NCPG preparing for US Problem Gambling Awareness Month

The National Council on Problem Gambling is striving to expand awareness and understanding “of this often-hidden illness,” as the national advocate for people and families affected by such issues prepares for Problem Gambling Awareness Month.

PGAM has been designed with three key strategic goals, to increase public awareness of problem gambling, to increase the availability of prevention, treatment and recovery services and to encourage healthcare providers to screen clients for problem gambling.

Bringing together a wide range of stakeholders, from public health organisations and advocacy groups to gambling operators, the NCPG stresses that it aims to “work collaboratively to let people know that there is hope and help for this addiction”.

Also represents the month that the annual March Madness reaches a crescendo, the NCAA hosted single elimination tournament is expected to see in the region of $10bn of placed bets, with calls to the National Problem Gambling Helpline also expected to spike 40 per cent.

Keith Whyte, executive director of NCPG, commented: “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 as a whole – because we want to help individuals with problem gambling, and this is the peak time for raising awareness of the issue.”

PGAM also includes gambling disorder screen day, set for March 12, 2019, in collaboration with the Cambridge Health Alliance, which is designed to support health care providers in the identification of gambling disorders.

Entering the sixteenth year that the NCPG has named March as PGAM, the organisation states approximately two million, or one per cent, of US adults are estimated to meet criteria for gambling addiction, with a further four to six million, two to three per cent, for gambling disorder or problem gambling.

Janet Miller, executive director of the Louisiana Association on Compulsive Gambling, a state affiliate chapter of NCPG, added: “Let’s not assume anyone is immune from the effects of this addiction. This year together we can help thousands of families learn about this addiction and the available resources of helplines, treatment, and counselling.”

Whyte is set to speak at the inaugural Betting on Sports America, being held at New Jersey’s Meadowlands Exposition Center from 23-25 April, 2019, on a panel titled ‘tackling problem gambling – what is effective?’