Illinois Lottery Partners With Problem Gambling Organization To Raise Awareness

During this year’s Problem Gambling Awareness Month, a lot of joint activities between the Illinois Council on Problem Gambling and The Illinois Lottery will be witnessed – this follows a recent partnership between the two organizations. According to the director of the Illinois Lottery, Harold Mays, the industry stakeholders are aware that some Illinois residents are struggling with gambling issues. With this alliance in place, available resources will be pooled together to help such cases. 

Mays emphasizes that Illinois casino gambling is a fun option for entertainment and responsible gambling campaigns intend to ensure that players remain responsible. Proceeds from gambling play a huge role in driving the Illinois state budget by supporting special causes and public education. All through the month of March, the entire state will be marred with activities to support responsible gambling courtesy of the Illinois lottery. Some of the selected modes of conveying the message include direct communication with players, social & digital media, billboard messages, and radio spots. 

The Illinois helpline

The people of Illinois have a gambling helpline which is accessible all the time. According to a statement from the National Council on Problem Gambling, the yearly campaign is dedicated to information dissemination pertaining to measures of prevention, treatment, and recovery. NCPG is tasked with the obligation to organize a yearly, month-long observance of the main objective of the alliance. 

For the people of Illinois, help for problem gambling is in the form of diagnosis for issues pertaining to problem gambling. The helpline which was launched in 2021, is an initiative of the Illinois Department of Human Services in partial fulfillment of the “Are You Really Winning?” campaign. During the period of launching it, the Director of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery Division, Laura Garcia, said that the main aim of the helpline was to offer hope to those suffering from problem gambling. 

Garcia expressed excitement as a result of having the campaign launched acknowledging that there was no hope for those who required it. Sharing as much information as possible on the issue raises awareness of the problem, helping to curb its prevalence. Some people are aware that they have a gambling problem but believe their problem will be broadcast once they share it. Apart from understanding what problem gambling is and how it can be handled, the campaign is a source of hope for the affected. 

Confidentiality is a key pillar in the running of this helpline since the authorities want their resources utilized properly and gambling continues to pull in the profits. The executive director of the Council on Problem Gambling of Illinois, Dave Wohl, assured the public that any help offered through this platform was going to be strictly confidential. In the past few years, the state of Illinois has experienced an increase in its gambling market in proportion to gambling opportunities made available to them. Affected members of the public need to know that there is no shame in admitting that they have a gambling problem. 

1% of Americans live with gambling disorders

In addition to 15 casinos operating in a dynamic sports betting market, Illinois also offers other types of gambling options. The Illinois lottery for instance offers sakes for online tickets and players can choose to participate in web-only games. In the press release that announced the lottery institution’s partnership with the Illinois Council on Problem Gambling, it was revealed that the lottery was one of the 9 such businesses in the United States. Under the responsible gaming framework, this lottery is level 4 certified – this is the highest possible level of responsible gaming worldwide. 

While it is true that a significant number of people do not have gambling problems, Yale Medicine pegs the number of those affected at 1%. This is the population size that has been so deeply affected that they cannot stop gambling, irrespective of the consequences. To diagnose someone as suffering from a gambling disorder, a criteria developed by the American Psychiatric Association is used. The diagnosis is positive if 4 out of the 9 indicators within a period of 12 months. 

If you suspect that you or a loved one could have a gambling disorder, check out the points below;

  • The urge to place bets of large amounts to achieve high levels of excitement – this is characteristic of those who do not have the discipline to stick to an upper bet limit. 
  • Becomes irritable or restless when counting down a bet or restrained from gambling – this is evident in sports betting because the bettor is unable to focus on anything else as they wait for an outcome.
  • There have been numerous efforts to stop, control, or reduce gambling levels – the affected individual has identified they have a problem but they cannot get themselves to change their behavior. 
  • Often thinking about gambling – an individual who is constantly thinking about future gambling or reliving gambling activities of the past. 
  • Turns to gambling as a way of relieving stress – views betting as an escape when they are going through mental anguish.
  • After experiencing loss from gambling, there is an urge to gamble more to recover the loss – chasing losses appears like a reflex action when money has been lost. The player is oblivious to losing and is driven by the desire to get even.
  • Making up lies to conceal gambling – feels the need to hide the fact that they are involved in gambling and no one must know.
  • Putting relationships, job engagements, and school work at risk due to gambling 
  • Depending on other people to finance money issues that arise from gambling. 

Final Thoughts

By joining ICPG, the Illinois lottery will gain access to over 7,000 retail partners within the state that will form the platform on which to raise awareness of problem gambling. There are plenty of resources, developed by both authorities and service providers, but many people are not aware. A huge portion of the current awareness campaign will be in publicizing the availability of help for those who need it or might know someone who does.