March was a busy month for the WCPG. March was Problem Gambling Awareness Month. During March, we tried to raise awareness in a variety of ways. We sent posters, bookmarks and letters to all of the libraries in the state of Wisconsin. This was a good way to bring awareness about gambling disorders to a variety of people. Many libraries requested additional bookmarks which was our hope. We also sent out press releases about PGAM. Additionally, we tried to increase awareness of gambling disorders through Facebook, twitter, and linked in. As March comes to a close and PGAM finishes it is important for us to remember that gambling disorders can be a problem every day of the year. So please remember to be aware that someone you know or work with may have a gambling problem and may be dealing with the serious consequences of that disorder daily. WCPG provides education, awareness and resources, 365 days a year.
Our 18th Annual Problem Gambling Awareness Conference was held on March 23-24, 2017 at the Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake. There were 120 participants at this year’s conference. Some of the topics covered were Internet Gambling and Fantasy Sports, Generational Differences, Motivational Interviewing, Ethics, Groups for Problem Gamblers, Process Addictions and many more. Next year’s 19th annual conference will be held on March 15-16, 2018 at the Milwaukee Marriot West. Mark your calendars to join us.
During the month of March, we presented to several High Schools in Wisconsin. The school programming provides education about gambling disorders. We talk about the risks involved in gambling and the warning signs. As we know, many teens use gambling as the “gateway” activity, thus leading to more risky behavior. Social gambling can quickly move to problem gambling. A gambling disorder is just as serious as a drug addiction. Our hope is that by reaching out to adolescents, we can prevent some of the negative statistics associated with gambling disorders.
The 24-hour Helpline continues to receive an average of 1200 calls a month. In addition, the number of contacts through our chat line is available on our website at wi-problemgamblers.org continues to increase. We recently implemented our text line. People can text for help at 920-888-HELP (4357).