March is National Problem Gambling Awareness Month
The Missouri Alliance to Curb Problem Gambling is once again supporting a nationwide initiative aimed at increasing awareness of the “silent addiction.” Currently in its 14th year, National Problem Gambling Awareness Month is an initiative created by the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG).
“The primary goal of the campaign is to encourage anyone who knows someone that might be suffering from gambling addiction to ‘Have the Conversation,’” said Susan Goedde, chair of the Missouri Alliance to Curb Problem Gambling and communications manager for the Missouri Lottery.
According to the NCPG, approximately 2-3 percent of Americans meet the criteria for problem gambling. Recent results from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Service’s 2016 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) found that less than 1 percent of Missourian’s who participate in gambling activities exhibit signs of having a problem.
“We want everyone to know that free help is available, especially those who have a gambling problem or loved ones of a problem gambler,” said Goedde. “Accessing professional help through the 1-888-BETSOFF helpline is easy and confidential.”
Goedde said that in the time since the 1-888-BETSOFF helpline was established in 2001, more than 40,000 calls have been placed to the helpline. An additional 46,000 referrals for free treatment programs have also been given.
To support the national awareness campaign and the availability of free help in Missouri, the Alliance has created a new public service announcement (PSA). The PSA is being distributed via radio and TV across the state, and it can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygPdfD1Z8WU. Alliance members also completed a redesign of the Bets Off billboards in late 2017.
To access free help from licensed professionals, please call 1-888-BETSOFF (1-888-238-7633), email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit 888betsoff.org. The Missouri Gaming Commission and the Missouri Lottery both offer their own voluntary, self-exclusion lists for problem gamblers. More information about problem gambling concerns and responsible gaming can be found at 888betsoff.org, ncpgambling.org and gamblersanonymous.org.
About the Missouri Alliance to Curb Problem Gambling (888betsoff.org)
The Missouri Alliance to Curb Problem Gambling, which was created in 1997, is a partnership between the Missouri Lottery, Missouri Department of Mental Health’s Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Missouri Gaming Association, Missouri Gaming Commission, Port Authority of Kansas City and a recovery community representative. The purpose of the Alliance is to educate Missourians on the potential characteristics and dangers of problem and compulsive gambling, to refer compulsive gamblers and their family and friends to free treatment through a toll-free helpline, to prevent underage play and to promote responsible gaming.