National helpline to provide counselling on compulsive gambling
From 2 January 9 a.m. all Danes can receive free and anonymous counselling regarding compulsive gambling when the Danish Gambling Authority opens the independent helpline “StopSpillet”. Through the helpline, gamblers and relatives can receive professional help.
When 2018 turns to 2019, a new national helpline for counselling in compulsive gambling opens. The new helpline is named StopSpillet and is part of the broad political agreement that was signed in June. The agreement includes several initiatives against compulsive gambling and part of the agreement was to establish a new helpline at the Danish Gambling Authority.
The new independent helpline replaces the helpline that was operated by the gambling provider Danske Spil.
“It is a task, which the Danish gambling Authority is both proud of and happy to receive. As an authority in the gambling area, we are capable of providing independent help and guidance to gamblers and people around them if gambling is too strong a presence in their lives” says Birgitte Sand, Director of the Danish Gambling Authority.
The number of registered persons in the Danish Gambling Authority’s register of self-excluded persons (ROFUS) has increased in recent years. These numbers stress the need for a helpline. ROFUS was launched in 2012 (when the Danish gambling market was liberalised) and in October 2018, the number of registered persons in ROFUS was 16,369.
"It is our experience that our self-exclusion system ROFUS makes a difference in the combat of compulsive gambling. And I expect that with StopSpillet, we are able to help even more gamblers and their relatives. One of our main tasks is to protect vulnerable gamblers and with the helpline, we have a new, valuable tool to do that," Birgitte Sand says.
Anonymous helpline for anyone
The counsellors, who answer the phones when StopSpillet is called, have all been through an extensive training period to handle the different types of calls that are expected. The counsellors will not be treating the callers, but will help to establish if gambling has become a problem and guide the caller through the next steps e.g. the free treatment options that exist through the state-funded treatment centres and about ROFUS.
Anyone can call StopSpillet – gamblers that feel that their gambling is getting out of control, their relatives or other in the gamblers’ social circles. Furthermore, professionals who meet compulsive gamblers through their work are also welcome to contact the helpline.
All calls are confidential and one does not need to state a name. However, the counsellors will asks a few questions that are used for statistics and documentation. The knowledge that is gathered through StopSpillet may also provide the basis for new initiatives if there proves to be special areas where efforts can be made.
StopSpillet is to be evaluated after two years.