According to the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), 13 percent, or 294,000 adult Iowans, experienced a problem related to their gambling in the past year. Governor Reynolds will sign a proclamation Wednesday, March 7, designating March as Problem Gambling Awareness month in Iowa.
“Problem gamblers come from many backgrounds. They can be rich or poor, young or old, male or female. Problem gambling can affect people of every race, every religion, and every education and income level,” said Eric Preuss, IDPH Gambling Treatment program manager. “The one constant is that problem gambling is a treatable and does not have to ruin your life.”
Symptoms of problem gambling include:
- Thinking a lot about gambling, such as past gambling experiences, future gambling ventures, or ways of getting money for gambling
- Needing to gamble with larger amounts of money or with larger bets in order to get the same feeling of excitement
- Repeatedly trying to cut down or stop gambling without success
- Feeling restless or irritable when trying to cut down or stop gambling
- Gambling to run away from problems or to get relief from feeling depressed, anxious, or bad about yourself
- After losing money gambling, often returning another day in order to win back losses
- Lying to family members, friends or others in order to hide gambling activities from them
- Losing or almost losing a significant relationship, job, or an educational or career opportunity because of gambling
- Relying on others to provide money to relieve a desperate financial situation caused by gambling
The Iowa Gambling Treatment program works to reduce the harm caused by problem gambling by funding a range of services for Iowans. These services include outpatient counseling for problem gamblers, concerned persons and family; recovery support services; financial counseling, including budgeting and debt reduction plans; and statewide information and referral services through 1-800-BETS OFF and https://yourlifeiowa.org/gambling/. In addition, the program funds targeted prevention and education services for schools, community groups, casino employees and other groups.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, go to https://yourlifeiowa.org/gambling/, to learn about services available by phone, in person, and through secure chat or video.