March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month, and it’s important to raise awareness about the potential risks associated with gambling. With the increasing availability of gambling opportunities, the likelihood of developing gambling addiction is also rising. It’s essential to be aware of the signs of problem gambling.
Until recently, gambling in Virginia was limited to the lottery, bingo, backroom poker games, or social betting pools. However, the legalization of sports betting for Virginians aged 21 or older has opened up new avenues for gambling.
The Eastern Shore Community Services Board (ESCSB) has conducted an environmental scan around Problem Gaming and Gambling. The study aimed to capture the current state of gambling within communities across Virginia, including opportunities to participate, availability of gaming and gambling locations, community attitudes and perceptions around the various types of gambling, and resources, and an understanding of the long-term impacts.
The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) reports that gambling addiction can compromise, disrupt, or damage personal, family, or vocational pursuits. In the most severe cases, a problem gambler can face financial ruin, legal problems, loss of work, relationships, and even suicide. About 1% of U.S. adults meet the criteria for a severe gambling problem, and 2-3% are estimated to have a mild or moderate gambling problem.
If you or someone you know is struggling with problem gambling, help is available. An online screening tool can be found at www.divisiononaddiction.org/outreach-resources/gdsd/toolkit/bbgs/.
For more information, contact the ESCSB Prevention Office at 757-442-3588.