Shining a Light on Problem Gambling – NCPG’s Nationwide Awareness Campaign

March marks a critical period in the United States with the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) spearheading the annual Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM), under the evocative theme ‘Every Story Matters.’ This nationwide initiative is designed to cast a spotlight on the issue of problem gambling, championing the cause of prevention, treatment, and recovery services across the country.

With an estimated 9 million American adults grappling with problem gambling, the social costs are staggering, amounting to approximately $14 billion annually. Despite the widespread impact of gambling addiction, there remains a notable gap at the federal level, with no dedicated agency or federal funding to combat the issue directly.

Keith Whyte, the Executive Director of NCPG, highlights the urgency of addressing this “clear and growing public health risk” that touches millions and their families. He pointed out a concerning statistic: fewer than half of Americans are aware of where to seek help for gambling problems. Whyte emphasizes the need for increased awareness and dialogue to alleviate the stigma attached to gambling addiction and to promote available resources for those in need.

Problem Gambling Awareness Month unites a diverse coalition of stakeholders, including state affiliates of the NCPG, public health organizations, advocacy groups, professional sports leagues, and gambling operators. Throughout March, these entities collaborate on a series of events, workshops, and campaigns aimed at fostering awareness around the prevention, treatment, and recovery services available for problem gambling.

Shining a Light on Problem Gambling - NCPG's Nationwide Awareness Campaign

Public Awareness Resources

This year’s theme, ‘Every Story Matters,’ is a powerful acknowledgment of the personal journeys individuals face with problem gambling. The campaign encourages the sharing of personal narratives, aiming to reduce stigma and inspire individuals to seek help. By shedding light on individual experiences and highlighting the resources available for support and treatment, the NCPG hopes to make a tangible difference in the lives of those affected by problem gambling.

In addition to its efforts during PGAM, the NCPG has taken steps to enhance player protection in online gambling through a partnership with SG:certified and the Internet Compliance Assessment Program (iCAP). The council has also awarded Agility Grants totaling $176,000 to five non-profit organizations, reinforcing its commitment to prevention and mitigation efforts across the United States.

As Problem Gambling Awareness Month unfolds, the focus on individual stories and the collective effort to address gambling addiction underscore the importance of community, understanding, and support in navigating the challenges posed by this ‘hidden addiction.’

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Elina Blagoeva is a member of the Mr. Sweepstakes editorial team. She studied Multimedia and Creative Technologies at the KdG University of Applied Science and Arts in Antwerpen, Belgium.