The US lottery sector has voted with its feet in favour of this year’s National Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM), with several operators moving to help raise awareness for the initiative by providing tools and services.
The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery (ASL), the Colorado Lottery, the Connecticut (CT) Lottery, the Florida Lottery, the Hoosier Lottery, the Massachusetts State Lottery, the Michigan Lottery, the New Jersey Lottery, the Pennsylvania Lottery, the West Virginia Lottery, and the Virginia Lottery are all supporting PGAM this March.
Their support coincides with the support shown by the Oregon Lottery as well as the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL) again partnering with the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) for the month.
2021’s PGAM theme is ‘Awareness + Action,’ supporting action and having dialogues about problem gambling issues as well as guiding people to the help they may require.
With a #AwarenessPlusAction tagline, the national campaign, which is in its eighteenth year, strives to increase public awareness of problem gambling and the availability of prevention, treatment and recovery services.
A toolkit guide, graphics downloads, and additional information and resources are available to PGAM participants on the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) website.
The ASL has unveiled a new Player’s Hub microsite at MyArkansasLottery.com/PlayersHub
which highlights resources available to help those who may have gambling issues.
Director J. Eric Hagler said: “We want people to enjoy the fun and excitement that comes with playing the ASL. But we also understand that for some people, it stops being fun and becomes an addiction that can lead to other issues. For that reason, we have developed the Player’s Hub as an additional resource to help people overcome problem gambling.”
Colorado Lottery has developed new, entertaining, and creative videos to help amp up its digital and social media advertising to raise awareness.
John Bundrick, President of the Problem Gambling Coalition of Colorado, stated: “Across Colorado, groups hold conferences, host screening and training days, run media campaigns, and conduct awareness initiatives to reach people who can make a difference in ensuring that problem gambling services are widely available and accessible.”
The CT Lottery’s support of PGAM includes a variety of marketing and promotional public service ads, problem gambling prevention and assistance materials in stores, on its website and social media accounts, and billboards across the state. It will also display responsible gambling messages through TV, radio, licensed lottery retailer terminals and physical displays.
Greg Smith, President and CEO, commented: “Engaging in Responsible Gambling efforts is a top priority for the CT Lottery Corporation and has been for many years. We promote responsible play year-round, as well as GameSense to maintain healthy gambling habits.
“We also provide a strong awareness of how to get services for those that need help managing their play. We enhance those efforts during March in further support of Problem Gambling Awareness Month.”
Florida Lottery Secretary John F Davis said: ”The purpose of the month is to help people have the conversation about problem gaming. ‘At the Florida Lottery, responsible gaming is at the heart of everything we do; we believe that ensuring every Lottery player plays within their means and knows their limits will create a safer playing environment for everyone.”
The Hoosier Lottery
The Hoosier Lottery will launch a campaign to increase public awareness of how to keep play positive, including a Positive Play Quiz; create a Responsible Gaming Committee in collaboration with Indiana gaming industry leaders, which will be a sub-committee within the Indiana Council on Problem Gambling; and continue to promote responsible gaming through all product offerings.
Lottery Executive Director Sarah M Taylor stated: “At the Hoosier Lottery, we are committed to responsible gaming and strive to promote a positive playing experience. We want all our players to enjoy their experiences and that’s why we promote positive play as our player-focused educational program. Positive play means enjoying the fun and entertainment of our games, understanding the odds, and setting time and money limits.”
Massachusetts State Lottery
The Massachusetts State Lottery and the Mass DPH’s Office of Problem Gambling Services have partnered to raise awareness of problem gambling and the availability of prevention, treatment and recovery services in the state.
Those experiencing problem gambling can call the Massachusetts Problem Gambling Helpline at 800-327-5050 to speak with a Helpline Specialist or visit www.mahelpline.org/problemgambling.
The Michigan Lottery has made aware to its players that the Michigan Problem Gambling Helpline is available to provide free, one-on-one support for players who may have a problem, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 800-270-7117. Chat and text options also are available through its website.
New Jersey Lottery
Throughout the month, the New Jersey Lottery will be working with the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, Inc. (CCGNJ) to educate the general public and health care professionals about the importance of playing responsibly and the warning signs of problem gambling.
As part of that effort, the Lottery and the Council have developed a video to raise awareness about PGAM and to provide information about the help available both locally and nationally for anyone who may experience a gambling disorder. The video is available for viewing on the “Responsible Play” page of the lottery’s website.
To reinforce that message, the lottery launched an advertising campaign based on the message, “Dream big. Play responsibly. Life is about balance. The New Jersey Lottery is a provider of fun and entertaining games that should be played responsibly. The Lottery should not be considered or played as an alternative source of income.”
In Pennsylvania, help is provided by experts at the Pennsylvania Compulsive Gambling Helpline or 1-800-GAMBLER. Players can also reach out via the website Council on Compulsive Gambling of Pennsylvania, where they can access the helpline by phone, text or chat and talk to professionals who can assist persons with gambling problems.
Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko said: “While most adults can play Pennsylvania Lottery games without issue, we understand that gambling can be problematic for some players. That’s why we are committed to promoting responsible play and supporting the state and national councils on problem gambling.”
West Virginia Lottery
West Virginia Lottery Director John Myers said: “Across West Virginia, we have resources available for our players who may need to seek help for problem gambling. We have advocacy groups and counselling available to help reach people and ensure that we can make a difference to those who may need it.”
The Virginia Lottery and the Virginia Council on Problem Gambling (VACPG) are teaming up to help raise awareness with the help of a public service announcement (PSA) for broadcast which encourages responsible play. This year, as in years past, the lottery has suspended all radio and television advertising of its lottery products during the first half of PGAM.
The PSA, produced in-house by the lottery, promotes the Virginia Problem Gambling Helpline, which assists people who think they or loved ones may have a gambling problem. It emphasises that a problem gambler can make a positive change by seeking help. The PSA is just one way in which the lottery, in partnership with the VACPG, is working to build a robust Responsible Gaming program.