About Problem Gambling Awareness Month and Gambling Disorder Screening Day

March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM), a nationwide grassroots awareness campaign that aims to increase public awareness of problem gambling and promote prevention, treatment, and recovery services. During PGAM, many providers or organizations participate in Gambling Disorder Screening Day (Screening Day), which is held on the second Tuesday of PGAM and this year falls on March 12, 2024. Screening Day is an international initiative established in 2014 by The Division on Addiction at Cambridge Health Alliance to support providers in identifying problem gambling (sometimes called “Gambling Disorder” or “gambling addiction”).

Providers: Host your own Screening Day event on March 12, 2024!

Hosting a screening event on Screening Day has never been easier! The Division on Addiction at Cambridge Health Alliance provides a free toolkit that contains a variety of resources, and registration is not required to use the toolkit. Download the Toolkit.

Help and hope for problem gambling 

Problem gambling leads to financial, emotional, social, occupational, and physical harms, but many cases are often undetected and untreated. According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, an estimated 2 million adults in the US (1%) meet the criteria for severe gambling problems in a given year, and another 4-6 million (2-3%) meet one or more of the criteria for gambling disorder and are experiencing problems due to their gambling. Anyone who gambles can experience problem gambling, but one serious risk factor is having a substance use disorder (SUD). 

It’s important to know that problem gambling can be treated, and there is help available. The MA Problem Gambling Helpline was launched in 2020 by the MA Department of Public Health (DPH), Office of Problem Gambling Services (OPGS) to provide referrals to licensed problem gambling treatment services and recovery support services to people experiencing problem gambling, their loved ones, and providers. It is also a resource for problem gambling awareness and education. Because of the intersection between problem gambling and SUDs, Specialists are trained to screen and support callers and website visitors for both, and the MA Helpline and MA Problem Gambling Helpline are linked to one another.

If you’re worried about your own or a loved one’s gambling, you are not alone. Call 800.327.5050, text GAMB to 800237, or chat with us online to learn more about the services that are right for you.

There is also help for providers to meet the rising need for problem gambling treatment and recovery services. A collaboration between OPGS, Health Resources in Action (HRiA), and the Division on Addiction at CHA, the Massachusetts Technical Assistance Center for Problem Gambling Treatment (M-TAC) offers free capacity-building and technical assistance to treatment and recovery programs and providers across the state to help them identify and treat MA residents in need of problem gambling services. M-TAC is also the provider of the official gambling treatment certificate of the MA Department of Public Health, the Massachusetts Problem Gambling Specialist (MA PGS) Certificate.

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