Once each year, we look at the seriousness of problem gambling. March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month. 2019 is a priority for responsible gaming since gambling expansion in New England continues at a feverish pitch. Unfortunately, the addition of legal sports betting in Rhode Island brings more concerns. Recreational Gambling Is Responsible Gambling.
MARCH IS PROBLEM GAMBLING AWARENESS MONTH!
Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM) is a grassroots campaign. It depends on the participation of the NCPG state Affiliate, as well as:
- Organizational and individual members
- state health agencies
- gambling companies
- recovery groups and a wide range of healthcare organizations and providers.
Approximately 2 million (1%) of U.S. adults are estimated to meet pathological gambling criteria. Another 4-6 million (2-3%) would be considered problem gamblers. For many, responsible gambling instead is a hidden addiction.
March Madness entertain an estimated $10 billion placed on the NCAA basketball championship games. Calls to the National Problem Gambling Helpline (1-800-522-4700) spike an average of 30% during the month.
The American Gambling Association released new research. It shows that American acceptance of gaming is at an all-time high. Also, casino gamblers are actively practicing responsible gaming. In fact, bettors report setting budgets and sticking to them. Moreover, they are aware of available responsible gaming resources.
According to the research:
- 9 in 10 casual bettors set a budget before they visit a casino;
- 90 percent of those visitors report success in tracking their spending; and
- 8 in 10 casual casino visitors and 9 in 10 avid casino visitors are aware of responsible gaming resources.
Massachusetts leads the charge Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) implemented many initiatives to curb problem gambling, including:
- EDUCATION: MGC continues to generate awareness about its popular, responsible gaming program, GameSense. It works closely with GameSense Advisors at the three Mass casinos. Employees play a key role in identifying persons struggling with gambling. Consequently, educating the casino staff helps employees. Also, the research identifies those gaming employees who are at a greater risk.
- COMMUNICATION: The MGC will implement a digital campaign to promote awareness. Likewise, it will educate the public about MGC’s voluntary self-exclusion program. Besides, the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling helpline will be available.
- SUPPORT: MGC supports the Cambridge Health Alliance’s ‘Gambling Disorder Screening Day.’ It took place on March 12, 2019. Also, GameSense Advisors will offer problem gambling screening at all three Mass casinos.
Gambling Companies Also Looking to Help
Everi, IGT, and Aristocrat, a few of the industry giants, are working with the AGA. Check out these articles from the AGA’s website:
Every casino in New England has some form of help. Resources include self-exclusion programs and live chat links on websites for immediate help. Furthermore, some states offer state hotlines like the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling. For more information, go to the National Council on Problem Gambling website. Help your friends, family, or children if they seem to be spending money they don’t have. Do you have concerns about your own gambling? Take the 20 Question Check at Gambler’s Anonymous. Wouldn’t it be great not to have to worry?
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