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March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month

Virginia Council on Problem Gambling — Problem Gambling Awareness Month

Virginia Council on Problem Gambling — Problem Gambling Awareness Month

~ Virginians seeking help with problem gambling: it’s right here ~

RICHMOND, VA., U.S.A., March 4, 2021 / -- This was a historic year in many aspects for Virginia, but particularly in terms of gambling in the Commonwealth — as what once used to be a state with limited gambling options, is now an epicenter for it. March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month, and the Virginia Council on Problem Gambling (VACPG) continues to spread the message to Virginians that support and resources are available.

“This is considered a hidden addiction with devastating consequences, and it will become even more noticeable as the multiple pathways of access to gambling in the Commonwealth expand,” emphasizes Dr. Carolyn Hawley, Ph.D., President of VACPG. “Across the state, we’re promoting awareness initiatives to reach people who need to know that help is available. VACPG exists to guide those individuals to that support.”

Virginia’s Council, in collaboration with the National Council on Problem Gambling, dedicates this month of March to helping individuals with gambling problems and their families. The 2021 campaign theme “Awareness + Action” is all about taking the specific steps, having the right conversations about problem gambling and ensuring individuals are directed toward the help they need. Approximately two million adults in the United States (one percent of the population) are estimated to meet criteria for gambling disorder. Another 4–6 million (2–3 percent) are considered to meet criteria for problem gambling. And yet, for many residents of the U.S., gambling remains a hidden addiction.

As the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation which made multiple new forms of gambling legal, it’s important for Virginians to be aware of the signs of problem gambling — whether it’s for themselves or someone they know.

Virginia’s legislative expansions for gambling include online and mobile sports betting, the framework to build casinos in five cities, the potential continuance of skills games, the growth of historical horse racing parlors as well as new forms of playing the Virginia Lottery,” Dr. Hawley states.

Using the tagline/hashtag #AwarenessPlusAction, Problem Gambling Awareness Month (#PGAM2021) is designed to help raise awareness of the prevention, treatment and recovery services available for those adversely affected by gambling. This grassroots campaign brings together a range of stakeholders such as the Virginia Lottery and new VACPG members, WynnBET and Caesars Entertainment.

“As plans for Caesars Virginia in Danville continue to move forward, Problem Gambling Awareness Month provides a great opportunity for Caesars Entertainment and other industry stakeholders to reaffirm VACPG’s mission to improve awareness of gambling disorders and ensure that effective prevention, treatment and other resources are available across the Commonwealth,” says Dean Hestermann, Director of Issues Management and Strategic Communications for Caesars Entertainment.

VACPG aims to increase public awareness of problem gambling, ensure the widespread availability of treatment for problem gamblers and their families, and to encourage research and programs for prevention and education. VACPG maintains a neutral stance on gambling. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, please call, text or chat, our confidential and toll-free helpline at: 1 (888) 532-3500.

Carolyn Hawley
Virginia Council on Problem Gambling
+1 804-827-0921
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