National Problem Gambling Awareness Week is March 16-22
According to the American Gaming Association, the first four days of the men’s NCAA “March Madness” college basketball tournament bring in some of the highest sports wagering of the year. National Problem Gambling Awareness Week, March 16 through March 22, falls during the first round of the tournament this season, making it an excellent time to remind everyone who gambles, to gamble responsibly.
Iowans in every county have access to legal gambling opportunities, including 18 casinos licensed by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, three tribal casinos, 2,400 lottery outlets, and 3,350 social and charitable gaming licenses. Numerous internet and illegal gaming opportunities also exist.
Many Iowans take advantage of these gambling opportunities. In the 2011 Gambling Attitudes and Behaviors Study, 91 percent of respondents reported they had gambled at some point in their life, and 69 percent gambled during the previous 12 months. The study noted that over 12 percent of respondents reported at least one symptom of problem gambling in the past 12 months.
“For most people, gambling is recreational,” said Eric Preuss, Program Manager of the Iowa Department of Public Health Office of Problem Gambling Treatment and Prevention. “However, for some, gambling can become a serious problem.”
Some signs of problem gambling include:
· Gambling for several hours or days
· Continued gambling to try and make up for losses
· Lying to loved ones about gambling
· Worry about mounting debts and inability to pay them
· Gambling when upset or depressed
Problem gambling negatively affects not only the individual, but it can also impact family, friends, and coworkers. “More than 1 in 5 adult Iowans say they have been negatively affected by the gambling behavior of someone they know,” said Preuss.
The IDPH Office of Problem Gambling Treatment and Prevention works to reduce the harm caused by problem gambling. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-BetsOff or go to www.1800BetsOff.org.