Kindred Group attended the Danish Political Week, "Folkemødet" (The People's Meeting), on the island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea.
Why are we attending?
As is the case in many other countries, gambling is on the mind of many stakeholders, and currently, negotiations are underway in Denmark, culminating in a new political agreement in the autumn, which subsequently turns into regular legislation.
Much of the debate has largely been highly emotional and lacking evidence, creating challenges for the industry and the players since regulation risks based on emotions rather than facts will have a symbolic effect.
The overall purpose of Kindred's attendance is to move the debate from being highly emotional and without evidence to one based on research, facts and the importance of evidence-based future regulation.
Kindreds General Manager for Denmark, Kim Olesen, participated in four debates at Folkemødet, meeting the Minister of Taxation twice.
Analysis of the relationship between mental illness and gambling addiction:
To create an evidence-based foundation for Kindred's participation in this year's meeting, we asked Implement Consulting Group to prepare an analysis of the relationship between mental disorders and gambling addiction.
Previously, there have been indications of a connection between mental illness and gambling addiction. Therefore, the report aimed to investigate what evidence was found in comparable countries on this issue to contribute collective knowledge and a starting point for a new debate.
Based on the literature, the key insights are outlined below:
- Gambling addiction and other disorders are often comorbid. The existing research indicates that gambling addiction should not be considered an isolated disorder, as it is often seen in connection with other psychological or behaviour-related disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and drug and alcohol addiction.
- Gambling addiction is often positively correlated with other disorders. Based on the literature, it can be deduced that the current evidence primarily supports the co-occurrence of gambling addiction and comorbid conditions, which are most often reported as positively correlated, which means that a more severe degree of gambling addiction is often associated with a more severe degree of the comorbid disorder.
- Reciprocal influences between gambling addiction and other mental disorders. The research shows links between mental disorders and gambling addiction, but there is a lack of consensus about the specific relationship, especially concerning causal influences. While it was previously assumed that gambling addiction could cause secondary disorders, recent studies suggest that there are bidirectional, reciprocal relationships and that gambling addiction can be both a predictor and a consequence of mental disorders and vice versa. This suggests that mental disorders can occur before the development of gambling addiction but also that gambling addiction can predict and, in some cases, reinforce later-onset disorders.
- Lack of research into the temporal aspects of comorbidity. There are divergent results regarding the temporal context and the specific patterns of when the comorbidity presents as a diagnosis. By clarifying the chronology of ailments and diagnoses over a longer period, one can examine any causal effects or decisive factors that can shed light on the order in which concurrent diagnoses occur.
The report and its conclusions formed the framework for Kindred Group's events at this year's Folkemøde.
1. Round table discussion
The intimate round table discussion was held as a closed event for 14 guests, with lunch in a private backyard in Allinge. At the table were several politicians, researchers, psychologists, and representatives from the industry, as well as Frederikke Pape Kofoed from Implement Consulting Group, who reviewed the report's results and answered questions. During lunch, a discussion of the results took place. One of the country's leading researchers recognized the analysis as valid and relevant. Several of the participants have subsequently spoken in very positive terms about the event. Researcher Thomas Marcussen and Member of the Parliament for The Moderates Mohammad Rona asked if they could help launch the analysis in the media.
Many topics were discussed: A long-term national plan for prevention and treatment, the challenges of the gambling area being under the Ministry of Taxation (with treatment and research under the Ministry of Health), considerations about measures in the municipal, e.g. regarding the diagnosis of ADHD, the problems of the one-sided and narrow debate focused on advertising and the importance of the debate broadened, if the desire is to help those who have problems.
2. A debate between industry and the world of research
After the round table discussion, the debate continued to the main stage under the headline: "How do we best prevent and treat gambling addiction in Denmark?"
On stage were a researcher, a psychologist, a representative from the gaming industry and Kim Olesen, General Manager Denmark, Kindred Group. The debate began with a short presentation of the analysis and touched on what the industry itself can do, among other things. Kim Olesen emphasized that Kindred is not against regulation but should be based on evidence because otherwise, we end up with quick-fix solutions that do not help those who seriously have a problem.
3. An honest conversation: A former gambling addict and the operator
The last item on the list of events was a talk between the former gambling addict Marcus Kondrup and Kindred Group's Kim Olesen. Marcus described his journey from a young teenager developing a taste for gambling to the situation where he considered taking his own life. The mental disorders came first for him, and he did not want to point fingers at the industry or others for where he ended up when things were at their worst. Kim expressed that Marcus was precisely the type of player that Kindred doesn't want as a customer and pointed out that more needs to be done to prevent children and young people from playing. The talk also provided plenty of opportunities for questions from the audience.
Being the only private gambling operator with events at Folkemødet brings Kindred to the forefront of the conversation, showing our commitment to Danish society, the fight against gambling addiction and providing a responsible path to gambling.