Guest Editorial by the New York Council on Problem Gambling
In honor of Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM) in 2021, the New York Council on Problem Gambling (NYCPG) is challenging everyone across New York state – individuals, agencies and communities alike – to come together to face problem gambling. With gambling opportunities expanding at rapid rates in New York state and beyond, it’s imperative that all factions of the community, in all geographic areas of the state, join forces around the issue of problem gambling. We need to collaborate to raise awareness of problem gambling, prevent any additional problems related to gambling, and get those in need to adequate support services in their own community.
According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, 2 million U.S. adults (1%) are estimated to meet criteria for severe gambling problems in a given year. Another 4-6 million (2-3%) would be considered to have mild or moderate gambling problems; that is, they do not meet the full diagnostic criteria for gambling addiction but meet one of more of the criteria and are experiencing problems due to their gambling behavior. The effects of problem gambling are not isolated to the individual. It’s been estimated that 8-10 additional people can be negatively affected by one person’s gambling behaviors (Petry 2005). These people include family members, friends, neighbors and even coworkers. If we account for individuals experiencing gambling problems and others who are affected, the estimate of those affected by problem gambling is between 64 and 80 million people.
NYCPG Executive Director Jim Maney stated, “The increase and availability of gambling opportunities in NYS coupled with the effects of COVID-19 have made the 2021 Problem Gambling Awareness Month the most important event highlighting problem gambling awareness and resources this year. It is imperative that we partner together to raise the awareness of problem gambling and make certain NY resident can access the services and resources that they need during these challenging times.”
PGAM is a time for everyone to join together to show how much we care about individuals, families and communities struggling with gambling problems. That’s why this year, for PGAM, the New York Council on Problem Gambling is expanding its focus to engage all New Yorkers in problem gambling efforts. The materials and resources developed for PGAM 2021 will help individuals explore their own struggles, support agencies who want to host Gambling Disorder Screening Day events and raise awareness of what’s being done across the state to face the issue of problem gambling.
√ If you are an individual concerned about your, or someone else’s, gambling activity, call your local problem gambling resource center to learn about supports and resources in your community.
√ If you are interested in learning more about problem gambling participate in one of our PGAM webinars.
√ If you’re a community-focused organization, add problem gambling information to your outreach and education materials.
√ If you are a recovery support facility, create gambling-free zones to ensure individuals feel safe from triggers. If you are a mental health or addiction professional, host an event or screen all of your clients on Gambling Disorder Screening Day (March 9).
√ If you are a New Yorker who cares about problem gambling, take the “PGAM Facebook Video Challenge” and tell the world why you care.
√ To access all the tools mentioned above, and to get involved in Problem Gambling Awareness Month 2021, visit: NYProblemGambling.org/PGAM.
Let’s join to let New York know that we are here to work together to address problem gambling!
If you or someone you love is struggling, please visit: NYProblemGamblingHelp.org to connect with resources in your community.
The New York Council on Problem Gambling (NYCPG) is a not-for-profit independent corporation dedicated to increasing public awareness about problem and compulsive gambling and advocating for support services and treatment for persons adversely affected by problem gambling. NYCPG maintains a neutral stance on gambling and is governed by a Board of Directors. Find out more at NYProblemGambling.org.