With millions of people working from home and spending more time in front of their screens these days, the online world is more active than ever before. Playing online has become many people’s favorable pastime, and there are countless possibilities to do it.
Online casinos, betting operators and poker rooms compete for potential players with promotions and other incentives. While these can be fun, it’s crucial to stay in control of your gaming habits.
What is Problem Gambling?
Playing online becomes a problem when it stops being entertainment. If you find yourself chasing losses, playing longer than you should and/or losing more money than you can afford, you might be one of several million people in the US who suffer from a gambling problem.
Identifying problem gambling is the first step to get help. As an example, MGM Resorts and BetMGM have started an initiative to promote Problem Gambling Awareness Month this March.
The MGM Initiative
Recognizing the issues that arise because of problem gambling, MGM Resorts and their online branch BetMGM have partnered up with the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) to start an education series for their employees.
“Throughout the month they’ll hear from experts about the nature of problem gambling, the importance of research and policy, and the role they can play in preventing problem gambling”, explains Richard Taylor, Responsible Gambling Program Manager at BetMGM.
“We’re committed to providing BetMGM emloyees with the responsible gambling tools, information, and empowerment they need to ensure the highest level of customer service and care possible.”
MGM has a history of supporting responsible gaming, and this education series provided by EPIC Risk is another measure to help protect their customers by teaching employees to spot gambling disorders.
Educating the Public
Problem Gambling Awareness Month, however, does not just concern casino and sports betting operator employees.
“The goal of Problem Gambling Awareness Month is to spotlight the issues and educate the general public about the warning signs of problem gambling, as well as raise awareness about treatment and other programs that are available both locally and nationally,” says Elizabeth Lanza.
Lanza is the Director of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s (PGCB) Office of Compulsive and Problem Gambling, which also recognizes and supports Problem Gambling Awareness Month. In order to do this, the PGCB works with several state and nationwide operating organizations.
Similar responses have come from many other states all across the US. Among other initiatives, the PGCB has launched a new website dedicated solely to problem gambling. Players who think they might have an issue with gambling can find the site at responsibleplay.pa.gov.
PGAM 2021 Events
The Problem Gambling Awareness Month campaign is now in its 16th year, and it features plenty of online events all through the month. It follows two main goals:
- To increase public awareness of problem gambling and the availability of prevention, treatment and recovery services.
- To encourage healthcare providers to screen clients for problem gambling.
Industry representatives, health experts and even former addicts will present seminars that shed more light on the different aspects of problem gambling. You can find them on the website of the National Council on Problem Gambling and take part online.
How Serious is Problem Gambling?
According to research, around two million US adults suffer from severe gambling disorder, while another four to six million show mild or moderate forms of gambling problems. This amounts to 3-4% of the population. Of course this also means that the overwhelming majority gamble responsibly.
Problem Gambling is not visible at first, but does have serious consequences for a person’s well-being as well as for their families. It is important to know that you cannot help somebody who suffers from it by helping them financially. Financial issues are just a symptom of what is essentially an emotional problem. If you know someone who shows a preoccupation with gambling or if you want to take action to help the issue, you can always turn to the PGAM website for help.