Pathological gambling has been destigmatised in recent years, as people are now more able to seek medical and psychological help to battle their gambling addictions, according to the National Betting Authority president Ioanna Fiakkou.
Speaking during the opening conference of the Safe Gaming Week, which has been held annually for the past five years, Fiakkou said one of the National Betting Authority’s main goals is to ensure that potential problems among punters can be openly discussed and addressed.
“Safe Gaming Week was established in order to raise awareness on potential issues related to compulsive gambling,” she said.
“Throughout the entire event, academics, experts and professionals will hold talks on a range of issues, including prevention and treatment.”
Fiakkou further thanked the health ministry for helping people battle their gambling addictions, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, which highlighted the problem for many.
She also added that the “Safe Gambling Action Plan 2022-2025”, which was compiled earlier this year by the National Betting Authority is set to change the way people perceive compulsive gambling, while offering help to those affected by it.
“Through the implementation of the action plan and the continuous addressing of challenges, we have succeeded in largely destigmatising problematic and pathological behaviour, as players can now easily share their concerns and seek help when needed without fear of being shunned by society,” Fiakkou said.
For his part, Health Minister Michael Hadjipandela congratulated the members of the authority for their efforts in safeguarding public health and added that, through its work, it has largely succeeded in promoting safe gambling in Cyprus.
“By offering counselling, guidance and proper information on the negative impact of betting and gambling, the National Betting Authority is teaching everyone how to protect themselves,” he said.
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