Sports betting and mobile sports betting are now readily available in Louisiana, which may cause some residents to develop or worsen a gambling problem. The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) ) reminds Louisianans to be aware of their limits in terms of time and money spent on gambling.
Governor John Bel Edwards has proclaimed March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month in Louisiana, coinciding with National Problem Gambling Awareness Month. One-month adherence promotes awareness of resources available to those experiencing gambling-related problems.
“Compulsive gambling touches the lives of everyone it affects – not just those with a gambling problem, but also their family and friends who want to help them overcome their disorder. The mental and emotional struggle to find healing takes its toll, but no one has to face it alone. Louisianans can find help for free through the Louisiana Department of Health’s Office of Behavioral Health,” said Dr. Courtney N. Phillips, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health. “With the problem gambler hotline, counseling and treatment programs provided statewide by Regional Social Services Districts, the Office of Behavioral Health stands ready to provide assistance. Take that first step towards healing and remember: you are not alone.
Problem gambling includes all gambling behaviors that compromise, disrupt or interfere with personal, family or professional activities. According to a 2016 study conducted by OBH, as many as 280,000 Louisiana adults may be involved in problem gambling.
Know the signs and symptoms of problem gambling:
- The need to keep your game secret
- Spending more time gaming than expected
- Play when you have no money
- Withdrawing from family and friends because of gambling
To learn more about the signs and symptoms of problem gambling, see ldh.la.gov/problem gambling.
While many can gamble as a form of entertainment without issue, data compiled by OBH shows that gambling spans all ages, genders and races in Louisiana. An estimated 5.4% of Louisiana’s adult population is at risk for addiction, and approximately 2.9% of Louisiana’s adults are pathological gamblers.
“Compulsive gambling is a hidden addiction that often goes unnoticed, leading to devastating problems once discovered. Problem gamblers have a lot of shame about their addiction,” said Karen Stubbs, assistant secretary for the Office of Behavioral Health. “We encourage family, friends or even the person dealing with problem gambling to contact us now, before the problem escalates. The Office of Behavioral Health is here to help with problem gambling at no cost to Louisiana residents. It does not need to be handled alone.
Louisiana offers multiple resources to support gamers and their families at no cost to state residents. Counseling and treatment programs are available, including the nation’s first residential treatment center, The Center of Recovery (CORE), located in Shreveport. Also, outpatient treatment is available statewide in your area.
Individuals do not need to be in financial ruin or have a gambling problem to seek help. Family, friends and those struggling with problem gambling are encouraged to call the Louisiana Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-877-770-STOP (7867). For more information and resources on problem gambling, visit ldh.la.gov/AddictionRecovery.