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Education Campaign Launch

Press Release: Thursday January 8 2015Launch of Educational Campaign about responsible gaming and related behavioural addictionsThe Responsible Gaming Foundation is a relatively new Foundation in the Maltese context. The Foundation helps in research, media campaigns and support in areas related to responsible gaming. Furthermore, the Chairman of the Foundation, Hon. Silvio Schembri together with the Minister Evarist Bartolo and Parliamentary Secretary Jose Herrera this morning launched the educational campaign with all year 4 students in Malta and Gozo at the Senglea Primary School.The Minister for Education and Employment, Hon. Evarist Bartolo, stated that as a ministry, they believe in the importance of educational campaigns with school children. Several of these campaigns are held. However, in this case the issues tackled where those of responsible gaming and related behavioural addictions. The Minister explained and shared personal experiences where he has actually met adults in his everyday life who prefer buying lottery tickets or playing bingo rather than buying everyday necessities. Minister Bartolo also explained that gaming and gambling should be considered as a leisurely activity and not a money-making habit. The Hon. Bartolo concluded his address by stating that the Ministry for Education and Employment will be working in close proximity with the Responsible Gaming Foundation so that school children around Malta and Gozo become aware of these issues and of the related behavioural addictions that may eventually arise.Parliamentary Secretary Jose Herrera stated that through this educational campaign, year 4 students, attending in more than 100 schools state, church and private will have the opportunity to become aware about certain addictions and how to overcome them, including the excessive use of internet and computer. Hon. Herrera stated that year 4 students were chosen for different reasons, such as the fact that at that age students need to participate in concrete activities and play in order to grasp an understanding of how to overcome certain addictions. He also stated that this is the third project launched by the Responsible Gaming Foundation further to the launch of the Corporate Social Responsibility Programme and the Foundation website during late 2014.The Hon. Silvio Schembri, as Chairman of the Responsible Gaming Foundation, launched the educational campaign, which will be held in all primary schools of Malta and Gozo reaching more than 100 schools and about 3000 students. He stated that the Foundation was created so that it helps people who are in need of support and who are already suffering from gambling addiction, be it the gamer himself/herself or his/her dependants. Also, the Foundation would like to help school children to understand the concept of responsibility, especially in areas related to gaming and the usage of internet. Embracing this concept would mean students will be able to create the right balance in all aspects of their lives. ''There are a lot of alternative recreational activities apart from internet and computer games. We all need to participate in other activities such as playing an instrument, drama, sports and countryside walks. Everything must be done in a responsible manner,'' was the concluding message of Hon. Schembri.Ms Rita Buhagiar, Head of Senglea Primary School, addressed the year 4 students present as well. Ms Buhagiar stated that such educational campaigns are crucial in offering a true and holistic education to our school kids. As a head of school working in close contact with the parents/guardians of the students, she stated that the school will start offering new and interesting recreational after-school activities as from the near future. Mr Clayton Cutajar, Coordinator within the Responsible Gaming Foundation, stated that the campaign will focus on the importance of being responsible in whatever we do as from a young age together with the use of a life-size mascot. He concluded by stating that the campaign will be creating awareness about certain behavioral addictions that both adults and children alike might become dependent on, such as the excessive use of internet, computer games and other types of gaming.

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