Argentinean diocese calls for distinction between recreational gaming activities and addictions

.- The Social Ministry Department of the Diocese of San Carlos de Bariloche issued a statement this week stressing that for the good of individuals, families and society, clear distinctions should be made between legitimate recreational activities, such as sports, and addictions, such as those fostered by games of chance.

In the document entitled, “Games: Health Diversion or Dangerous Addiction?,” the diocesan office noted that casino games facilitate pathological addictions, especially affecting poor families, “who see in them a magic solution to their economic problems, and young people who are ensnared by the egoism of an essentially individualistic game that is an affront to the culture of work and to solidarity.”

While clarifying that diversion and games, “can be something very positive and worthy of promotion,” the document states that games “can lose their meaning and become a risky activity for the comprehensive development of the person and of society, especially when they are based on bets.”

“Many betting games are capable of impacting people of all sorts, no matter their age, sex, educational level, economic states, personality, or social class, resulting in a growing addiction difficult to overcome, and they are addictive because the urge to play is irresistible and progressively consumes the psychiatric and physical energies of the compulsive player,” the statement emphasizes.

Addiction to such games can often not only consume all of one’s finances but also wreak havoc on personal relationships and work habits.  Compulsive gambling is an “illness,” the statement observes, but unlike others in which a substance is abused, gambling is a “behavioral addiction.”

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