Gambling addiction plagues thousands of Louisianans, putting a strain on themselves, their families, friends, co-workers, and society as a whole. Any urge to continuously gamble despite harmful negative consequences or a desire to stop is considered problem gambling.
A Louisiana study on problem gambling revealed that as many as 275,000 Louisianans are involved in problem gaming activities.
To raise awareness about Louisiana’s services for those experiencing problems with gambling, Gov. John Bel Edwards declared March 2018 as Problem Gambling Awareness Month, a move which coincides with the National Problem Gambling Awareness Month initiative.
The study found that problem gambling is a problem that crosses all ages, genders, and races. Some facts in the study state:
-There are an estimated 179,239 potential adult problem gamblers statewide. A problem gambler is someone who is at risk for addiction.
-There are 98,020 potential adult pathological or compulsive gamblers in Louisiana.
-A 2010 Louisiana youth survey found that more than 40 percent of sixth-, eighth-, 10th- and 12th-grade students have engaged in some form of gambling in the previous year.
-Calls to the toll-free Problem Gamblers Helpline show that females represented 44 percent of the callers and males represented 56 percent.
-Most of the callers identified themselves as either Caucasian (49 percent) or African American (45 percent).
“It is important to remember that our efforts to improve health in Louisiana must include the availability of treatment and prevention for problems such as gambling addiction,” said Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rebekah Gee. “Louisiana offers a wide variety of treatment programs aimed specifically at problem gamblers, and we will use this month to spread awareness of the problem and shine light on the resources available to address it.”
Signs of a gambling problem include:
Lying to loved ones about gambling activity.
Deterioration of work performance
Missing deadlines and important responsibilities
Worrying about mounting debts and inability to pay them
“Gambling becomes a serious problem when you can’t stop,” said Karen Stubbs, assistant secretary of the Office of Behavioral Health. “A problem gambler loses control and cannot stick to limits, even when gambling is causing serious financial, family, work, or other problems.”
There are multiple resources in Louisiana to provide support to gamblers and their families. The state offers counseling and treatment programs at no cost to Louisiana residents including the country’s premiere residential treatment facility, The Center of Recovery (CORE), located in Shreveport. Since it opened in 1999, CORE has treated more than 3,200 compulsive gamblers.
For help, call the Louisiana Problem Gambler’s Helpline at (877) 770-STOP (7867), or chat live at www.helpforgambling.org.
This toll-free helpline handles, on average, 2,400 calls or direct requests for help each month.