This March, the Michigan Lottery is joining with the National Council on Problem Gambling to promote awareness of problem gambling and the availability of prevention and treatment services. Problem gambling may affect anyone, regardless of age, race, gender, or financial status. If untreated, a gambling addiction can have severe negative consequences for the gambler, the gambler’s family, and the community. Identifying the warning signs of a gambling problem is the first step toward recovery. Your awareness may help a loved one seek the help necessary to overcome a gambling problem.
For more information about Problem Gambling Awareness Month or the National Council on Problem Gambling, please visit: www.ncpgambling.org. Please review the information below to learn more about problem gambling and the tools and resources available to help.
Know the Warning Signs
The National Council on Problem Gambling characterizes problem gambling as “the inability to resist the impulse to gamble, even when there are negative consequences.” While considered a hidden addiction, some warning signs include:
- Missing work or sacrificing time with family to gamble
- Family problems caused by gambling
- Lying about the time spent gambling or the money lost
- Inability to stop or control betting behavior
- Borrowing money to gamble
- Gambling to get money to solve financial problems
- Selling or pawning property to get money for gambling
- Spending money on gambling that should have gone to pay bills
- Gambling more to recover losses
- Committing a crime or considering committing a crime to pay for gambling
- Feelings of hopelessness, depression, or suicide
Problem Gambling Screening Tools
Only a professional can diagnose a gambling disorder. However, the following resources may assist individuals in evaluating whether to seek help:
- NORC Diagnostic Screen for Gambling Problems – Self Administered (NODS-SA) – a 10-question self-assessment designed to assist individuals in evaluating whether to modify or seek help for their gambling behavior. To access the self-assessment, please visit: http://www.ncpgambling.org/help-treatment/screening-tools/
- Are You a Compulsive Gambler? – a 20-question survey offered by Gamblers Anonymous to assist in identifying compulsive gambling behavior. To access the survey, please visit: http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga/content/20-questions
- The Brief Biosocial Gambling Screen (BBGS) – a 3-item questionnaire based on the APA’s DSM-IV criteria for pathological gambling. This screen is designed to help users decide whether to seek formal evaluation. To access this tool, please visit: http://www.divisiononaddiction.org/bbgs_new/
Knowing Your Limits is Always the Best Bet
Michigan Lottery provides responsible gaming tools to help players enjoy our games responsibly. These tools include:
- Deposit Limits – Players may set daily and weekly deposit limits. A default $500 weekly limit is set at registration. Deposit limits can be raised or lowered at any time. Lowering a deposit limit will take immediate effect, but players choosing to raise their deposit limits must wait 48 hours for such changes to take effect.
- Self-Exclusion – Players may choose to take a break from Michigan Lottery’s online gaming. Self-Exclusion means your account will be closed for the selected exclusion length and will not be reopened for any reason during the exclusion period. Exclusions may be set by the player through the ‘Responsible Gaming Tools’ section in ‘My Account’ or with the help of a Michigan Lottery Support Center representative upon request. Available exclusion lengths range from weeks to months to years. Players may set permanent exclusions by contacting the Michigan Lottery Support Center.
- Play History – Players can monitor the time and money they spend on Michigan Lottery’s online gaming through their personalized account histories. Each account history provides a full overview of the games played, the amount wagered on each game, wins and losses, and deposited and withdrawn funds. Players can access their account histories in the ‘My Account’ section of the site.
Help and Support
March is a great time to HAVE THE CONVERSATION about problem gambling. Treatment for problem gambling is available. The following list is a starting point for those seeking help or information:
- Michigan Problem Gambling Helpline: 1-800-270-7117 — a toll-free, confidential, one-on-one helpline available 24/7 to any Michigan resident seeking help for a gambling problem.
- National Council on Problem Gambling – serves as a national advocate for programs and services to assist problem gamblers and their families.
- Gamblers Anonymous – a fellowship of individuals who share the common desire to stop gambling.
- Gam-Anon – a fellowship of individuals who have been affected by a loved one’s problem gambling.
- Michigan Department of Health and Human Services – provides a variety of services to Michigan residents affected by problem gambling, which include the Michigan Problem Gambling Helpline and programs for treatment and prevention.
- Michigan Association on Problem Gambling – a Michigan organization helping gamblers and their family members by presenting prevention and recovery information.