PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG), Division of Problem Gambling (DPG), in collaboration with the National Council of Problem Gambling (NCPG), recognizes March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month. 2023 marks the 20th anniversary of Problem Gambling Awareness Month.
“Problem gambling is a serious addiction that affects an estimated two percent of adults and five percent of youth in Arizona,” said Katie Hobbs, Arizona Governor. “That is why I have issued a proclamation announcing March 2023 as Arizona Problem Gambling Awareness Month — through education and outreach, we can spread the word and support those in Arizona who may suffer from problem gambling by getting them the help they need.”
Problem gambling is defined as all gambling behavior patterns that compromise, disrupt or damage personal, family, or vocational pursuits. Approximately 2 million U.S. adults (1% of the population) are estimated to meet criteria for severe problem gambling. Another 4 to 6 million (2-3%) meet the criteria for mild or moderate problem gambling.
This year, DPG will be hosting the 15th Annual Symposium on Problem Gambling. With the theme, “Sports Wagering: Arizona and Beyond,” this year’s symposium with be taking a closer look at problem gambling and the world of event wagering & fantasy sports.
“I am grateful for the leadership of Elise Mikkelsen, Director of DPG, and the entire DPG team for their dedication in addressing problem gambling in the state of Arizona,” said Jackie Johnson, ADG Director. “This year’s Annual Symposium on Problem Gambling will help further educate the state’s devoted healthcare professionals by creating a forum for information sharing between experts in the field of problem gambling.”
Problem Gambling Awareness Month is designed to coincide each year with March Madness, during which Americans are expected to wager over $3 billion. For the majority of adults, gambling can be a fun and entertaining experience, but there are risks involved. Sports bettors are at a particularly high-risk for developing a gambling problem. According to the National Survey on Gambling Attitudes and Gambling Experiences 2.0, four out of five sports bettors reported often needing to gamble more to get the same feeling of excitement.
“With the state in its second year of legal event wagering, it is more critical than ever to share the subsidized treatment options available to all Arizonans.” said Elise Mikkelsen, Director of DPG. “For those who may have a problem with gambling or are affected by a loved one with problem gambling, we want you to know that you are not alone. By utilizing DPG’s free, 24/7 confidential helpline or visiting our website, those in the state can take the next step and access information and resources critical in addressing a problem with gambling.”
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, DPG urges you to get help now by calling 1-800-NEXT-STEP (1.800.639.8783), DPG’s confidential helpline, texting “NEXTSTEP” to 53342, or utilizing a chat feature on the DPG website. DPG’s helpline provides confidentiality and connects callers with a master’s level counselor who can connect them with available resources, including statewide treatment providers who specialize in problem gambling. The helpline is available 24/7 to everyone facing a problem with gambling – individuals and affected family members, friends or co-workers. Learn more and access DPG resources: https://problemgambling.az.gov/
Established by the Arizona State Legislature in 1995, ADG is the state regulatory agency for tribal gaming, racing and pari-mutuel/simulcast wagering, event wagering/fantasy sports and unarmed combat sports. ADG also provides and supports education, prevention and treatment programs for people and families affected by problem gambling through its Division of Problem Gambling and 24-hour confidential helpline, 1-800-NEXT-STEP.
About the National Council on Problem Gambling
NCPG is the national advocate for people and families affected by problem gambling. NCPG is neutral on legalized gambling and works with all stakeholders to promote responsible gambling. For information on NCPG’s 35th National Conference on Gambling Addiction & Responsible Gambling, visit www.ncpgambling.org/conference.