Suspect a gambling problem? There's helpThursday, October 17, 2013 by: SooToday.com Staff
The Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) is in Sault Ste. Marie this week to help family and friends spot the signs of a gambling problem.
According to RGC research, one in 10 Ontarians is negatively affected by someone else's gambling.
That means that approximately 9,385 adults in Algoma District are estimated to be negatively impacted by problem gambling.
The Responsible Gambling Council can help and will be at Casino Sault Ste. Marie on October 17, 18 and 19 from 5 to 9 p.m.
A news release issued by the Responsible Gambling Council follows.
Questioning someone's gambling? Get informed and help stop the chase
Responsible Gambling Council focuses on how family members and friends can spot the signs of a gambling problem and protect themselves during Problem Gambling Prevention Week October 14-20 in Sault Ste. Marie
TORONTO - Problem gambling does not just impact the gambler - the negative financial and personal effects are also deeply felt by their personal circle.
According to research from the Responsible Gambling Council (RGC), one in 10 Ontarians report being negatively affected by someone else's gambling.
That means that about 9,385 adults in Algoma District are estimated to be negatively impacted.
RGC research also shows that approximately 3.4 percent of Ontarians have a moderate to severe gambling problem.
In Algoma District, this equates to about 2,190 adults.
During Problem Gambling Prevention Week, RGC is reaching out to the friends and family of people with a potential gambling problem, providing information about how to spot a problem, protect themselves and get help through local resources.
The awareness campaign highlights a key sign of a gambling problem: chasing losses - or gambling more to win back losses.
For those who believe they can win back losses by betting more, the consequences can be financially and emotionally devastating.
Research by the RGC found that almost 50 percent of Ontario adults who gambled in the past 12 months and who set a money limit, exceeded that limit.
Further, approximately 30 percent of those who gambled beyond their limit also chased their losses.
RGC research also showed that one-third of Ontarians know someone who spends more than they should on gambling.
"Sometimes family members will have a sense that something is wrong," says Jon Kelly, CEO, Responsible Gambling Council. "They may not be sure and will likely try to figure out what to do. This awareness program provides useful information to family members in this situation. Their action can make a huge difference in helping the person with the gambling problem and also protecting the family from harm."
Helping people to identify the signs of a gambling problem can be the first step to Stop the Chase.
"While every situation is different, there are some common signs to look for,"says Kevin Noel, COO, Responsible Gambling Council. "Is the person spending increased amounts of time gambling, leaving less time for family and friends? Are there 'past-due' notices or increased debt? Increased stress and arguments related to money are also signs to be aware of."
It is only natural to want to help if someone close to you has a potential gambling problem.
But it can be tricky because they often deny there is a problem or refuse to talk about it.
You can find tips on how to raise your concerns about gambling by visiting www.stopthechase.ca.
Each person's situation is different, but some of the signs of a potential gambling problem include:
- Hiding bills, past due notices, winnings or losses.
- Gambling instead of spending time with friends or family.
- Neglecting work and personal needs because of gambling.
- Increased tension, stress and arguments relating to money.
- Getting irritated more easily or having less patience when dealing with normal, everyday activities.
- Increased debt, unpaid bills or other financial troubles.
If you are the spouse, a family member or a friend of a person with a gambling problem you probably want to help.
Here's what you can do:
- Get informed before you raise the issue.
- Be prepared. Get a support system in place and choose the right moment.
- Talk from your own point of view. Use phrases like "I feel" or "I think."
- Remain calm and keep a cool head when talking.
- Negotiate and set firm boundaries. Make your expectations clear about future gambling, managing finances and managing responsibilities.
- Take action to protect assets such as joint accounts, credit cards, lines of credit and RRSPs.
- Seek professional help for both financial advice and emotional support.
Problem gambling resources
Sault Ste. Marie residents can access local help at:
- Addictions Treatment Clinic - Sault Area Hospital 705-759-6684
- Ontario Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-888-230-3505
For more about the signs of potential problem gambling; helping a friend or family member who may have a gambling problem; protecting your finances and safer gambling tips, go to www.stopthechase.ca.
About the RGC
The Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to problem gambling prevention.
RGC works to reduce gambling risks by creating and delivering innovative awareness and information programs.
It also promotes the adoption of improved play safeguards through best practices research, standards development and the RG Check accreditation program.
RCG is committed to bringing together all perspectives in the reduction of gambling problems, including those of people with firsthand experience with gambling problems, gaming providers, regulators, policy makers and treatment professionals.