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Missouri Focuses on Free Treatment During National Awareness Week

The Missouri Alliance to Curb Problem Gambling is joining in the eighth National Problem Gambling Awareness Week scheduled from March 7-13.

During the national awareness week, communities nationwide are working to raise awareness of the consequences of problem gambling and the resources available for individuals whose gambling is causing disruption in their lives.

Missouri's primary focus of National Problem Gambling Awareness Week is to promote the availability of free treatment and the informational and support resources offered through the 1-888-BETSOFF (1-888-238-7633) help line.

"Many Missourians are unaware of the problem gambling resources available to them in the state," said Nora Bock, clinical director for the Missouri Department of Mental Health's Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse and chairperson for the Missouri Alliance to Curb Problem Gambling. "In many regions, free counseling services are available. Treatment provided by qualified counselors can be very effective in improving the lives of problem gamblers and their loved ones."

Bock added that Missouri's help line is "a key resource that can link individuals with treatment services and support groups and offer support and education."

"The National Problem Gambling Awareness Week initiative is also a celebration of the men and women who are overcoming problems associated with their gambling behavior," Bock added.

To raise awareness about the free problem gambling treatment that is available in Missouri, the Missouri Alliance to Curb Problem Gambling distributed Bets Off brochures to all Missouri retailers selling Missouri Lottery tickets.

"The brochures discuss ways to recognize problem gambling symptoms and how to access free treatment by calling the 24-hour toll-free problem gambling help line, 1-888-BETSOFF, or visiting the Alliance's Web site, www.888betsoff.org." said Bock. "Our hope is that by making these brochures available at every Lottery retail location in Missouri, individuals will become aware that treatment is accessible not only for gamblers experiencing problems, but also for their loved ones."

The Missouri Alliance to Curb Problem Gambling, which was created in 1997, is a partnership between the Missouri Council on Problem Gambling Concerns, Inc., the Missouri Department of Mental Health's Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse, the Missouri Gaming Association, the Missouri Gaming Commission, 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 family and friends to treatment through a toll-free help line, to prevent underage play and to promote responsible gaming.

For more information about National Problem Gambling Awareness Week, visit Npgaw.org.

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Created by the Missouri Lottery in cooperation with the Missouri Alliance to Curb Problem Gambling.
Comments or questions about this Web site can be directed to betsoff@molottery.com


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If you feel you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call

Your toll-free call to 1-888-BETSOFF can put you in touch with people who understand your situation and can refer you to free treatment in your area.

You can also reach the Help Line counselors via email; emails will be answered within 15 hours.

Compulsive gambling is a behavior disorder in which an individual has an uncontrollable preoccupation and urge to gamble. This results in excessive gambling, the outcome of which is loss of time and money.

The gambling reaches the point at which it compromises, disrupts or destroys the gambler's personal life, family relationships or vocational pursuits. The key signs are emotional dependence on gambling, loss of control and interference with normal functioning.