FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:Susan Sheridan Tucker – Executive Director
1935 West County Road B-2
Roseville, MN 55113
Roseville, MN (March 1, 2019) – For the 15th year, Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance will partner with the National Council on Problem Gambling to recognize March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM). This year’s theme is Awareness + Action, with the goal of raising awareness about gambling addiction and emphasizing that treatment is available in Minnesota at no cost to those in need.
PGAM is a grassroots campaign that brings together a wide range of interested parties, including public health organizations, advocacy groups and gambling operators (Allied Charities, Canterbury Park, Minnesota Indian Gaming Association and the Minnesota Lottery) who work collaboratively to help people understand problem gambling and to know that hope and help exists. Nationally, various organizations hold conferences, host screening and training events, launch media campaigns, and conduct outreach for those who can help share the message that problem gambling services are widely available.
“Most Minnesotans don’t know that problem gambling treatment—whether inpatient or outpatient— is available at no cost through state-approved providers,” says Susan Sheridan Tucker, executive director of Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance. Up to 12 hours of free counseling is also available to affected family members. “Problem Gambling Awareness Month gives us the opportunity to shine more light on problem gambling and hopefully reach large numbers of Minnesotans who may need help for this devastating addiction.”
PGAM is timed to coincide with March Madness, an event that attracts more gambling than any other event outside the Super Bowl. It’s estimated that $10 billion is bet during the tournament.
Most people gamble responsibly as a form of fun entertainment. However, others are not able to stop gambling despite undesirable consequences. Approximately two million Americans (1% of the population) are estimated to meet criteria for pathological gambling while another four to six million (2-3%) are considered problem gamblers. In Minnesota, it’s estimated that up to 200,000 people may be struggling with problem gambling.
Problem gambling is considered the “hidden addiction” because there are few outward signs of gambling compulsion. Some of the key warning signs of problem gambling are detailed at NorthstarProblemGambling.org.
Individuals concerned about their gambling behavior are encouraged to call the Minnesota Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-333-HOPE (4673) for free and confidential help. There are numerous other resources available, including counseling, Gamblers Anonymous and online tools.