2005-08-05 13:51:36.27

Multi-State Summit Highlights Responsible Gaming Month

A three-day multi-state conference on problem gambling and substance abuse will highlight Missouri’s Responsible Gaming Education Month activities in August.  The second annual Midwest Conference on Problem Gambling and Substance Abuse will be held Aug. 24-26 at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center in Kansas City.
This is the seventh year the Missouri Alliance to Curb Problem Gambling has designated time to raise statewide awareness about problem-gambling issues.
"We have programs, educational exhibits and presentations throughout the year, but recognizing one month of the year as Responsible Gaming Education Month helps to put the spotlight on the seriousness of problem gambling and the variety of programs Missouri has to help problem gamblers and their families," said Kevin Mullally, executive director of the Missouri Gaming Commission and chairman of the Alliance. 

"The vast majority of individuals who gamble do so responsibly," Mullally said.  "For some individuals, their gambling has caused serious financial and family problems.  For these reasons, the Alliance members have created a comprehensive program that includes education, a help line, a variety of free treatment options and research."
The Midwest Conference on Problem Gambling and Substance Abuse is drawing speakers and
participants from throughout the country.  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 happy to host this conference for the second year in a row," Mullally said.  "It’s a great opportunity for people to become better informed about problem gambling issues.

Keynote speakers at this year’s conference include:  Dr. H. Westley Clark of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Jeffrey Derevensky, an internationally renown problem-gambling expert, professor and co-director of the International Center for Youth Gambling, Problem and High Risk Behaviors at McGill University in Montreal; and Joanna Franklin, a certified addictions counselor, a nationally certified compulsive gambling counselor and director of Network Development and Training at Trimeridian Inc. in Indianapolis, Ind.  A number of Missouri addiction specialists also will be presenting at this year’s conference.  For a complete list of presenters and conference information, please visit the Alliance’s Web site at:  www.888betsoff.com.

Also during August, the Missouri Riverboat Gaming Association (MRGA) and Missouri’s riverboat casino properties are participating in the eighth annual American Gaming Association’s (AGA) Responsible Gaming Education Week, Aug. 1-5.  This year, employees at Missouri’s riverboat casinos will participate in training to help learn to direct problem gamblers to the help line.  The training is a key element of the AGA’s Responsible Gaming Code of Conduct adopted last year by Missouri’s casinos and other casino properties throughout the country.

Additionally, Missouri’s casinos are joining with other casino companies nationwide in Responsible Gaming Education Week activities.  The centerpiece of the national campaign, organized by the AGA, is the launch of a responsible gaming awareness wristband program, "Banding Together to Keep It Fun."   The orange wristbands are being worn by casino employees.

Other Alliance activities in August include:

* An educational exhibit and workshops at the National Council on Alcohol & Drug Abuse Youth Leadership Conference, Aug. 4-6, in Chesterfield.

* An educational exhibit at the Missouri Black Expo, Aug. 20-21, in St. Louis.


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