Daniel Maté at the Sustainable Gambling Conference; working against the status quo

Composer and author Daniel Maté spoke about his understanding of gambling addiction and the challenges the industry will face in order to efficiently tackle it. 

daniel mate

Composer, lyricist and author Daniel Maté took to the stage at Kindred Group’s Sustainable Gambling Conference on 20 March, where he spoke about his background and experience in understanding gambling addiction. 

Maté made it clear that he was not a doctor, having “a humble BA in Psychology from McGill University.” However, his father, Gabor, is a doctor. According to Maté, he is an “author, doctor, therapist and speaker, and really an expert on addiction. He's the one that... transform[ed] many people's view of addiction... I was co-author.” 

He then went on to address the room directly, which hosted not only Gambling Insider’s roaming reported Ciaran McLoughlin but many other faces from the industry as well. “The immediate question in my mind was, do these people know wh[at] they're getting themselves into? Which is to say, and this is before I understood much about the Sustainable Gambling Conference... why would the gambling industry want to hear from one of the authors of a book whose main thesis is that our entire, for lack of a less cliche term, capitalist society, is producing conditions that's creating many of the mental health and physical health crises that we're seeing?” 

Throughout the following segments of his slot at the conference, Maté spoke about the “heartfelt intention of this conference, which is to create a more humane industry for humans to enjoy something that human beings have always enjoyed.” 

He made a comment about the nature of addiction, taking examples from his book and the individuals affected by gambling addiction. “I want to speak about addiction itself because how we frame the problem [is] always ‘how we will try to resolve it.’ 

“You could be approaching this from the point of view of, well, addiction is a disease, addiction is something that affects a few unfortunate... I think having a clear and actionable understanding of what addiction actually is is very important because it turns out that a society that produces this much addiction isn't all that understanding [of] what it is.” 

In his book, ‘The Myth of Normal,’ “My father and I present an alternative paradigm for understanding addiction that I think, if it's grasped and or even just considered, might offer you some new ways of approaching the issue.”  

Maté concluded his time at the conference with the following: “Sustainable business is great, but just understand that there is a contradiction in it that will be pulling you in the other direction because the profit motive itself doesn't understand human things like compassion and it doesn't understand health. It understands short-term gain. So being willing to work with that paradox and understand that the status quo as it is has been [created] by the logics and imperatives of capitalist industry... and that if you're going to create a different intention for the consequences and customer experience in your industry, you're gonna have to somehow go against the prevailing brain. 

“Everything on the agenda tells me there's a very good chance that that's exactly what you in this room are up to and I truly say more power to you and may the odds be in your favour.” 

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