Since the advent of self-imposed gambling restraint in Hungary in 2016, more and more individuals in are seizing the chance and prohibiting themselves from various kinds of addictive habit. To date, 150 individuals have asked this year, according to Magyar Hírlap, to be banned from playing at the Gambling Supervisory Authority.
Gambling addicts have had the opportunity at the Hungarian Gaming Authority since 1 January 2016 to make significant self-restraint statements. This implies they can limit or prohibit themselves for one, three, or five years from one or more kinds of gambling or specific game organisations, such as casinos or arcades. This abstinence can be applied to various categories of this addictive passion: card games, casinos, online casinos, and remote gambling; or all four in combination.
In 2016, 76 individuals had already asked the ban, according to information from the Gambling Supervisory Authority, but the amount is rising every year. A total of 218 individuals were limited from gambling in 2018. This year, 150 individuals have so far asked to be banned from casinos and arcades compared to last year’s 107, so the trend appears to be continuing. Statistics show that the amount of gambling addicts in Hungary has tripled compared to 2015. This implies that about 2.5 million individuals are impacted–300,000 of whom are chronic addicts to gambling, and 800,000 are mild addicts.
The information from the Authority also demonstrates that most of those involved are opting for the longest five-year ban, but more and more individuals are also asking for short-term self-restraint. Players typically create restraint statements on all four gambling kinds, as opposed to just one category. However, rather than the authority, a substantial amount of addicts–likely thousands each year–send their statements to the specific game organiser.
The lack of studies on the subject, means the precise reason for self-restraint can only be guessed. Zsolt Demetrovics, addictologist and professor at the University of Eötvös Loránd, told Magyar Hírlap that family pressure may be present in the background, or the player realises that only external constraints can help him because they can not cope with addiction alone. He added that it is also essential to remember that gambling is a disease in which the risk of relapse is exceptionally high, and in instances in which the topic falls back, self-restraint can be a helpful instrument to overcome the addiction. Self-restraint, however, is not enough— in most instances, a complicated therapy that involves medication, psychotherapy, and peer support organisations as well as legal and physical limitations is also required.