Every year the California Lottery joins other state and national organizations to recognize the month of March as National Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM). The goal is to educate and raise public awareness that problem gambling is an addiction with similarities to the causes and consequences of alcohol and drug dependence that affects people from all segments of society.
This year’s campaign theme, which is called “Make the Change,” urges problem gamblers and affected individuals to take the first step toward recovery by calling 1-800-GAMBLER. The helpline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year — offering callers a brief intervention and crisis stabilization to get them to the next step, which is treatment. The California Lottery partially funds 1-800-GAMBLER helpline via an Interagency Agreement with the California Department of Public Health.
Since 2010, the California Gambling Education and Treatment Services (CalGETS), administered by the California Office of Problem Gambling (OPG), has provided treatment to thousands of individuals suffering negative impacts on their lives due to a gambling disorder. Problem gamblers, and those who are affected by problem gambling, can receive referrals to treatment services, as part of the CalGETS at no cost, by calling or texting the helpline or by visiting OPG’s website. Treatment services are provided as a stepped-care approach from brief interventions, self-help workbooks, one-on-one counseling and residential care. Clients have the ability to choose the services that best fit their needs. All treatment services are confidential and provided by licensed mental health providers specially trained in the treatment of problem gambling behavior.
During the PGAM campaign, the California Lottery joins OPG and other campaign partners to leverage their communication channels to improve statewide messaging and reach during the month of March by adding: electronic point-of-sale messages at Lottery terminals and tickets; responsible gaming messages on social media and on its websites; advertising in regional and ethnic newspapers; and, continued distribution of OPG’s “Responsible Gambling Guidelines” brochure at Lottery retail locations. This statewide collaboration has resulted in increased calls to the problem gambling helpline and an increased number of people getting help for problem gambling.
Since its inception, the Lottery has remained committed to being a responsible corporate citizen that strives to ensure the highest standards of responsible gaming. In fact, the California Lottery is the first lottery in the United States to hold a Level Four Certification from the World Lottery Association. Over the last few years, the Lottery has made several improvements to its Responsible Gaming program.
For more information on National Problem Gambling Month, visit OPG’s website http://problemgambling.ca.gov. To learn more about the California Lottery’s Responsible Gaming Program visit www.californialottery.com.