Children gamble in online casinos. Children train in t-shirts with gambling companies logos. Children are left on the streets because their homes have been gambled away. Families break up because of gambling. Gambling ads are everywhere, anytime, fully accessible and visible to all children. Huge illuminated casino signs are at every turn…
We call on the whole society – parents, civil activists, politicians, media, experts to unite behind the cause of protecting children from one of the diseases of the 21st century – gambling.
A petition to ban gambling advertising gathered nearly 4,000 signatures in just a few days. The initiators are us from National Network for Children together with Parents Association. Last week, we sent a letter to the president and the government, with which we warned that the aggressive gambling advertising is a serious risk for our children, and the state is doing nothing.
After we raised the issue, the Council for Electronic Media announced the organization of a discussion on December 13, and a meeting on the subject in the Parliamentary Committee for Children, Youth and Sport is expected on December 14.
There is an urgent need to realize the extent of the harm caused by gambling and its aggressive advertising. And to react together as a society to save our children. Gambling addiction is an internationally recognized medical condition. It destroys the personality physically, mentally, socially. About 3 million people gamble in our country.
Betting is now a click away. Over the past two years, the gambling sector has been growing at a double-digit rate, with growth mainly driven by online gambling. The number of licensed gambling sites is also increasing – if at the beginning of 2020 in Bulgaria there were 6 companies with licenses for online organizers, then in 2022 their number is already 18, according to data from the industry association, cited by Capital newspaper.
The past two years there is an unprecedented advertising push for gambling. Today we are inundated with gambling advertising during the FIFA World Cup. There are over 10 gambling ads in the ad blocks during the matches. This crossed any line of normality. Although gambling advertising is prohibited, there is a legal loophole through which e-betting and casinos slip. Famous people are used to attract children and lead young people directly to online betting platforms, online casinos and other gambling games.
From National Network for Children and Parents Association, experts, parents and citizens, we demand that the National Assembly and the responsible institutions take legal measures to:
– a complete legal ban on any form of gambling advertising;
– rules for designating the objects in which gambling is played and opening after permission in compliance with these rules;
– raising the gambling age to 21 to protect school-age students;
– introducing a gambling addiction warning requirement as a mandatory part of betting-related advertisements;
– a change in the Penal Code, through which much stricter penalties to be provided for the involvement of minors in gambling activities.
When the gambling becomes a nation’s primary dream, that’s a problem. No one has the right to increase human suffering. There are people who gamble their last two leva or their home on an empty hope that is loudly advertised. Today, thousands of children innocently bet their pocket money with predictions on the outcome of World Cup matches. As adults, we know that they are actually putting their lives on the line.
Be with us! Share and sign our petition to show that this cannot go on any longer!