March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month, a time when organizations help provide solutions to gambling addiction in partnership with the National Council of Problem Gaming.
The Arizona Department of Gaming and the NCPG are teaming up for their “Awareness + Action” campaign, which seeks to grow understanding of what problem gambling entails and provide ways to address it. Arizona sports betting began in September, adding another gambling option in the state.
“Arizona Problem Gambling Awareness Month aims to spread the word and highlight the resources available to those who suffer from problem gambling,” ADG Director Ted Vogt said in a department press release. “The good news is that help is available. DPG has resources widely available to Arizonans to help those who may be impacted by problem gambling to take the next step.”
What the ADG is Doing to Combat Problem Gambling
Among the steps Vogt’s department plans on taking to spotlight problem gaming solutions are increased social media campaigns, featuring the #PGAM2022 (Problem Gambling Awareness Month 2022) hashtag.
Above all, the ADG and their partners hope to bring together public health organizations, treatment providers, advocacy groups, and gambling operators as part of the department’s safe gambling drive.
Elise Mikkelsen, who serves as the director of the Department of Problem Gambling, said springtime can present ample opportunities for problem gambling to emerge, thanks in large part to the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.
“March, with events like college basketball’s March Madness, can present opportunities to relapse and cause financial harm for those who may struggle with problem gambling,” Mikkelsen said in the press release. “This makes it more important than ever to make Arizonans aware of the subsidized treatment available that can be accessed through DPG’s free, 24/7 confidential helpline.”
This will be the first NCAA Tournament where college basketball fans may use legal Arizona betting apps to place bets.
How Arizonans Feel About Problem Gambling
The ADG’s problem gambling services play into the public’s desire to provide resources to those who battle gambling addiction, which were touched on in a survey conducted by Arizona State University’s Global Sports Institute in conjunction with OH Predictive Insights of Phoenix.
During a recent interview with BetArizona.com, GSI Director of Research Scott Brooks said Americans don’t really know much about sports betting but want to see operators and regulatory bodies address problem gambling.
“I think that it's inevitable that our biggest leagues are going to continue to build partnerships and see this as a business opportunity that they can gain from. I don't think we can put that horse back in the stable, I think we're there,” Brooks told BetArizona.com. “So the question becomes, how do we feel about this and what do we want organizations to do as we learn more?
“So corporate responsibility, thinking about if we're going to do this and there seems to be a real concern about an increase in gambling addiction. So, are we doing enough, and can we get ahead of it? In terms of preparation? Is there greater education?”