March is National Problem Gambling Awareness Month

| February 27, 2014

For Immediate Release — March 19, 2014

Contact: Jason Davis, Public Information Officer | (541) 682-8707 (Office) | (541) 510-6257 (Cell)

Download the Media Advisory (PDF)

For the first time ever, the U.S. is highlighting the issue of gambling disorders with a Problem Gambling Awareness Month throughout March.

An estimated 2.7 percent of the population of Oregon adults has a gambling problem — that’s about 9,600 adults here in Lane County, or one in every 37 adults. Recently, the American Psychiatric Association released its latest diagnostic manual (DSM-5), putting “gambling disorder” in its own category of a behavioral addiction, very similar to alcohol and drug addiction.

“Clues about a gambling problem are often hidden, sometimes even behind other addictions and mental health issues,” said Julie Hynes, Lane County problem gambling prevention coordinator.

Sometimes, clues can be a little more obvious, especially this time of year, during March Madness.  Hynes says the wagers made in Nevada on the NCAA basketball tournament will likely reach a record $119 million. It is important to note, that figure is only counting the legal wagers in that state (it’s currently not legal to bet on sports outside Nevada and New Jersey).  Those who play tournament brackets typically do it for fun – but some take brackets too far, spending more than they can afford.

Local efforts to help highlight awareness include a young adult video contest and middle school art search, sponsored by the Lane County Problem Gambling Advisory Committee. Both events include prizes for ALL eligible participants – proving that no gambling is involved. The videos and artwork will be hosted and judged via votes on Lane County Prevention Program’s new mobile-friendly website,, created by Hunter Creation in association with Lane County Public Health.

Additionally, Lane County is sponsoring radio public service announcements to get out the message that help for gambling addiction is available – and it’s right here in Lane County.

“We want people to know that help is still free and available for problem gamblers and their loved ones,” said Hynes. “Too often this addiction goes hidden and unrecognized. People need to know that gambling disorders are preventable and treatable.”

About 200 gamblers and families were treated through the Emergence Gambling Treatment Program last year in Lane County. The number of those served has been dropping, due to ads that were cut last April after an Oregon Department of Justice Opinion that recommended the Lottery not engage in problem gambling efforts.  Legislation was passed during Oregon’s 2014 short session and was signed by the Governor last week, essentially allowing the Lottery to pick back up with its award-winning ads promoting help through the state’s 1-877-MY-LIMIT 24-hour helpline.

Below: Top three finalists for Problem Gambling Awareness Video Contest


Other Contacts:

  • Michele Tantriella-Modell, Emergence Gambling Program Director: 541.741.7107
  • Ronda Hatefi, Lane County Problem Gambling Advisory Committee Chair: 541.688.7101


March 2014–

Why an awareness month?

About 81,000 Oregonian adults have a gambling problem, and yet problem/disordered gambling is known as a “hidden addiction.” The purpose of Awareness Month is to increase public awareness and educate community providers about problem gambling. The effort began in keeping with the message of “Hope and Help” available for problem gamblers and their loved ones. The National Council on Problem Gambling offers an Awareness Month page and toolkit for those looking to get involved in Awareness Month efforts.

Related: What is problem gambling? | Youth gambling in Oregon

Key messages:

  • Problem gambling is a serious public health issue for Oregon.
  • Oregon’s investment in addressing problem gambling reduces harm and helps the economy.
  • Treatment in Oregon is free, confidential, and it works. Help is available by calling the 24-hour helpline, 1-877-MY-LIMIT or online at

Efforts are happening across the nation and state. Efforts in Lane County and across Oregon are planned throughout the month of March.  View the Governor’s Proclamation for the State of Oregon here.

Local efforts:

problem gambling art search -- enter today!

Things to increase awareness that you can do:

Most parents don’t know their kids are gambling, let alone talk with them. Not sure how to have the conversation? Learn more here.

Get in-the-know with an awareness presentation. Got a class, community group, or others that would be interested in problem gambling as a topic?  Contact us to schedule an informative, interactive presentation!

Get involved. Lane County’s Problem Gambling Advisory Committee needs more interested community members to help continue awareness efforts beyond Awareness Week.

Learn more. Parents: go here to learn more. Teachers: go here to learn more. Know someone with a gambling problem?  Get help.

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Category: Gambling Facts, Media, Problem Gambling, Problem Gambling Resourcres and Links

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