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March Is Gambling Awareness Month

Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) on Friday recognized March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM) in Illinois. To raise awareness around gambling disorders and honor those in recovery, a statewide art contest will shine a spotlight on the power of recovery. Throughout the month, IDHS will also partner with providers across the state to raise awareness about treatment options for those in need.


IDHS's Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery (SUPR) continues to work with gambling providers to expand outreach and raise awareness for the problems gambling can cause. IDHS launched an art contest, open to all residents of Illinois age 14 and over, to highlight Problem Gambling Awareness Month. The program is part of the new "Are You Really Winning?" Campaign.


The juried art program aims to raise awareness of gambling issues and to deliver a sense of hope to those who are struggling. Accepted media include drawing, painting, printmaking, mixed media, collage, digital art, fiber art, textiles, glass art, photography, ceramic art, assemblage, sculpture, graphic design, and illustration. The winning submissions will be displayed in June.


According to research by Health Resources in Action (HRiA), 4% or nearly 400,000, of Illinois residents have a gambling disorder, and another 7%, or 700,000, are at risk of developing a gambling disorder.


SUPR has also helped providers prepare for an increase in problem gamblers coming in for treatment. Illinois is now the 4th largest state in terms of total calls/texts/chats to the 1-800-GAMBLER helpline. In State Fiscal Year 2023, 48,513 screenings were conducted by treatment providers, representing a 110% increase over the previous year.


Over the past four years, there have been over 679 clinicians trained to provide gambling disorder treatment services in Illinois. This year, SUPR will provide monthly webinars focused on gambling disorders, a two-day Summit on Problem Gambling, a 30-hour Gambling Counselor Training, three community and culturally (Black/African American, Latinx, and Asian cultures) focused conferences on gambling disorders, as well as a virtual introduction to the Eisenberg Disordered Gambling Emphasized SBIRT (EDGE SBIRT) screening tool. To learn more, click here.


If gambling has become a problem for you or someone you know, call 1-800-GAMBLER. Help is also available through the website AreYouReallyWinning.com and by texting GAMB to 833234. 

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