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Indiana Prevention Resource Center (IPRC)

Gambling is all fun and games, until…

Gambling is not all fun and games for many.  Once they start to borrow money; lie about how much money they gamble and how often they gamble, steal and cause hurt friends and family—problem gambling has replaced the fun.

 March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month. The term “problem gambling” may not mean anything to you, but for the small percentage of people who develop a problem from gambling too much – problem gambling can mean lost paychecks, lost rent or house payments, a repossessed car, and even worse – lost jobs and personal relationships.

Indiana ranks 4th in the US in revenue generated from gambling. Surveys have shown that about 3 percent of Hoosiers have a gambling problem this is about 198,000 citizens. It’s important to know what gambling problems look like and who is most at-risk. Those that have a parent with a gambling problem and individuals who have a substance abuse problem are at higher risk.

Some common signs of a gambling problem include:

  • Borrowing money to gamble.
  • Lying about how much time or money spent gambling.
  • Hiding bills or unpaid debts.
  • Spending a lot of time gambling and thinking about gambling.
  • Being restless or irritable when not gambling.
  • Bragging about wins, but minimizing losses.

How do you get help for yourself or a friend/family member who needs it? Indiana has funding set aside to pay for treatment for gambling addiction.   You do not need to have insurance and your income level is not a factor in qualifying for treatment. For a referral for yourself or a loved one, call the Indiana Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-994-8448.

The Indiana Problem Gambling Awareness Program at the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington is committed to working with individuals, schools and communities to promote the prevention of problem gambling and help support quality treatment throughout the state.  To find more information on problem gambling go to www.ipgap.indiana.edu.

To gamble safely, experts suggest the following:

  • Don’t think of gambling as a way to make money.
  • Set a limit on how much money and time will be spent gambling.
  • Spend only what you can afford to lose.
  • Gambling and drinking are a dangerous combination.
  • Don’t gamble when depressed or upset.
  • Call 1-800-994-8448  for help for yourself or a loved one.

By Mary lay, 3/6/2015