Multi-State Summit Jumpstarts Responsible Gaming Education Month
August is Missouri’s Responsible Gaming Education Month. To kickoff awareness efforts, the Missouri Lottery, along with other members of the Midwest Consortium, co-hosted the seventh annual Midwest Conference on Problem Gambling and Substance Abuse, July 28-30, at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center, 2354 McGee St., in Kansas City. The multi-state conference featured free public presentations and panel discussions presented by nationally acclaimed addiction experts from throughout the country.
The consortium consists of addiction specialists, problem gambling program coordinators and organizations throughout the five-state region – Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska and Oklahoma – including the Missouri Alliance to Curb Problem Gambling, of which the Missouri Lottery is a founding member. The conference was also partially funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
This is the 12th year the Missouri Alliance to Curb Problem Gambling has designated time to raise statewide awareness about problem gambling issues.
"Having this conference a few days before August is a great way to start raising awareness about responsible gaming before Missouri’s awareness month begins," said Gary Gonder, director of sales, marketing and communications for the Missouri Lottery and governing member of the Missouri Alliance to Curb Problem Gambling. "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."
While the Alliance’s primary focus is on problem gambling, members of the Alliance also work to educate individuals who choose to gamble on ways to participate in gambling activities responsibly. Alliance members include the Missouri Council on Problem Gambling Concerns, Inc., the Missouri Department of Mental Heath’s Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse, the Missouri Gaming Association, the Missouri Gaming Commission, the Missouri Lottery, the Port Authority of Kansas City and a recovery community representative.
Also during August, the Missouri Gaming Association and Missouri’s casino properties are celebrating Responsible Gaming Education Week, Aug. 2-6. This year’s theme, "Taking the Mystery Out of the Slot Machine," will educate employees, patrons and the public about slot machines. Free education brochures about how slot machines work, how they’re developed and regulated and tips on playing responsibly will be available at the casinos and at the Missouri Gaming Association website at Missouricasinos.org.
"For some individuals, their gambling has caused serious financial and family problems," Gonder added. "For these reasons, the Alliance members created a comprehensive program that includes education, a toll-free 24-hour help line, 1-888-BETSOFF, a variety of free treatment options and research."
To learn more about the Alliance, visit 888betsoff.org.