March 2, 2012
Missouri Promotes PSA and Free Services During National Awareness Week
The Missouri Alliance to Curb Problem Gambling is joining in the National Problem Gambling Awareness Week, March 4-10, by releasing a free public service announcement to radio and television stations featuring former Mafia mogul Michael Franzese. Additionally, the Alliance is distributing responsible gaming brochures to Missouri Lottery retailers to make available to their patrons; issuing an informational payroll notification to state employees highlighting how to get help; and promoting the availability of free treatment and support resources via the Lottery’s blog, molotteryblog.com, and Alliance’s website, 888betsoff.org.
During the national awareness week, communities nationwide are working to increase understanding of the consequences of problem gambling and the resources available for individuals whose gambling is causing disruption in their lives.
The message behind the National Council on Problem Gambling’s (NCPG) 10th annual awareness campaign, “Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime,” is that anybody can develop a gambling problem. According to the NCPG, 2 to 3 percent of the United States population (or 6 million to 9 million Americans) will have a gambling problem in any given year. Yet, only a small number of individuals seek out services, such as treatment and self-help recovery programs.
Mark Rembecki, gambling certification and treatment coordinator for the Missouri Department of Mental Health and chairperson of the Alliance, noted that the public needs be educated on problem and compulsive gambling.
“Potential signs of a gambling problem may include: difficulty stopping, cutting down or controlling gambling; needing to gamble with increased money to achieve the desired excitement; preoccupation with gambling behavior; restlessness or irritability when attempting to cut down or stop gambling; and lying to family members, friends or others about gambling habits,” said Rembecki.
Rembecki added that Missouri’s free help line, 1-888-BETSOFF (1-888-238-7633), “provides 24-hour crisis intervention and referral services to treatment for gamblers and their families.”
The Missouri Alliance to Curb Problem Gambling, which was created in 1997, is a partnership between the Missouri Council on Problem Gambling Concerns, Inc., the Missouri Department of Mental Health’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.
The purpose of the Alliance is to educate Missourians on the potential characteristics and dangers of problem and compulsive gambling, to refer compulsive gamblers and their family and friends to free treatment through a toll-free help line, to prevent underage play and to promote responsible gaming.