This April, New York passed the legalization of mobile sports betting. Although leaders believe this will be a positive outcome for the state, potentially closing the budget deficit over time, increasing the availability of gambling options may cause problems for some. The Finger Lakes Problem Gambling Resource Center maintains a neutral stance on gambling, but wants the community to know how you can reach out for help if you do have a problem.
Problem gambling, simply put, is anytime someone’s gambling causes issues in their life. This could be financial struggles, relationship problems, issues at work and school, or even criminal activity. Over 5% of adults in NYS meet the criteria for problem gambling (2006 OASAS Adult Problem Gambling Household Survey). Let’s look at the facts:
n Each person struggling with problem gambling affects 6-10 of those closest to them.
n A study found that 9 out of 10 people affected by someone else’s gambling problems felt emotional distress, (Nash et al, 2018).
n About 50 percent of those struggling with a gambling problem have either thought about or attempted suicide.
n 1 in 5 has problem gamblers have attempted and/or died by suicide.
Because so many individuals are impacted by one person’s gambling problem, a person’s mental and physical health could also be impacted. It’s important to recognize the warning signs. How can we tell if someone is struggling with a gambling addiction? There are several warning signs to look out for including:
n being absent from friend/family events because of gambling
n feeling stressed or anxious when not gambling
n low work performance due to absence or preoccupation with betting; and
n lying to family and friends about how much money and time is spent on gambling.
Local, barrier free help is available through the Finger Lakes Problem Gambling Resource Center. The resources are also available to friends and family of those impacted by problem gambling. For more information, please call (585) 351-2262 or email us at FingerLakesPGRC@NYProblemGambling.org. You can also visit our website at www.NYProblemGamblingHELP.org.
Jenna Hotaling is the team leader for the Finger Lakes Problem Gambling Resource Center. In that role, Hotaling works to raise awareness on problem gambling and educate the community on the warning signs of gambling addiction. Over the past three years, she has provided numerous presentations on the connection between gambling and domestic violence, mental health and addiction and emerging trends. She has a background in community health and is a certified health education specialist.