As we get into holiday season mode, mentalities begin to shift to vacation, leisure activities, and family time. While 2020 has been an exceptional year and holiday gatherings will likely be tapered back due to the risk presented by COVID-19, the importance of raising awareness about the impacts of gambling addiction has only increased. It is no secret that between time off from work, travel expenses, and gift-giving, the holidays put additional strain on the finances for many. For most, this is all part of the yearly budget and justified through the joy it brings to the whole family.
For problem gamblers and their loved ones, the story is different. Each January, the 888-ADMIT-IT Problem Gambling HelpLine receives a substantial increase in contacts from those who reached the breaking point during the holidays, whether through relationship problems, financial difficulties, or even loss of hope and suicidal ideation and attempts. That’s why it’s so important to get the word out now that help and hope are available for gambling addiction, treatment is possible, and it’s never too late to reach out.
Did you know that November 19-25, 2020, is Safer Gambling Week in the United Kingdom? Much like September’s Responsible Gaming Education Week here in the U.S., it’s an awareness event meant to promote and encourage responsible gambling. A big part of responsible gambling is access to help for those who need it.
While Responsible Gaming Education Week is an initiative specifically targeted at the gambling industry, Safer Gambling Week is aimed at “all businesses and organizations.” That’s an important difference during this time of year when people are shopping (whether in person or online), dining, and entertaining at the highest levels. This year, we’re encouraging all Florida businesses to join in the conversation with the public about safer gambling, the dangers of gambling addiction, and most importantly, that help is available 24/7 through the 888-ADMIT-IT Problem Gambling HelpLine.
While gambling can be a safe recreational activity for most, for some, it becomes an addiction affecting nearly all aspects of life. If you choose to gamble, take a moment to reflect and ask yourself if you are taking the necessary precautions for safer gambling and the prevention of problem gambling. Since gambling disorder doesn’t have the physical signs common with alcohol and drug addictions and is thus known as the hidden addiction, it can be hard to know if you or someone you know is at risk. Did you know that you can take a brief screen on our website at gamblinghelp.org or on the 888-ADMIT-IT mobile app?
Safer gambling starts with responsible play habits:
- Playing for Fun
- Setting Limits for Time and Money Spent
- Having Realistic Expectations for Gambling
- Only Wagering Money You Can Afford to Lose
- Experiencing Little to No Negative Gambling Consequences
If you or someone you know may have a gambling problem, contact the 24/7, Confidential, and Multilingual Problem Gambling HelpLine at 888-ADMIT-IT (236-4848) to get connected with services and supports that pave the path to recovery. The HelpLine may also be reached by texting (321) 978-0555, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, initiating a live chat at gamblinghelp.org, or by reaching out to us on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter.