March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month! PGAM is a grassroots campaign that is promoted by the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) state affiliates, members, state agencies, the gaming industry, recovery groups, and healthcare organizations.
This group of dedicated individuals hold conferences, air Public Service Announcements, provide counselor trainings, host health screening days, run social media campaigns, and many other activities.
The goals of this important month are to increase public awareness of problem gambling and the availability of prevention, treatment, and recovery services and resources, and to encourage healthcare providers to screen clients for problem gambling.
One reason that the month of March has been named Problem Gambling Awareness Month is because the annual NCAA Men’s basketball tournament, March Madness, attracts people who may not usually gamble to engage in casual betting.
Each year, an estimated $10 billion is gambled during March Madness. For someone who has a problem with gambling, an event such as March Madness can be a trigger. A gambling addiction, also known as Gambling Disorder (or ludomania), is a diagnosable and treatable health disorder. While problem gambling has its own set of criteria for diagnosis and treatment, many still don’t seek help for this potentially life-threatening condition.
For those who struggle with problem gambling, education, resources, and recovery efforts such as Problem Gambling Awareness Month can be an important source of support this time of year.
This year’s theme is “Awareness + Action” and you can follow how organizations and individuals across the country are getting involved by searching for the hashtags #AwarenessPlusAction and #PGAM on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
If you would like to access additional information and resources around problem gambling, please visit BeforeYouBet.org/the-issue. You can also take a two-minute quiz to gauge your risk-level of problem gambling, find resources and access a free, 24/7, confidential helpline if you or someone you love may need it by calling 1-800-589-9966.