, which is a not inconsiderable" says Lamas.do Not blame the parents
In this sense, and to avoid that these numbers increase, the technical director of Fejar points that is required by a regulation of the advertising, which is to consider the gambling as a public health problem, especially in more vulnerable sectors like the youth and children, and prevention measures have been taken.
Juan Lamas points out that when a young girl becomes ludópata you can't blame the parents. " There is a shared responsibility between the family and Administration . Parents can not fight for themselves against the mechanisms of the Administration. The only thing you can do is to inform their children of the risks involved in get started in this type of practices that are designed precisely to attract on several occasions to their consumption," he concludes.
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