The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) has announced that it will again dedicate the month of March to helping people who encounter problems with gambling through its Problem Gambling Awareness Month initiative. The move is timely given the building excitement and publicity for the NCAA March Madness basketball championship which is expected to generate an estimated $10bn in wagers.
Calls to the National Problem Gambling Helpline (1-800-522-4700) are expected to spike significantly during the month said the NCPG, with approximately two million US adults (1% of the national population) estimated to meet formal criteria for gambling addiction, and an additional four to six million (2 to 3%) thought to be experiencing gambling problems.
Using the tagline #AwarenessPlusAction, the NCPG 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.
“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 Executive Director Keith Whyte.
PGAM will also include a Gambling Disorder Screening Day on March 10, 2020, hosted in collaboration with the Cambridge Health Alliance, a non-profit 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 disorders.