‘Have the Conversation’ During Problem Gambling Awareness Month
March serves as the National Problem Gambling Awareness Month. In cooperation with the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), the Missouri Alliance to Curb Problem Gambling and its member organizations aim to increase the public’s awareness about problem gambling, the access to free help through the 1-888-BETSOFF (1-888-238-7633) help line, as well as encourage loved ones to “Have the Conversation” with someone who may be suffering.
“Problem gambling is often labeled as the ‘silent’ or ‘hidden’ addiction, and we want anyone who is suffering to know that they aren’t alone and that help is available,” said Mark Rembecki, Department of Mental Health and chair of the Alliance.
True to its “silent addiction” characterization, those who have a problem with gambling typically show no outward signs of addiction. Furthermore, the loved ones of a problem gambler can experience similar effects of the gambler’s addiction including mental stress and financial strain. To address the issue, the Missouri Alliance’s members have arranged for a series of public service announcements to air across the state throughout month.
“These television and radio public service announcements concentrate on the impact that compulsive gambling can have on the family of a problem gambler. The free help available in Missouri and nationwide isn’t limited to problem gamblers themselves; loved ones can access resources and information to help them through their situation,” continued Rembecki.
To access free help from licensed professionals, please call 1-888-BETSOFF (1-888-238-7633), email email@example.com or visit 888betsoff.org. The Missouri Gaming Commission and the Missouri Lottery both offer their own exclusion programs 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 Council on Problem Gambling Concerns, Inc., 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 help line, to prevent underage play and to promote responsible gaming.