In a country where salaries and pensions are insufficient anyway, numerous BiH citizens and that they direct their earnings into gambling. Thus, last year, citizens left almost two billion marks(one billion Euros) in 2,011 betting shops in the territory of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The citizens of Tuzla Canton spent the most money. The situation is alarming, and the trend is worrying. Especially when you take into account the fact that addiction also develops among young people who enter the world of betting as high school students.
Gambling is an occasional form of entertainment for many, but the problem arises when the desire for this type of attempt to make easy money and gain turns into an addiction. Unofficial, but worrying information is that in Bosnia and Herzegovina. there are about 50,000 pathological gamblers in society.
“Gambling addiction, or, in general, addiction to participation in games of chance is currently the leading addiction in society in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We need to work systematically and direct our programs towards children and young people, because these are the main target groups of all these harmful industries”, emphasizes Amir Hasanović, director of the Association for the Prevention of Addiction Narko-ne.
“A large-scale prevalence survey was conducted in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where we found that 70% of young people have played games of chance at least once in their lives, and we already have 8% of those who have developed pathological gambling problems,” says Meliha Bijedić, professor at Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation in Tuzla.
Although the Law on Games of Chance stipulates that betting shops, casinos and other payment places must not be located at a distance of less than 100 meters from primary and secondary schools and even religious buildings, the real picture is different. However, solving that problem requires the reaction of federal institutions.
“Predominantly betting habits come from the high school period, and unfortunately, due to our jurisdiction, we cannot do much about it,” emphasizes Ahmed Omerović, Minister of Education and Science of the Tuzla Canton.
The increasingly frequent presence of young people in betting shops is an active alarm that certain steps must be taken. In this regard, the Ministry of Education, the Pedagogical Institute, the Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation and the Narco-ne Association from Sarajevo signed an Agreement for the implementation of a gambling prevention program for secondary schools. The program includes eight thematic workshops with young people, and interactive lectures for parents and school employees.
“We will go in such a way that the project is as efficient as possible, not that it is only formally implemented in the sense that it covers as many schools as possible, and that we partially do it. But at least to capacitate a sufficient number of schools in which the activity would be fully implemented”, says Izet Numanović, Acting Director of the Pedagogical Institute of Tuzla Canton.
Betting shops should be at least a hundred meters away from secondary schools. In practice, in some places even those hundred meters are not respected, and even where they are, it is questionable whether that distance brings any results. The betting shops are full, regardless of where they are located in the city, and no systematic solution is being worked on. In addition to money, citizens leave their time in betting shops, thus building a gambling addiction that is extremely difficult to cure.