March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month
- As March Madness reaches a crescendo with an estimated $10 billion in bets placed on the NCAA basketball championship games, calls to the National Problem Gambling Helpline (1-800-522-4700) spike an average of 30% during the month.
- The campaign theme “Awareness + Action” is all about taking action and having conversations about problem gambling issues and directing people to the help they may need.
- Problem Gambling Awareness Month is designed to help raise awareness of the prevention, treatment and recovery services. Across Connecticut, groups hold conferences, host screening and training days, run media campaigns, and conduct awareness initiatives to reach people who can make a difference in ensuring that problem gambling services are widely available and accessible.
Go to gamblingawarenessct.org for details of events in your area.
YOUTH & CHILDREN - GAMBLING & GAMING
CAN CHILDREN OR TEENAGERS DEVELOP GAMBLING ISSUES?
Yes, research shows that a vast majority of kids have gambled before their 18th birthdays, and that children may be more likely to develop issues related to gambling than adults.
HOW CAN PARENTS HELP?
1. Bring it up before your child does.
You may worry that you’re putting ideas in your child’s head, but the likelihood is that your kid is already forming attitudes to gambling, without your input. This is especially true if your child has more exposure and/or access to gambling through digital devices, social media and interaction with their friends.
2. Pick your moment.
Perhaps in the car on the way to school or sport practice, or when a gambling ad comes on TV. The most important thing is to let your child know that they can talk to you about gambling at any time.
3. Be a good role model.
If your child is regularly exposed to you or family members gambling, it sends a message that gambling is a harmless, risk-free activity. You’ll also be much less likely to be taken seriously… as you know, children are good at noticing if what you say doesn’t match what you do!
4. Cover a few basics.
- Talk about what you love about a sport, and make sure your child knows that a sport and gambling don’t have to go together.
- Help your child understand that gambling companies are in business to make money from customers, and that the chances of winning are limited.
- Discuss the things that can influence attitudes to gambling. For instance, you could talk about the blurred line between gaming and gambling, and how technology has made it easier to gamble.
- Point out gambling is risky and can cause harm, like not having spending money for other things your child may want.
- Manage access to your money. Are your credit or debit cards linked to accounts your children access, such as those for downloading music? Virtual gaming and gambling websites regularly offer purchased credits or rewards and it's not always obvious that these purchases relate to real money.
- Enforce rules around internet use. Create a screen-time plan, locate devices in a shared or visible place in the home, filter with safe internet searching settings, or install software to block gambling sites.