KIMT News 3 – It’s Responsible Gaming Education week, and experts tell us the first step, is being able to detect signs of gaming addiction.
With so much of it in our everyday lives, it can be hard for some to realize that gambling addiction does exist.
This week’s initiative is giving local groups a chance to present the treatment options being made more readily available in their areas.
As one of the newest additions to the Gambling Addiction Treatment program at Prairie Ridge Addiction Treatment Services, Kari Brown is helping others make the best of the new resources available in north Iowa.
“We now have a gambling specific clinician, and we also have gambling specific groups. We can do individual and group, or we can do individuals separately and group separately,” said Brown.
Brown and other Prairie Ridge specialists are working to increase awareness of problem gambling. It’s an issue they say can be hard for others to confront, since it’s not often discussed openly.
“Often times, we don’t hear about the problem until they’re in dire need of help. So we would rather educate people about the early signs and symptoms of gambling problems. We want them to reach out for help before it gets very serious,” said Substance Abuse and Prevention Specialist, Amy Ring.
According to Ring, there are several signs of gambling addiction to be on the look out for.
They include high-risk gambling, gambling to cover losses and turning to illegal activity to fund the habit.
One Iowa Lottery spokesperson suggests considering responsible gambling as an entertainment expense.
“You should simply spend the dollars that you feel you can afford to entertain, but not beyond that. There isn’t any guarantee that you will win, so just look at it as something that you do for fun,” said Mary Neubauer.
With any addiction, it’s all a matter of how readily available your vice is. As the world of gambling expands, others hope education on the issue does as well.
On all gaming machines in Iowa and lottery tickets, there is a note with the number 1-800-BETSOFF.
According to Iowa Lottery officials, this is meant to give those in search of help an easy outlet, if they choose to seek help.