The Minnesota Department of Human Services earned two national awards for its efforts to combat problem gambling at the 31st annual conference of the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) in July. NCPG recognized Minnesota’s programs to reach unique audiences through its “Just Ask MN” campaign and Lao community engagement initiative.

Minnesota DHS’s Lao community engagement initiative earned the Corporate Multi-Cultural Communications Award for being the “most effective multi-cultural outreach program using integrated communication channels.” The initiative engaged the Twin Cities Southeast Asian community in a multi-year listening process. The goal of the effort was to collaborate with the Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota to develop awareness and culturally appropriate resources to address problem gambling. The Lao creative is featured on the Communities page of GetGamblingHelp.com.

JustAskMN.org won the Corporate Website Award for being an “outstanding website that has best raised public awareness of problem/pathological gambling.” JustAskMn.org aims to raise awareness and prevent problem gambling among young adults. Research shows that young adults – specifically, college-age individuals – tend to be at a higher risk for problem gambling than adults and an estimated six percent of college students in the U.S. have a serious gambling problem. JustAskMn.org encourages young adults to explore their concerns about gambling, know the signs and risks associated with problem gambling, and make use of many available resources. The digital-focused campaign was developed with the insights of focus groups and in-person interviews.