A unique combination of private, state and non-profit groups have come together in Maine to promote responsible gambling and generate awareness about the dangers of problem gambling. Led by the state's Office of Substance Abuse and the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverage & Lottery Operations, the group is deisgned to promote responsible gaming and to encourage those who may have a gambling addiction to seek treatment.
Members also include 211 Maine, the Gambling Control Board, the Maine Council on Problem Gambling, Hollywood Casino, the University of Southern Maine School of Social Work and representatives from the Bangor and Oxford area Healthy Maine Partnerships.
"It is important that Maine people understand that while gambling is fun for many people, for some it can become a serious addiction," said Guy Cousins, Director of the Office of Substance Abuse. “Our hope is that by working together and being proactive, we can get information out that may help reduce potential problems and point people who may need help in the right direction."
The work group will lead a number of activities this week, which has been deemed National Problem Gambling Awareness Week. The kick off activity was a statewide training March 5-6 entitled Problem Gambling Prevention, Intervention and Treatment Across the Lifespan.
The two-day session was well-attended by community partners, prevention professionals and treatment providers who might be working with those who might become addicted to gambling. The focus of the training was to share best practices and information to prevent and treat gambling addiction.
Other activities during the month include:
- Distribution of a new brochure aimed at helping identify the signs of problem gambling. Produced by Maine OSA, the brochure will be distributed at Hollywood Casino, other state partners and will be available through Healthy Maine Partnerships.
- 211 Maine will feature Problem Gambling information on its website during the month of March;
- A media campaign produced and funded by the Bureau of Alcohol Beverages & Lottery Operations, will be aired more frequently to create awareness and to share tips aimed at preventing an addiction to gambling.
- Posts on Maine OSA’s Facebook page will share tips on preventing problem gambling and share OSA’s most recent problem gambling brochures.
To learn more about the signs of problem gambling and where you can get help, please dial 2-1-1 or visit 211maine.org or maineosa.org