Officials Spotlight Initiatives Promoting Responsible Play
Trenton, Mar. 5, 2013 – Governor Chris Christie has issued a Proclamation declaring March 2013 Problem Gambling Awareness Month in New Jersey. Throughout the month, the New Jersey Lottery (NJL) and the Department of Human Services Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) 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 warning signs of problem gambling and to raise awareness about the help that is available both locally and nationally.
Today, Carole Hedinger, NJL’s Executive Director, and Lynn Kovich, DMHAS’s Assistant Commissioner, met with Donald Weinbaum, Executive Director CCGNJ and Jeff Beck, Chairman of the Eleventh Annual National Problem Gambling Awareness Week, to discuss joint efforts to promote awareness about the dangers of problem gambling.
“The Lottery has a long-standing relationship with the Council on Compulsive Gambling and has participated on its Board of Directors since June 1999,” Hedinger said. “The Lottery also promotes the Council’s 1-800-GAMBLER ® helpline number to the public by printing it on every lottery ticket, on all brochures and signage, and appearing as a tag line on all of the Lottery’s radio, television, online and billboard advertisements. The Lottery’s website directs visitors to the Council’s site, where members of the public can get free information and help.”
“The Council continually works to address the unique challenges facing those with gambling addictions,” said Weinbaum. “It is never too early or too late to get assistance for yourself, a friend, family member or a colleague that you believe may have a gambling problem. We’re very pleased to be partnering with the Lottery and the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services to get that message out to an even broader audience.”
Nationally, about 2-3 percent of the population, or 6 to 9 million people, can be classified as pathological or problem gamblers. An estimated 350,000 New Jersey residents are considered to be pathological, problem, or at-risk gamblers. "Gambling, like drug and alcohol addiction, can be successfully treated. We urge all providers and community members to learn more about the signs and symptoms of problem gambling and the help that is available,” said Kovich. DMHAS helps fund prevention, referral and treatment for gambling addictions.
"Our theme this year is problem gambling: a new understanding of a community concern. This underscores the revision made by the American Psychiatric Association in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual 5 (May 2013) changing gambling from an impulse control diagnosis to addiction. This is the first time an activity without ingestion of a substance is called an addiction," Beck added.
CCGNJ operates a 24-hour confidential helpline, 1-800-GAMBLER, that takes 17,000 calls a year. Any individual with a gambling problem or a family member needing assistance can call for help and referral. Information on Problem Gambling Awareness Month activities in New Jersey and additional resources can be accessed through the CCGNJ website: http://www.800gambler.org/ .
The National Problem Gambling Awareness Week website also lists resources and helpful tools on its website: http://www.npgaw.org/.
CCGNJ, which works with treatment providers and conducts prevention outreach programs, is partially funded by assessments on off-track wagering licensees and forfeited casino proceeds.
ABOUT THE LOTTERY
Since its inception in 1970, the New Jersey State Lottery (NJLottery.net) has contributed nearly $21 billion to State education and institutions. In fiscal year 2012, the Lottery provided over $950 million to support State educational programs and institutions. Nearly 6,700 businesses throughout the Garden State prosper from their partnership with the Lottery. Among its beneficiaries are: veterans homes, community and other colleges and universities, school nutrition programs, homes for the developmentally disabled, psychiatric hospitals, higher education scholarship programs and the Marie Katzenbach School for the Deaf.
ABOUT NJ DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES MENTAL HEALTH AND DIVISION OF ADDICTION SERVICES
The Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, Inc. is a private non-profit organization that provides information, education and referral services for people affected by a gambling problem. The Council’s mission is to educate the public to the fact that compulsive gambling is a treatable illness. The Council’s 1-800-GAMBLER® Helpline and website www.800gambler.org have been resources for thousands of people who are compulsive gamblers and recovering from compulsive gambling, as well as their friends and families. For further information, contact:
The Council on Compulsive Gambling of NJ, Inc. at 609-588-5515