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. For the 14th year, PGAM, the Problem Gambling Awareness Month, is a national public awareness and outreach campaign established to bring awareness to issues associated with problem gambling and to also highlight the national and local resources available to provide individuals and families with support.
As any vice/leisure activity allowed in our society, certain responsibilities should be followed. However, some people are not able to resist the overwhelming dark sides of their 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. Consider this:
- 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.
In recognition of PGAM this year, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission presents the following initiatives:
- PREVENT: This month, MGC will introduce an updated version of its Responsible Gaming Framework. Originally published in 2014, the RGF is intended to inform gaming regulation in Massachusetts and provide an overall orientation to the responsible gaming practices and policies adopted by MGC and its licensees. After a comprehensive review process which included participation of independent experts and members of the recovery community, the latest RGF now includes updated key principles, expanded strategies and is grounded in the most up-to-date research.
- EDUCATE: MGC is currently developing a new marketing and advertising campaign for the GameSense program, MGC’s innovative and comprehensive responsible gaming strategy to encourage responsible play and mitigate program gambling. Expected to launch this summer, the new outreach campaign will extend to Western Massachusetts in anticipation of the MGM Springfield opening.
- COMMUNICATE: Throughout the month, MGC will implement a targeted social media campaign to increase awareness about problem gambling prevention and the resources available.
- COLLABORATE: Working closely with MGC, GameSense Advisors at Plainridge Park Casino will conduct a series of training and awareness-building activities for casino employees.
- RESEARCH: MGC remains committed to its robust research agenda and using findings to further inform problem gambling intervention, prevention and treatment strategies. View MGC’s latest research report about problem gambling. Last month, the MGC released the first significant report of the Massachusetts gaming impact cohort study. Information from this study provides new and much-needed information about problem gambling incidence rates and behavioral trajectory. This study will yield important information leading to tailored treatment and prevention programs.
- SUPPORT: MGC supports the Cambridge Health Alliance’s Gambling Disorder Screening Day. On 13 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
Other New England States have the following to help gamblers with addiction problems:
Connecticut – The Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling
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?