As the nation observes Problem Gambling Awareness Month, the Montana Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Montana Council on Problem Gambling are partnering once again to remind the public that help is available.
The Montana Council on Problem Gambling, a nonprofit organization which funds outpatient treatment for problem gambling through contracts with over 20 providers in the state, reports the need for help has been steady. Last year, the Council served nearly 1,700 patients. Data shows each participating provider averaged one additional client served per month in 2018 compared to 2017.
DOJ’s Gambling Control Division and the Council have collaborated for the past two years on an outreach campaign to increase awareness of problem gambling and provide free help for those in need of support. Materials advertising the Montana Council on Problem Gambling’s free 24-hour helpline (888-900-9979) have been distributed across the state; they include coasters and window decals, magnets, and counter mats.
“The partnership between the Montana Council on Problem Gambling and the Department of Justice has successfully reached and helped individuals who need treatment,” Attorney General Tim Fox said. “I urge Montanans struggling with problem gambling who haven’t already gotten a referral for free treatment to call the Council’s helpline at (888) 900-9979 today. Left unaddressed, problem gambling can ruin lives, tear families apart, and possibly lead to criminal activity,” Fox added.
Brad Longcake, Executive Director of Montana Council on Problem Gambling, said “We continue to build and strengthen our network of counselors across the state. Many Montanans don’t know about the Council, or that we offer counseling at no cost to clients. Oftentimes, individuals are identified in relation to other addictive issues through our counselor network.” Longcake added, “Although problem gambling is not at the forefront of most people’s minds, it’s actually a common problem facing our friends and neighbors across Montana. The Council will continue to provide help for anyone who needs it.”
The warning signs of problem gambling include a preoccupation with gambling, a need to gamble with increasing amounts of money, and attempting to make up losses by additional gambling. Individuals who need help are encouraged to call the helpline at (888) 900-9979 or one of the Gamblers Anonymous hotlines available in Montana. For more information, visit http://www.mtproblemgambling.org/ or www.dojmt.gov/gaming