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March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month

March 11, 2014

Gambling is occasional and fun for most adults but negatively affects finances, work and family for several million Americans. To help increase understanding about the risks involved, the DHS Compulsive Gambling Program is sponsoring messages on billboards and in social media during March, which is National Problem Gambling Awareness Month.

Frequently titled the “hidden addiction,” problem gambling can be difficult to detect even by close friends and family members. The issue affects teens and adults, regardless of gender, race or income, so it is important to recognize changes in behavior. Signs of a gambling problem can include the following:

  • Increased frequency of gambling activity
  • A decrease in ambition and  decline in work or school performance
  • Increased amount of money gambled
  • Gambling for longer periods of time than originally planned
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Missing deadlines and important activities
  • Frequently borrowing money
  • Gambling to escape boredom, pain or loneliness
  • Lying to loved ones about gaming activity
  • Trying to win back money lost
  • Bragging about wins but not talking about losses.

No matter what the circumstances, confidential help is available. DHS has financial resources for qualifying Minnesotans to get treatment and information is available through these resources, which are sponsored by DHS with proceeds from the Minnesota State Lottery:

  • A toll-free helpline at 1-800-333-HOPE
  • Information at GetGamblingHelp.com.
  • Information about compulsive gambling for health care providers, the faith community, attorneys and other professionals at www.treatmentandhope.com.

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