March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month. The goal of this campaign is to increase public awareness of problem gambling and the availability of prevention, treatment and recovery services. Be part of the conversation on social media: #AwarenessPlusAction #PGAM

What is Problem Gambling?

Problem gambling, also known as gambling disorder or gambling addiction, is defined as the urge to gamble despite harmful negative consequences or a desire to stop.

How to Start a Conversation with a Problem Gambler.

Talking with someone you know about a potential gambling problem can be difficult. It’s important to remember that you can’t stop someone from gambling; only they can make that decision. Choose the right moment to have the conversation, and speak in a caring and understanding tone. Make sure you hear what the other person is saying.

To start the conversation:

•Tell the person you care about them and tell them you’re concerned about how they’re acting

•Tell the person exactly what they have done that concerns you

•Tell the person how their behavior is affecting other people – be specific about what you expect from them (“I want you to talk to someone about your gambling”) and what they can expect from you (“I won’t cover for you any more”)

•After you’ve told the person what you’ve seen and how you feel, allow them to respond and listen with a non-judgmental attitude

•Let the person know you are willing to help, but don’t try to counsel them yourself

•Give the person information, not advice

•Encourage them to call the toll-free helpline

For specific advice on how to approach a problem gambler, call the Minnesota Gambling Helpline toll-free 1-800-333-HOPE to talk with a certified counselor. The helpline operates 24-hours a day, seven days a week. All calls are toll-free and confidential.

Thank you to Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance for providing these tips for starting the conversation with someone you care about. Visit northstarpg.org to learn more.