Op de laatste Gaming in Holland conferentie in Amsterdam sprak ik namens AGOG Nederland, onder andere over allerlei anti-verslaving-apps die worden ontwikkeld. Dat moest in het Engels, en ondanks vijf talen destijds in mijn eindexamenpakket, vond ik het een hels karwei. Gelukkig hebben mijn vrouw en zeker ook mijn zoon geholpen met de vertaling. Zie hieronder de Engelse tekst!
My name is Feite Hofman and I am a member of the Board of the AGOG, the gamblers anonymous organisation in Holland. I have been a gambling addict from age 17 till age 39. So I’ve been gambling for over twenty years, in the casino’s in Groningen, Rotterdam and Arnhem, and placed my last bet 6,5 years ago. And… Yes I was lucky… at the end of this period! That is to say, my wife and kids are still with me, my family didn’t turn their back on me, I live in a house, have a job and have been out of debts since two months. I’m glad and grateful no friends left me, and also I am glad I can finally after almost seven years speak free about my addiction. I speak about it with kids on highschools and sometimes tell my personal story at courses for casino workers.
Every week I am still helping gambling addicts in a AGOG self-help group in Arnhem.
AGOG is a collection of 20 off these groups of anonymous gambling addicts in The Netherlands, spread through about the country. Most groups have a parallel group for family and friends. Gambling addiction is equally destructive for the player as for his or her surrounding. AGOG monitors all developments in the gambling business closely, also the newest developments in prevention by apps, often in cooperation with medical care institutions. We have also been in conversation with gambling concerns and the local and national politics. This is doing us well and even healing our scars, to at least talk to them.
As regards to the apps that are being made we can be very clear. We principally support all developments that prevent too much gambling and definitely all means that can help a player to stop the addiction. Because for those people the AGOG stands, for the people that don’t know their limits in gambling, that have fallen ill with it.
Gambling addiction is an illness, ladies and gentlemen!!!
For those who cannot believe that: just check the medical literature, and see the DSM. We do not have the illusion that this illness can be eradicated, as is is as old as humanity, but we do believe that it should be treated with all possible means.
We see clear differences between the various apps. You will understand that we critically watch those that try to stimulate “responsible gaming”. Surely that is what the people in our groups couldn’t do, and definitely shouldn’t ever try. Just as nobody will ever advise an alcoholic to drink moderately.
The term ” responsible gaming” doesn’t meet much enthusiasm in our groups. One makes a joke of it or gets angry. With the background of our people that is completely logical. But if there would be a tool that would make a player conscious of the danger he is in, we will always support that tool. Because unfortunately a small part of the gamblers are not happy, or rather totally destroyed, despite al the beautiful casinos, websites or apps.
For those people we stand.
We also stand for their family, their friends and loved ones. Often they are forgotten in the problem of gambling addiction. It is them we represent too, because it’s not only the gambler who gets in serious trouble!
This is what AGOG works for!
(thank you four your attention)