Sports wagering and mobile sports betting are now easily available in Louisiana, which may lead some residents to develop or exacerbate a gambling problem. The Louisiana Department of Health’s (LDH) Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) reminds Louisianans to be mindful of their limits on the amount of time and money spent on gambling.
Gov. John Bel Edwards has proclaimed March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month in Louisiana, coinciding with National Problem Gambling Awareness Month. The month-long observance promotes awareness of the resources available to those experiencing problems associated with gambling.
“Problem gambling touches the lives of all it affects — not just those with a gambling problem, but also their family and friends who want to help them conquer their disorder. The mental and emotional struggle to find healing takes a toll, but nobody has to face it alone. Louisianans can find help at no cost through the Louisiana Department of Health’s Office of Behavioral Health,” said Dr. Courtney N. Phillips, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health. “With the Problem Gamblers Helpline, counseling and treatment programs provided statewide by regional human services districts, the Office of Behavioral Health is ready to provide assistance. Take that first step toward recovery, and remember: you are not alone.”
Problem gambling includes all gambling behavior patterns that compromise, disrupt or damage personal, family or vocational pursuits. As many as 280,000 Louisiana adults may be involved in problem gambling, according to a 2016 study conducted by OBH.
Know the signs and symptoms of problem gambling:
- The need to be secretive about your gambling
- Spending more time gambling than intended
- Gambling when you don’t have the money
- Withdrawing from family and friends, because of gambling
To learn more about the signs and symptoms of problem gambling, go to ldh.la.gov/problem gambling.
While many can gamble as a form of entertainment with no problems, data compiled by OBH show gambling spans all ages, genders and races in Louisiana. An estimated 5.4% of Louisiana’s adult population are at risk for addiction and about 2.9% of Louisiana adults are pathological gamblers.
“Problem gambling is a hidden addiction that often goes undetected, leading to devastating problems once it is discovered. Problem gamblers have a lot of shame regarding their addiction,” said Karen Stubbs, assistant secretary of the Office of Behavioral Health. “We encourage family, friends or even the person struggling with problem gambling, to reach out now, before the problem gets worse. The Office of Behavioral Health is here to assist if there is a gambling problem, at no cost to residents of Louisiana. It doesn’t need to be handled alone.”
Louisiana offers multiple resources to support gamblers and their families, with no costs to state residents. Counseling and treatment programs are available including the country’s premiere residential treatment facility, The Center of Recovery (CORE), located in Shreveport. Also, outpatient treatment is available statewide in your area.
Individuals do not have to be in financial ruin or have a gambling problem to seek help. Family, friends and those who are struggling with problem gambling are encouraged to call the Louisiana Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-877-770-STOP (7867). For additional information and resources on problem gambling, visit ldh.la.gov/AddictionRecovery.