March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month across the U.S., but the Responsible Gaming Association of New Mexico offers year-around help for people hurt by unhealthy gambling.
In 2021, even with many of the state’s casinos still closed due to COVID-19, the association reported an 11 percent increase over 2020 in visits to its website, RGANM.org. Clicks from RGANM’s website to a treatment providers’ website went up 78 percent from 2020.
“We know that even when our casinos were closed, many people still find ways to gamble, particularly through online gaming sites, which can be very addictive,” said Shannon Dictson, the association’s vice president and the coordinator of the Mescalero Responsible Gaming Program, in a news release. “Our website and 24/7 helpline, staffed by counselors trained in problem-gambling treatment, continued to serve people, even when the casino properties were closed.”
March is also when the annual college basketball tournament is held. Research conducted by the American Gaming Association indicates that 47 million Americans expect to wager on the March Madness tournament.
“Gambling has become pervasive across the United States,” Dictson said. “In New Mexico, before the first Native casino opened in 1995, a collaboration of tribes formed the Responsible Gaming Association of New Mexico, knowing that resources would be needed. During March, and across the entire year, we want people to know that many resources, including free treatment, are available for the gambler and their family. We also have announced our series of 2022 webinars for treatment providers, which helps educate them on the latest research and options to help problem gamblers.”
More information is available by visiting RGANM.org or calling the RGANM Helpline at 888-696-2440.