MGC Recognizes March 2024 as Problem Gambling Awareness Month

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) is proud to recognize March 2024 as Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM). The national outreach campaign was established more than 20 years ago by the National Council on Problem Gambling and was designed to educate the public on problem gambling and the resources available to address it.

The theme of this year’s PGAM is “Every Story Matters,” a reminder of the significance of every narrative surrounding problem gambling.

“Together, let’s amplify awareness, break down stigmas and emphasize that when it comes to problem gambling, Every Story Matters,” wrote the National Council on Problem Gambling on its website.

PGAM aims to generate awareness about the risks of gambling and urges action toward hope and recovery for those in need.

One way to generate awareness is through the creation of research that highlights the course and impact of problem gambling. The MGC has established the nation’s most comprehensive gambling research agenda and strives to mobilize it to reduce gambling harm. In the past decade, the MGC has released more than 75 research reports on topics ranging from the epidemiology of problem gambling and health, social and economic impacts across Massachusetts, and reducing harm through safer gambling strategies, practices and policies have been released by the MGC.

“Findings from the Commission’s research agenda have been instrumental in the development and deployment of effective responsible gaming resources,” said Mark Vander Linden, the MGC Director of Research and Responsible Gaming. “Our research efforts have allowed us to mobilize data to advance a variety of responsible gaming tools and strategies as we aim to further implement policies and practices focused on prevention and mitigation of problem gambling.”

In August 2023, the Commission published a report by Dr. Richard Wood, Dr. Michael Wohl, and Dr. Nassim Tabri called Positive Play: Measuring Responsible Gaming in Massachusetts 2022, which identified the extent of positive play among Massachusetts players, defined specific areas where positive play could be further supported, and identified the extent of positive play among different player segments. This information has proven crucial in the development of tailored information and resources for every gambler type.

>>MORE: The MGC research agenda can be accessed here.

This March also marks the one-year anniversary of mobile sports wagering in the Commonwealth. With it came a broadening of focus for the Commission’s research agenda and associated policy, strategy and practice supports. In anticipation of last year’s sports wagering launch in Massachusetts, the MGC announced the creation of a Voluntary Self-Exclusion (VSE) specifically for sports wagering in an effort to aid patrons in controlling their gambling.

As always, the Commission is proud to continue partnering with the Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health to operate the GameSense program. GameSense is the MGC’s statewide responsible gaming program and helps further our goal to reduce gambling harms. GameSense Advisors are available 24/7 at each Massachusetts casino, online or over the phone. Advisors are available to educate gaming patrons and employees on tips to keep play safe, support player health, enroll in the Voluntary Self-Exclusion program, and access community-based support resources.

“The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is proud to again recognize and promote Problem Gambling Awareness Month in the Commonwealth,” said MGC Chair Cathy Judd-Stein. “Advancing safe play and reducing the risks of problem gambling are paramount to the mission of the MGC, while our work to further programs and develop new initiatives centered on risk mitigation is truly a Commission-wide effort that includes everyone.”

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