Mar 1, 2021

Whether betting on basketball or scooping up Scratch tickets, the Colorado Lottery urges all Coloradans to please play responsibly.

As March Madness reaches a crescendo this month with an estimated $10 billion in bets placed on the NCAA basketball championship tournament each year, calls to the problem gambling helpline spike an average of 30% during the month of March. In response to an increased need to build awareness about problem gambling, the Colorado Lottery is boosting its Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM) efforts by 40%.

For the 19th year, the Colorado Lottery, in collaboration with the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) and the Problem Gambling Coalition of Colorado (PGCC), are dedicating the month of March to helping its players. The campaign theme "Awareness + Action" is all about having conversations about problem gambling issues and taking specific action, directing people to resources that can help. Approximately 4-6 million U.S. adults (2-3% of the population) are considered to qualify as problem gamblers, with another estimated 2 million (1%) meeting the criteria for a gambling disorder. And yet for many residents of the U.S., gambling remains a hidden addiction.

"Operating responsibly is a critical annual goal for our organization," said Tom Seaver, director of the Colorado Lottery. "With a goal to reach Level 4 certification for Responsible Gambling practices from the World Lottery Association this year, the Lottery is driving more responsible gambling awareness as part of its commitment to the PGCC, which is a vital partner in helping people fight gambling addiction in Colorado. This is even more important as more opportunities to gamble grow in the state with the launch of sports betting."

Coloradans wagered close to $30 million on the 55th Super Bowl alone this year. With major sporting events like the Super Bowl and March Madness jump-starting gambling each year, the Lottery and PGCC use March to amplify important messages surrounding responsible gaming. 

As part of its increased commitment this year, the Lottery has developed new, entertaining, and creative videos to help amp up its digital and social media advertising to raise awareness. Using the tagline #AwarenessPlusAction, Problem Gambling Awareness Month (#PGAM2021) is designed to help raise awareness of the prevention, treatment and recovery services available for those adversely affected by gambling. This grassroots campaign brings together a wide range of stakeholders, including public health organizations, treatment providers, advocacy groups, and gambling operators. They work collaboratively to let people know that hope and help exist.

"Across Colorado, groups hold conferences, host screening and training days, run media campaigns, and conduct awareness initiatives to reach people who can make a difference in ensuring that problem gambling services are widely available and accessible," said John Bundrick, president of the PGCC.

To learn more or find help for anyone who might have a gambling problem, call or text the National Problem Gambling Helpline Network at 1-800-522-4700 or visit NCPG for confidential help.

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