The latest episode of Martin Lycka’s Safe Bet Show sees the Entain SVP of US Regulatory Affairs and Responsible Gambling engage in conversation with Cam Adair, the founder of Game Quitters, the world’s largest support community for video game addiction.
The podcast covers significant ground across the topic of video gaming, how it interacts with traditional sports and the potential risks to mental health for those whose gameplay becomes problematic.
Betting was one of the first issues to be addressed by the pairing, with Adair citing the recent news surrounding professional hockey player Evander Kane, who has been subject to an investigation into betting on hockey games.
He noted: “The Evander Kane story really illustrates the importance of professional and even amateur athletes being educated on issues around gambling, around gaming, around mental health. And really being able to help these athletes who are some of the most talented, skilled players in the world be able to lead successful lives outside the game as well.
“Over the last few years, not just with Evander Kane and gambling, but in many professional leagues, there have been stories of teams really struggling with this new phenomenon of gaming.”
He added: “It goes to show the importance of education, not just for amateurs but also professionals and I also believe as we go forward and more and more young people have been gaming since a very young age, that is the next generation of professional athletes. So being able to understand this topic and stay safe is very important.”
While education is evidently high on Adair’s agenda, the former pro hockey player believes that gamers themselves have a part to play in safeguarding the mental health of their peers.
“I think the gaming community itself is very much the first line of defence around these issues,” he explained. “Most gamers who play, they know other gamers who are struggling in some way shape or form. It doesn’t mean all those gamers are struggling with, say, excessive gaming as an example, but it could be any mental health issue that’s occurring.
“If we look at an issue like bullying, for instance, what was so effective about preventing or reducing bullying, around the world was encouraging peers to speak up.”
He continued: “I think the gaming community itself has such a powerful role to play in this to be able to identify peers in the community who may be struggling, and then encourage them to seek help, and the gaming industry can be providing more resources for those individuals who need that support to be able to find it.”
Adair also detailed his belief that the gaming industry could do more to protect players’ mental health through the utilization of technology, as well as social media platforms such as Instagram.