2004-08-04 11:50:52.337

August is Missouri Responsible Gambling Month

A three-day multi-state conference on problem gambling and substance abuse will highlight Missouri’s Responsible Gambling Awareness Month activities in August.  The Midwest Conference on Problem Gambling and Substance Abuse will be held Aug. 11-13 at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center in Kansas City.

Gov. Bob Holden proclaimed the month of August as a time to promote responsible gambling and raise awareness about problem gambling in Missouri.  This is the sixth year Missouri has designated time to raise statewide awareness about problem-gambling issues.

This conference is the first of its kind in the Midwest and is drawing speakers from throughout the country.

The three-day conference will open on Aug. 11 with a panel discussion involving several known experts in the problem gambling field.  They will discuss the barriers to problem gambling treatment and possible solutions relative to substance abuse services.  The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provided a grant for the conference.

Hosted by the Missouri Alliance to Curb Problem Gambling, the conference is the result of a joint endeavor by organizations throughout the four-state region - Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska.

"We’re very excited to be able to host this first conference," said Keith Spare, chairman of the Alliance and a member of the conference planning committee.  "Residents of Missouri will have easy access to the conference and will benefit from the knowledge provided by the speakers.

"It’s a great opportunity for people to become better informed about the significance of problem gambling and its impact on the community," he continued.

Kevin Mullally, executive director of the Missouri Gaming Commission, will be the conference luncheon speaker from noon to 1 p.m. on Aug. 13.  The two annual Missouri Alliance awards for "Outstanding Contributor" and "Service" will also be presented during the Aug. 13 luncheon meeting.  In addition, Mullally will be participating in the conference’s final panel discussion on "States Response to Problem Gambling and Co-Occurring Disorders."  Gary Gonder, director of communications for the Missouri Lottery, will be a presenter in a conference breakout session entitled "Lottery Response to Problem Gambling" from 10:45 a.m. to noon on Aug. 13.

For more information about the Midwest Conference, visit the Alliance’s Web site at:  www.888betsoff.org.

Also during August, the Missouri Riverboat Gaming Association (MRGA) and Missouri’s riverboat casino properties are participating in the seventh annual American Gaming Association’s (AGA) Responsible Gaming Education Week, Aug. 2-6.  This year, the focus of the week will be to ensure all of the Missouri properties are following the AGA’s Responsible Gaming Code of Conduct.

Mike Ryan, executive director of the MRGA, said that Missouri already followed all of the tenets in the code, but the properties, along with representatives of the MRGA Responsible Gaming Committee, will conduct reviews and on-site visits to ensure the AGA guidelines are being given the full attention they deserve.

Additional activities in August include:
" Participation in the 2004 Statewide Prevention Conference Aug. 5-8 in St. Louis; and
" Participation in the 2004 Missouri Black Expo Aug. 19-22 in St. Louis.

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