MDLottery Joins Efforts to Promote National Problem Gambling Awareness WeekSunday, March 4th, 2012
The Maryland Lottery will take part in The National Council on Problem Gambling’s (NCPG) 10th Annual National Problem Gambling Awareness Week (NPGAW). The grassroots public awareness and outreach campaign will be held March 4-10, 2012. The campaign’s goal is to educate the general public and health care professionals about the warning signs of problem gambling and to raise awareness about the help that is available, both locally and nationally. The NCPG is the national advocate for programs and services to assist problem gamblers and their families.
The Maryland Lottery has taken a proactive role in addressing problem gambling issues. In late 2010, at the behest of Lottery Director Stephen Martino, the Maryland Alliance for Responsible Gambling (MARG) was formed. One of only four organizations of its kind in the nation, MARG is comprised of the heads of Maryland state agencies involved in problem gambling issues, not-for-profit organizations, Maryland legislators and management from the state’s casinos. MARG works to promote responsible gambling awareness and provide resources for problem gamblers, as well as for their friends and families.
MARG’s website, mdgamblinghelp.org, highlights the resources available throughout the state, including a 24-hour, toll-free helpline; educational materials; a counselor search; and information about the Maryland Lottery’s Voluntary Exclusion Program (VEP). A tool of personal responsibility, VEP allows problem gamblers to ban themselves from Maryland casinos. Since its inception, 64 individuals have registered for the program.
“We want to ensure that Marylanders have access to the help they need,” Martino said. “This week’s efforts are designed to spotlight the many resources available and to create positive change in our community.”
During NPGAW, the Maryland Lottery will be blogging on its slots website, slots.mdlottery.com, and posting statistics and information regarding gambling on Facebook and Twitter. In addition, special messaging will be featured at the more than 4,200 Lottery retail locations across Maryland, via the agency’s Lottery InMotion™ monitor screens.
“We see this as a tremendous opportunity to spread the word about the issues of problem gambling,” said Martino. “Whether purchasing Lottery games or visiting our state’s new casinos, we always encourage people to play responsibly.”