“March Madness” Raises Awareness about Compulsive Gambling

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This March, the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey (CCGNJ) will spend the month bringing awareness to two important events in the problem gambling treatment community. Foremost, March is National Problem Gambling Awareness Month (NPGAM). Secondly, this month is also home to one of the nation’s biggest sporting events, March Madness, which also happens to be one of the biggest gambling events of the year.

The theme for NPGAM 2017 is “Have the Conversation.” This year, the CCGNJ will partner with private and public NJ agencies in the form of outreach activities, lectures, awareness programs and special events designed to increase awareness about disordered gambling and facilitate conversation among health professionals, problem gamblers and the public at large. The CCGNJ intends for this outreach strategy to encourage problem gamblers to seek help without fear of being stigmatized and to set out on their journey of recovery.

NPGAM 2017 coincides with a multi-million dollar sporting event that is a source of entertainment for many, but a minefield for others. Those struggling with disordered gambling, whether they are in recovery or not, may encounter challenges this month due to the three-week “fan frenzy” sparked by March Madness. For problem gamblers, such widely-publicized sporting events, often accompanied by office pools and other forms of social gambling, present an opportunity for worsening addiction or a return to gambling.

However, there is hope, whether the issue is with illegal sports betting at home or casino gambling in Atlantic City. “It’s never too early or too late to start recovery from a gambling addiction,” said Neva Pryor, Executive Director of the CCGNJ. “The Council is available 24/7 to offer support, treatment and hope to problem gamblers and their loved ones. It all starts with having that conversation and deciding to seek help,” she added.

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