Once each year, I pause the gambling news and hype to be sure we look at the seriousness of problem gambling. March is Problem Gambling Awareness month. It comes at a perfect time in New England in 2017 when the expansion of gambling seems on the verge of chaos, with the additional considerations of a third Connecticut casino, a third Maine casino, and more speculation in Bridgeport Ct & New Hampshire.
For the 13th year, The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) dedicates March to helping people “have the conversation” about problem gambling. “Problem Gambling is a disease that affects over seven million Americans , yet few talk about it,” said National Council on Problem Gambling Executive Director Keith Whyte, “and that’s why we created the ‘Have The Conversation’ campaign to raise awareness of prevention, treatment and recovery services available for those adversely affected by gambling.”
Katie Barlowe of Casino.org and in her article “Problem Gambling Awareness Month Highlights Plainridge Park Casino’s Safeguard Failures” she includes the following: “Most adults gamble or know someone who gambles, and, therefore, could benefit from programs to prevent gambling addiction,” the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) website states. “We believe many who suffer in silence do so because they don’t know why they developed a problem, what gambling addiction is or where to get help.”
As any vice/leisure activity allowed in our society, certain responsibilities should be followed. However, some are not able to resist the overwhelming dark sides of these actions. Whether for moral, economic, or basic human caring reasons, we try to provide help to those who cannot help themselves.
You might find it odd to have a post dealing with the “dark side” of gaming, but it is with an objective responsibility that NETime Gambling covers it all, and that includes the awareness of problem gambling.
MS. Barlowe also includes the following statistics:
- According to an info-graphic released by the NCPG, problem gambling accounts for $7 billion in the US annually due to addiction, bankruptcy, and crime.
- Of the estimated five million Americans who already meet the criteria for gambling addiction, three in four have problems with alcohol, 38 percent use or have used illegal drugs, and 20 percent have attempted or committed suicide.
For more information on problem gambling, go to the National Council on Problem Gambling website.
Massachusetts leads the charge in offering help to problem gambling. According to RGTOnline, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is implementing the following initiatives:
MGC will implement the following initiatives:
- Educate: On 12 March 2017, MGC will launch a new advertising campaign to promote its GameSense program, an innovative and comprehensive responsible gaming strategy to encourage responsible play and mitigate program gambling.
- Communicate: Throughout the month, MGC will execute a social media campaign to increase awareness about problem gambling prevention and the resources available.
- Collaborate: Working closely with MGC, GameSense Advisors will conduct a series of training and awareness-building activities for Plainridge Park Casino employees.
- Research: Later in the month, MGC will announce new details about efforts to expand its research agenda and introduce new data that will further inform intervention, prevention and treatment strategies for problem gambling.
- Support: MGC supports the Cambridge Health Alliance’s Gambling Disorder Screening Day. On 14 March 2017, the Cambridge Health Alliance’s Division on Addiction and Outpatient Addiction Services are sponsoring a Gambling Disorder Screening Day as part of the Cambridge Health Alliance Readiness for Gambling Expansion (CHARGE) Initiative.
- The state’s Gaming Commission will continue to require that Massachusetts casino operators implement GameSense, a program developed by the British Columbia Lottery Corp. in Canada in 2009 to let players manage the financial side of gambling. Wynn Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield will implement this program, and Plainridge Park casino has seen success with its implementation this past year.
Kudos to MGM International. Just this week, on Wednesday, MGM Resorts executives announced at a meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, that the company will implement GameSense at its resorts in Las Vegas and elsewhere around the country, not just in Springfield where it is required.
Help each other if your friends, family or children seem to be spending money they don’t have. If you have questions or concerns about your own gambling, take the 20 Question Check at Gambler’s Anonymous. Wouldn’t it be great to not have to worry?