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What’s Happening During Problem Gambling Awareness Month?

A NASPL Responsible Gambling Roundup.



February 16, 2024

NASPL Insights Online



Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM) is a nationwide grassroots campaign, held annually in March, that seeks to increase public awareness of problem gambling and promote prevention, treatment, and recovery services. Spearheaded by the National Council on Problem Gambling, the primary goals of PGAM are:

 

  • To increase public awareness of problem gambling and the availability of prevention, treatment, and recovery services.

  • To encourage healthcare providers to screen clients for problem gambling.

 


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We asked our lottery members a simple question: What are you doing for Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM)?




Arkansas Scholarship Lottery

Ashley McNatt, Marketing & Advertising Director

 

For PGAM, the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery will communicate through our various channels to bring awareness to our retailers, players and the public about Problem Gambling Awareness Month. Below is a list of various activities that will take place: 

 

  • A retailer newsletter will go out to our over 2,000 retailers across the state that will include an article about PGAM, where our Players Hub will be showcased. Our Players Hub is a tool for retailers and players that includes resources for playing and selling responsibly. Through our Winning Wisdom widget, we provide tips for playing responsibly: 1) Know Your Limits; 2) No Secrets to Winning; 3) Not for Kids; 4) Play for Fun Only; 5) These Are Games; 6) Not Income; and 7) Problem Gambling?


  • All employees, retailers and Arkansas Scholarship Lottery vendors are required to complete annual responsible gambling training. In honor of PGAM and as part of the Responsible Gambling Verification Program, we require the training be completed during March. 


  • We provide a Responsible Gambling retailer training video on the photons located at each retailer. Our sales reps can track if the retailers have watched the video and answered the questions.  


  • In retail we will display PlayStation posters and ensure that our Winning Wisdom wallet cards are available for retailers to give out to the public. 


  • We will run a paid and organic social media campaign throughout March, linking to our Players Hub and other information on our website. 


  • We will send a news release out on March 1 encouraging people to play responsibly and to offer resources available to problem gamblers.



Florida Lottery

Jennifer Smith, Advertising Consultant

 

Our activities during PGAM include the following:

 

  • Social posts throughout the month

  • Terminal message

  • Annual employee training

  • Talking points

  • Press release

  • Player emails (four total)

  • AskLott tagline

  • Internal emails



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Maryland Lottery & Gaming

Jasmine A. Countess, Director, Responsible Gambling

Responsible gambling remains at the forefront of Maryland Lottery & Gaming's operations. This year for PGAM, we have a number of things planned, including issuing a press release featuring statements from us, our six casinos, and the Maryland Center of Excellence on Problem Gambling; video content and other responsible gambling posts on social media; site visits to some of our smaller gambling operators; and an advertising campaign to include television, radio, out-of-home, and digital messaging. We have also asked our state Senate and House to bring forth a resolution in support of PGAM. Lastly, we are co-hosting a PGAM webinar with the Maryland Center of Excellence on Problem Gambling and DraftKings. Responsible gambling does not happen in a silo. Everyone plays a role in its success. We look forward to bringing more awareness to PGAM in the years to come!



Montana Lottery

Daniel Iverson, Content Manager


The Montana Lottery participates in PGAM in partnership with the Montana Council on Problem Gambling. To promote awareness of PGAM, we develop original graphics to place on our website and digital screens at point-of-sale all month. Additionally, we post facts about problem gambling to our social media channels at least once per week in March. This is the eighth year we have participated, and we look forward to participating again this year.

 



 

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Ohio Lottery

Jimmie Hicks III, Director of Responsible Gambling

 

Our PGAM theme this year is “Every Story Matters,” which serves as a poignant reminder that each narrative, encompassing both struggles and victories in the realm of problem gambling, holds profound significance. Over the course of the month, our objective is to spotlight these diverse stories, cultivating a deeper understanding and support network within our communities. By uniting in this effort, we aspire to magnify awareness, dismantle stigmas, and underscore the crucial message that in the realm of problem gambling, Every Story Matters!

 


Some of our planned activities include an agency-wide training. Dr. Heather Chapman and Mike Buzzelli are our confirmed speakers. We will also be conducting several employee engagement activities that will take place virtually through our employee knowledge center. A final unique activity will be gathering feedback from employees with school-aged children about our statewide campaign Change the Game Ohio, which will be undergoing a revamp this year.



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Oregon Lottery

Krystal Smith, Responsible & Problem Gambling Program Manager

 

For many years, Oregon Lottery and the Oregon Health Authority have come together to promote PGAM. This partnership includes jointly sponsoring a statewide Governors Proclamation for PGAM. Individual counties/townships also establish their own proclamations.




In addition to that, when it comes to media strategy, the Oregon Lottery has an always-on approach around responsible and problem gambling marketing outreach. We also promote awareness during PGAM in a number of ways that include:

 

  • Robust digital media, public relations, social media and advertising outreach.

  • Mandatory Retailer RG Training launches every year during PGAM.

  • PGAM reminders included in the quarterly Retailer Newsletter.

  • New RG on the Go training for Oregon Lottery player-facing staff launching in March.

  • Content provided to Oregon Lottery employees throughout the month via Teams page.

  • Oregon Health Authority prevention coordinators conduct activities around the state helping educate Oregonians about gambling and how to find free counseling and other resources available.

  • Art and PSA video contests during March bringing awareness to youth gambling, substance misuse and mental health issues.

 



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Pennsylvania Lottery

Diana Dietz, Deputy Communications Director and Responsible Gambling Manager


During PGAM and throughout the year, the Pennsylvania Lottery is committed to raising public awareness about what problem gambling is, but more importantly, providing tools and resources to players who may be suffering from gambling-related harms. Throughout the month of March, the Lottery will post dedicated PGAM messages across its social media platforms, as well as feature dedicated billboard and television ads reminding players of the 1-800-GAMBLER helpline. Additionally, we will issue reminders to our network of more than 10,000 retailer partners across the state to monitor all Lottery vending units to guard against underage play, as well as provide information to learn more about the warning signs of problem gambling and available services. Finally, the Lottery will join its responsible gambling partners at the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP), the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, and the Council on Compulsive Gambling of Pennsylvania (CCGP) to host a joint press conference on Monday, February 26, as well as a PGAM information table at the Pennsylvania State Capitol on Monday, March 18.

 

 


South Carolina Education Lottery

Ammie Smith, Director of Product Development


The South Carolina Education Lottery’s RG Plan provides us with a framework to ensure that everyone connected with our business fully understands our commitment to playing responsibly. That commitment does not take a day off. And it takes all of us, working together, training together, and sharing information and resources to make it a success. Our plan provides educational training materials that support RG awareness and the treatment resources available to help, creates advertising that does not target, and seeks new approaches to RG from experts. We are excited about our BETTER U initiative at. BETTER U is about educating players on the facts, the history and the math behind our games so they will make better choices when they play. It’s one part of our RG program that will make for a better, healthier South Carolina.

 


South Dakota Lottery

Wade LaRoche, Director of Advertising & Public Relations


In conjunction with PGAM, the South Dakota Lottery is reminding its players and retail partners to “Keep the Fun Good.”

 

The central focus of this messaging is to remind all parties to set a budget, play only for fun, and that help is available if they or someone they know develops a problem. Paid advertising efforts will begin in the middle of February and run throughout March, utilizing digital billboards, television, radio and social media. 

 

Our paid advertising will work hand in hand with several organic channels. The South Dakota Lottery will have a series of emails to our Players Club, which will include tips on how to keep the fun good, warning signs of problem gambling, and information on the resources that are available. Organic efforts will also include social media posts, push notifications through our mobile app and retail newsletters.

 

The South Dakota Lottery was honored to receive NASPL’s award for Best Responsible Gambling Communications Coordinated Campaign, which was also well received by our stakeholders. We hope to continue to build on that success in 2024.


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Virginia Lottery

John Hagerty, Senior Public Affairs Specialist


The Virginia Lottery has a long history as one of the first lotteries participating in PGAM, going back to when it was Problem Gambling Awareness Week. In 2024, Virginia has put together a comprehensive campaign aimed at raising awareness of gambling addiction and the resources available in the Commonwealth. Assets include a 30-second public service announcement in English and Spanish, produced in-house by the Virginia Lottery’s media team. The PSA is distributed to media outlets statewide and used in social media. Some additional assets include ticket messaging, a webinar for employees, messaging on in-store displays and self-service terminals, a Governor’s Proclamation, news media outreach including an op ed, a paid media campaign, and a strong emphasis on social media.


 


Problem Gambling Awareness Month 2024

 

Each year, the National Council on Problem Gambling sets a theme for PGAM and offers updated tools and techniques for any organization wanting to participate. Here are highlights of NCPG’s plans for March 2024.

 

This year’s theme, “Every Story Matters,” is a reminder that every narrative, battle, and triumph related to problem gambling is significant. Throughout the month, NCPG aims to elevate these stories, fostering understanding and support within our communities. Together, let’s amplify awareness, break down stigmas and emphasize that when it comes to problem gambling, Every Story Matters. #PGAM2024

 

PGAM 2024 Promotional Toolkit

 

To facilitate your PGAM promotion efforts, NCPG has compiled a PGAM toolkit with key resources: problem gambling FAQs, best practices for social media, a press release template and more.

 


How to Participate in PGAM

 

  • Hold a conference on problem gambling.

  • Air public service announcements.

  • Provide counselor trainings.

  • Host a Problem Gambling Screening Day event.

  • Run social media campaigns.

  • And more!

 

For some people, participating in PGAM is as simple as having a conversation. Making sure that your friends and family are aware of the problem gambling resources in your community is a great first step

 



Gambling Disorder Screening Day, March 12, 2024

 

To make screening for gambling disorder easier and more effective, NCPG has partnered with the Cambridge Health Alliance Division on Addiction, which has developed a free Gambling Disorder Screening Day Toolkit.

 

This year’s Screening Day Toolkit has even more free resources to make hosting Screening Day easier than ever. Any provider or organization can host. Registration is not required to use these free resources. If you are interested in becoming a registered host this year, email info@divisiononaddiction.org.

 

If you have any questions about PGAM, contact Cait Huble, NCPG Director of Communications. caith@ncpgambling.org




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