March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month

March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM). In the US, 4-6 million people are considered problem gamblers, yet gambling remains a hidden addiction in many people. Studies show that those who live near a casino are more likely to develop a gambling disorder. Because of this, Lincoln County residents are at a higher risk of having an unhealthy relationship with gambling. With more opportunities to gamble than ever before, such as phone and internet games, video poker, fantasy sports, and more, it is easy for gambling to go undetected. Having the conversation about problem gambling can reduce stigma, prevent an addiction from developing, or get someone the help they need.

This year’s PGAM theme is “Have the Conversation.”

Start a conversation with youth about the risks of gambling. Youth that gamble are more likely to have issues with other risky behaviors including drug and alcohol use. Those with a problem gambling disorder are also more likely to have mental health and substance use issues. When these topics are discussed early, youth are less likely to engage in gambling  activities. Problem gambling affects relationships with family members, friends, and coworkers through lost work productivity and neglected responsibilities as gambling consumes the person’s focus and priorities. Problem gambling prevention is all about having those conversations that might seem difficult to start, but can save a life.

Signs of problem gambling may be less obvious and individuals may try to hide them from loved ones.

Some signs of problem gambling include:

  • Distracted with thoughts of gambling
  • Spending more time and money gambling
  • Lying or hiding gambling activity
  • Risking important relationships
  • Being irritable when not gambling
  • Gambling to win back losses
  • Exaggerating wins and minimizing losses
  • Borrowing money
  • Gambling debts
  • Missing work or other responsibilities

There is hope for anyone experiencing problem gambling and their loved ones. Free, confidential help and support is available. 

  • Oregon Problem Gambling Resource (OPGR) available 24/7 at OPGR.org
  • Speak with a Problem Gambling Specialist from OPGR 24/7 toll free 1-877-MYLIMIT
  • Text the OPGR support line Mon-Fri 8am-5pm (503)-713-6000
  • The Lincoln County Problem Gambling Treatment Program open Mon-Fri 8am-5pm (541) 265-4196