Release from Problem Gamblers Help Network of West Virginia:
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — According to the American Gaming Organization, $6.8 billion will likely be wagered on this year’s Super Bowl, including legal and illegal bets.
In West Virginia, three casinos offer in-person sports betting and mobile betting is also available throughout the state. For most people, this amounts to harmless fun. For some, however, these bets spell big trouble. Those new to betting, perhaps lured by the new legitimacy brought by legality, need to follow the rules of responsible gambling, according to 1800GAMBLER.
Jennifer Davis-Walton, Director of The Problem Gamblers Help Network of West Virginia, which operates the 1-800-GAMBLER program says gambling addiction is a serious problem for many people in West Virginia. Studies have shown one in fifty West Virginians may be dealing with a gambling problem. Davis-Walton says her group has taken more than 14,000 calls from state residents asking for help with a gambling problem since the program started in 2000. “People start to get into trouble when they start using betting as a way to make money instead of just having fun. When they lose money, they chase their loss by betting even more. This turns into a downward spiral.” She urges those who are planning to gamble to follow these rules:
1. Treat the money you lose as the cost of entertainment and any winnings as a bonus
2. Plan Ahead- Set a money and time limit, and stick to them
3. Expect to Lose- Odds are, you will
4. Never Gamble on Credit
5. Create Balance in Your Life – Don’t let gambling interfere with work or your personal life
6. Avoid Chasing Lost Money – It’s unlikely you’ll win it back and very possible you’ll lose more
7. Don’t Use Gambling to Cope – Seek professional help
8. Learn the warning signs. And CALL 1800GAMBLER if you need help.
Anyone who thinks they or a loved one needs help with a gambling problem is urged to call 1-800-GAMBLER. Callers speak with a helpline counselor based in Charleston, and they are referred to one of the network’s 70+ specially trained gambling addiction counselors throughout the state. They receive a free two-hour consultation. Funds are available for those who do not have insurance to pay for additional treatment. Follow-up studies with helpline callers show that the majority of callers are able to stop gambling within six months of entering treatment.