On Tuesday, November 5, 2013, a majority of New York state voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing up to seven commercially operated casinos to be operated. The first four casinos are expected to open in three upstate NY locations including the Catskills, the Capital Region and the Southern Tier.
As new opportunities to gamble will become available throughout New York State within the next few years, we wanted to remind New York State communities of a few key points about problem gambling.
Many people enjoy gambling as a social activity. People have gambled in casino-like venues for decades, and many enjoy it as a spontaneous social activity.
Unfortunately, gambling is a dangerous addiction for some individuals. Approximately three percent of U.S. adults are problem gamblers or at-risk for addiction.
Signs of gambling addiction are:
- Gambling to escape worry, boredom or trouble
- Gambling disrupting daily life and sleep patterns
- Gambling to forget about arguments or frustration
- Personality changes
- Self destructive thoughts caused by gambling’s consequences
(Find more signs of problem gambling)
Unfortunately, the signs aren’t always easy to see. Gambling addiction is referred to as the “hidden addiction” because its consequences aren’t always noticed immediately, and addictions can often be hidden from family members and friends.
It is important that we raise awareness about problem gambling. As gambling opportunities increase, so to may problems associated with gambling. You can raise awareness of problem gambling by educating friends and family members about its risks. If you feel comfortable, you can speak to larger groups within your community members or clubs. There are a number of ways you can help raise awareness of gambling addiction.
Make sure people know that recovery is possible and treatment options exist.
There are many people who have decided to fight their addiction and quit gambling. Recovery isn’t easy, but it’s possible – and there are people who are ready to support you every step of the way.
Read our e-book “The Faces of Problem Gambling” to hear the stories of people who have recovered and the family members who have seen these addictions and recoveries occur.
Use resources such as the NYS HOPEline (1-877-8-HOPENY) and the Gambling Support Directory to find help near you for yourself or a loved one in need.
It’s important that we make sure everyone understands the existence of gambling addiction and seeks the help they need if problem gambling begins to affect ourselves or someone we know.