Newsroom > DHHS News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 17, 2009

CONTACT
Jeanne Atkinson, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-8287

  

Gambling Can Turn Into a Bad Bet

Sound bites on this topic will be available at: http://www.dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/audio.aspx

Lincoln – “March Madness” college basketball playoffs trigger the nation’s fourth biggest gambling event and can mean personal and financial ruin for some people.

“For most people, gambling is something they do for fun,” said Scot Adams, director of the Division of Behavioral Health in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). “For other people and their families, gambling becomes a serious problem and many forms of gambling are illegal, such as sports betting. For youth and teens, all forms of gambling are illegal.”

According to the DHHS fiscal year 2006 Gamblers Assistance Program (GAP) report, the proportion of younger callers (ages 18-25) to the Nebraska Council on Compulsive Gambling hotline doubled in four years, going from 6% in 2001 to 12% in 2006; almost three-quarters of clients began gambling at 25 years of age or younger.

Common signs of problem gambling include:

  • Increasing time spent gambling on things like cards, dice, games, sports, or online sites;
  • Borrowing or stealing money to gamble;
  • Spending money for bills, etc. on gambling;
  • Feeling the need to bet more and more money;
  • Lying to friends and family about how much was gambled; and
  • Feeling depressed, anxious, irritable or withdrawn

"The good news is that people don’t have to wait to ‘hit rock bottom’ before asking for help," Adams said. “Through awareness, education and, if necessary, treatment services, we can help prevent further problem gambling issues for Nebraskans."

For more information call the toll free helpline at 1-800-522-4700. Other resources are:

-30-