March is #PGAM
Thursday, February 27, 2020
Posted by: Joel Simon
March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month
Awareness Plus Action Needed with Increased Sports Betting
Washington, DC (February 27, 2020) – As March Madness builds to a crescendo with an estimated $10 billion in bets that will be placed on the NCAA basketball championship games, calls to the National Problem Gambling Helpline (1-800-522-4700) are expected to spike significantly during the month. Sports betting is now legal in many states, and research demonstrates that young males and athletes have an increased risk of developing a gambling problem. So it is especially important to communicate this message to the public now.
For the eighteenth year in a row, the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) is dedicating the month of March to helping people affected by problem gambling. Approximately 2 million U.S. adults (1 percent of the national population) are estimated to meet formal criteria for gambling addiction, and an additional 4 to 6 million (2 to 3 percent) are estimated to be experiencing gambling problems. On average, each individual affected by gambling addiction impacts an additional seven to twenty people in their families and communities. Yet for many, gambling remains a hidden addiction.
Using the tagline #AwarenessPlusAction, the National Council on Problem Gambling developed Problem Gambling Awareness Month (#PGAM) to raise awareness of the prevention, treatment and recovery services available to individuals adversely affected by gambling. This grassroots campaign brings together a wide range of stakeholders, among them public health organizations, advocacy groups including NCPG state affiliates, and gambling operators. They work collaboratively to publicize issues such as how to identify if someone has a gambling disorder, how to get help, and that treatment works – in short, that hope and help exist. NCPG is providing a special web page to give information on local state activities and events – participants may share them via a link on www.ncpgambling.org/pgam.
Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM) is designed to achieve three goals:
-to increase public awareness of problem gambling
-to increase the availability of prevention, treatment and recovery services
-to encourage healthcare providers to screen clients for problem gambling
NCPG provides information materials and special graphics in the PGAM Toolkit on its website, which may be used without charge by anyone who wants to participate in advocacy and awareness activities this March. Each year, hundreds of organizations do.
“March Madness is a time when we see an increase in gambling and more outreach for our services. PGAM is important to me – and NCPG and our partners as a whole – because we want to help individuals with problem gambling, and this is the peak time for raising awareness of the issue,” said Keith Whyte, Executive Director of the National Council on Problem Gambling.
Problem gambling, gambling disorder and gambling addiction are formal terms that professionals working in this field use to describe a spectrum of gambling behavior patterns that compromise, disrupt or damage personal, family or vocational pursuits.
PGAM will also include a Gambling Disorder Screening Day on March 10, 2020, hosted in collaboration with the Cambridge Health Alliance, a nonprofit health organization headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Gambling Disorder Screening Day is an international event designed to support health care providers in the identification of gambling disorder. All too often, this disorder leads to financial, emotional, social, occupational and physical harms, yet many cases go undetected due to the limited availability of accessible assessments to identify this problem. Screening Day addresses the issue and provides tools to detect gambling-related problems as early as possible.
The Louisiana Association on Compulsive Gambling (LACG) is one of many organizations preparing for PGAM. “Together we can help thousands of people this March to become Aware and to take Action towards getting help for gambling addiction,” said Janet Miller, Executive Director of LACG and member of NCPG’s Board of Directors. “We have provided highly successful treatment for many people. Please call or text 1-800-522-4700 today to get started. We understand. ”
About the National Council on Problem Gambling
Based in Washington DC, the National Council on Problem Gambling is the only national nonprofit organization that seeks to minimize the economic and social costs associated with gambling addiction by working with constituents in all facets of gambling.
If gambling becomes a problem, NCPG urges people who gamble, as well as their loved ones, to contact the National Problem Gambling Helpline, which offers hope and help without judgment or shame. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call or text 1-800-522-4700 or visit www.ncpgambling.org/chat. Help is available 24/7 – it is free and confidential.
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