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From Niagara Falls to the Mario Cuomo Bridge: NYS shines light on problem gambling


Fri, Feb 25th 2022 12:00 pm

Submitted by the New York Council on Problem Gambling

With the rapid expansion of gambling and the record-breaking introduction of mobile sports betting, there is no better time to bring the issue of problem gambling to the forefront. The New York Council on Problem Gambling (NYCPG) and its seven regional Problem Gambling Resource Centers (PGRCs) are calling on everyone to “shine the light” on problem gambling during Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM) this March.

The council’s newest effort and a driving force behind this year’s “Shine the Light” theme involves several notable places in New York joining NYCPG and its PGRCs to recognize March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month.

“Bringing statewide attention to this issue means supporting our friends and neighbors,” says Angela DiRosa, program manager for the Western NY PGRC. “We know that an increase in availability of any gambling leads to an increase of problems. Having access 24 hours a day and being able to place an endless number of wagers compounds that. We want to make sure that people know they’re not alone, and there’s support available before people find themselves in a dire situation.” 

Landmarks will be lit yellow on Tuesday, March 8. Sites include Niagara Falls and Seneca One Tower in Buffalo.

During the month of March, the council will shine the light on problem gambling, focusing on one theme each week and encouraging partners, allies and community members to take action that raises awareness. Details and resources can be found at http://nyproblemgambling.org/pgam/.

Highlights of the statewide plans for March include the following: 

March 6: Open Gamblers Anonymous meeting via Zoom 

March 8: Gambling Disorder Screening Day 

March 8: “Shine the Light Night”

March 9-10: NYCPG annual conference 

March 10: “Shine the Light” rally 

Multiple webinars and trainings, Facebook Live Events, and more. 

More than 600,000 adults residing in New York are experiencing problems related to their gambling. 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 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 who is gambling. It’s been estimated that 8-10 additional people can be negatively affected by one person’s gambling behaviors (Petry et al, 2005). These people include family members, friends, neighbors and even coworkers.

The press release said, “Not only do we all need to shine the light on the issue of problem gambling, we want our lights to be a beacon for anyone who might be negatively affected by a gambling problems – there is hope and help! To learn more, take action, or find help visit http://nyproblemgambling.org/pgam/.”

The PGRC is a program of the New York Council on Problem Gambling dedicated to addressing the issue of problem gambling within New York. The vision of the PGRC is the positive transformation of lives harmed by problem gambling. The PGRC focuses efforts on increasing public awareness of problem gambling; connecting clients with treatment, recovery and support services; and promoting healthy lifestyles that foster freedom from problem gambling. Visit www.NYProblemGamblingHELP.org to learn more about the PGRC network. 

The New York Council on Problem Gambling 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 www.NYProblemGambling.org.

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