Gov. Nixon Proclaims August Responsible Gaming Education Month
Gov. Jay Nixon issued a proclamation announcing the month of August as Responsible Gaming Education Month. More than eight years ago, Missouri was the first state in the nation to recognize a statewide Responsible Gaming Education Month. Activities throughout the month of August will focus on increasing public awareness about responsible gaming and the availability of free treatment for problem gamblers and their loved ones.
In addition to the ceremonial proclamation signing in 2011, the Alliance, along with other members of the Midwest Consortium on Problem Gambling and Substance Abuse, kicked off Responsible Gaming Education Month with a variety of activities, including co-hosting the 8th annual Midwest Conference on Problem Gambling and Substance Abuse during the last week of July in Kansas City. The multi-state conference featured free public presentations and panel discussions presented by nationally acclaimed addiction experts from throughout the country.
"Having the Midwest Conference in late July is a great way to start raising awareness about responsible gaming before Missouri's awareness month begins in August," said May Scheve Reardon, executive director of the Missouri Lottery. "We have programs and educational exhibits throughout the year, but recognizing one month each year as Responsible Gaming Education Month helps to highlight the variety of resources available to Missourians."
Free Alliance programs include: awareness campaigns (website, billboards, a bi-annual newsletter, an annual report, speaker's bureau, traveling exhibits, public service announcements and a youth addiction prevention program); collateral materials for the general population; problem gambling treatment; a self-exclusion program and a toll-free help line.
To further promote the availability of treatment and informational and support resources, the Alliance distributed a responsible gaming payroll stuffer to Missouri state employees, responsible gaming brochures to Missouri retailers selling Missouri Lottery tickets and included information on the Alliance's and Lottery's websites, 888betsoff.org and Molottery.com.
Keith Spare, certified compulsive gambling counselor and chairperson of both the Missouri Alliance to Curb Problem Gambling and the Missouri Council on Problem Gambling Concerns, Inc., explained that many Missourians are unaware of the problem gambling resources available to them in the state.
"In many regions, free counseling services are accessible," said Spare. "Treatment from
qualified counselors can be very effective in improving the lives of problem gamblers and their loved ones."
Spare added that Missouri's free help line, 1-888-BETSOFF (1-888-238-7633), "provides 24-hour professional counseling and referral services to gamblers and their families."
The Missouri Alliance to Curb Problem Gambling, which was created in 1997, is a partnership between the Missouri Gaming Association, the Missouri Gaming Commission, the Missouri Council on Problem Gambling Concerns, Inc., the Missouri Department of Mental Heath's Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse, the Missouri Lottery, the Port Authority of Kansas City and a recovery community representative.
The purpose of the Alliance is to educate Missourians on the potential characteristics and
dangers of problem and compulsive gambling, to refer compulsive gamblers and their loved ones to free treatment, to prevent underage play and to promote responsible gaming.
To learn more about the Alliance, visit 888betsoff.org.