2001-07-27 09:10:09.883


Gary Gonder, director of communications for the Missouri Lottery, recently was named chairperson of the Missouri Alliance to Curb Problem Gambling, a unique conglomeration of public, private and non-profit organizations that work together on issues related to problem gambling. Gonder, a founding member of the Missouri Alliance, served as vice chairperson during fiscal year 2001 and was elected last week to replace outgoing chairperson Dewey Price, coordinator of clinical utilization for the Missouri Department of Mental Health’s Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse. Gonder will serve as chairperson until July 2002. Mike Ryan, executive director of the Missouri Riverboat Gaming Association, was named vice chairperson, and Melissa Stephens, Problem Gambling Programs administrator for the Missouri Gaming Commission, was named secretary of the Alliance. As chairperson, Gonder will oversee the third annual Missouri Responsible Gaming Education Week, Aug. 6-10, which features two educational seminars held simultaneously in Kansas City and St. Louis on Aug. 6 from 1 to 3 p.m. This year, a new awareness campaign aimed at seniors, which was created for the Alliance by the Missouri Lottery, will be introduced at the seminars. During this past year, Gonder guided the creation and development of a youth gambling prevention campaign. He is continuing to coordinate youth gambling prevention awareness programs for the Alliance. The Alliance was created in December 1997 to address the need for public education, prevention, intervention and treatment for problem gamblers and their families. Since its inception, the Alliance has captured the attention of the gambling industry and mental health care providers due to its membership, which represents the gaming industry, mental health providers and gaming regulators. The Alliance members are: the Missouri Lottery, the Missouri Department of Mental Health, the Missouri Gaming Commission, the Missouri Riverboat Gaming Association and the Missouri Council on Problem Gambling Concerns Inc. Originally established by the American Gaming Association, Responsible Gaming Education Week is now an integral part of the Alliance’s awareness program. In 1999, due to the Alliance’s efforts, Missouri became the first state in the nation to recognize the week on a statewide basis. The Aug. 6 seminars will feature nationally recognized experts on older adults and problem gambling issues. For more information about the Alliance or Missouri Responsible Gaming Education Week, visit the Alliance’s Web site at www.888BETSOFF.com.

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