Swiss addiction charity Sucht Schweiz has launched a new awareness-raising campaign to ensure the country’s citizens are aware of the potential dangers of online gambling.
The campaign launches in the wake of the roll-out of regulated online gaming in Switzerland, targeting the country’s 16 German-speaking cantons. Through a series of humorous TV adverts, it aims to highlight the risks associated with gambling online, using the slogan Spielen ohne Sucht (Play without addiction).
It will also look to educate players as to how they can control their gambling, such as by setting time and spending limits or taking regular breaks from playing.
A dedicated portal to help problem gamblers and their relatives, SOS-Spielsucht.ch, has also launched, while an anonymous counselling service will be made available.
It noted that those afflicted could suffer financial hardship, physical and psychological issues and become distanced from family, friends and professional life. These players tended to be the highest spending customers for gambling operators, it continued, claiming that around 10% of problem gamblers accounted for almost half of all stakes placed with operators.
Sucht Schweiz claims that around 192,000 Swiss citizens display at-risk gambling behaviour – though did not disclose the source of this figure – but added that a fraction of this number were likely to have developed problems with their habit.
With the new online casino offerings available around the clock, it added, customers could lose track of the time and money spent playing.
However, a report from the Swiss Institute for Addiction and Health Research (ISGF), published earlier this month, estimated that 0.2% of the country’s citizens were at risk of developing problems with gambling, based on data collected in 2017.
The ISGF went on to suggest that by offering a legal alternative to unlicensed operators, there would be a decline in problem gambling rates in the country.
Switzerland’s online casino market opened for business in July this year, when Grand Casino Baden launched its offering, powered by platform provider Gamanza. It has since been joined by the likes of Grand Casino Luzern (partnered with Paf), Casino Davos (Gaming1) and Swiss Casinos’ Casino Pfaffikon Zurichsee (Playtech).