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The National Council on Problem Gambling has officially commenced Problem Gambling Awareness Month, a campaign which is now in its nineteenth year.

The initiative takes place during the month of March Madness, an annual NCAA basketball tournament that sees over $8bn wagered on its games and which forms the backdrop that the NCPG, and its partners across the country, aim to leverage to help raise awareness and create action for those suffering from gambling problems.

“March Madness is a time of year when we see an increase in gambling and more demand for our services,” said Keith Whyte, executive director of NCPG

“Too many people still don’t recogniae they are exhibiting signs of this addictive behaviour and are unaware of the help that is available to them.”

The PGAM grassroots campaign strives to bring together a wide range of stakeholders, among them public health organisations, advocacy groups including NCPG state affiliates, and operators.

The Washington DC-based non-profit is targeting a pair of goals with 2021’s iteration, with those being an increase in the public awareness of problem gambling and encouraging healthcare providers to screen clients for gambling problems.

The NCPG also collaborates with the Cambridge Health Alliance on Gambling Disorder Screening Day, which occurs on March 9, 2021. CHA, a non-profit health organization headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, hosts the international event that has been held annually on the second Tuesday in March since 2014. 

It is designed to encourage health care providers to screen for gambling problems in the same way they do for alcohol and drug use disorder or domestic abuse, and to provide the tools to recognise gambling disorder for both the public and health care providers. 

Whyte added: “Problem gambling is certainly not confined to sports betting. We want anyone who may have a problem with any form of gambling to know that they don’t have to suffer in silence.”