Maine Launches Virtual Self-Exclusion Program for Problem Gambling Awareness Month
Maine's Gambling Control Board launches a virtual self-exclusion program to help individuals exclude themselves from casino gambling.
March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness about the risks and consequences of problem gambling and to promote responsible gambling practices. To mark the occasion, Maine's Gambling Control Board has launched a new virtual self-exclusion program that allows individuals to voluntarily exclude themselves from participating in casino gambling within the state.
The new program is a significant step forward in providing a more accessible and convenient way for people in Maine to register for self-exclusion. Previously, individuals had to go to a casino or designated location in the community to fill out the necessary paperwork. But now, they can do it from the comfort of their homes.
Self-exclusion is an effective way for individuals who suffer from gambling problems to avoid the temptation of casino gambling. It allows them to take control of their addiction by prohibiting them from entering any of the state's casinos for a period of one year, three years, five years, or for a lifetime.
Steven Silver, Chair of Maine's Gambling Control Board, acknowledges the harm that problem gambling can cause to individuals and their families. He said, "Gambling can be a fun and entertaining experience for many people. But we know that it can also be harmful to some people. We wanted to make sure we have the proper resources and services in place to help our fellow Mainers."
According to a recent study, 79% of Mainers gambled in the past year, and 2% spent money at a casino weekly or more often. The National Council on Problem Gambling estimates that 1% of U.S. adults meet the criteria for severe gambling problems, while 2% to 3% experience mild or moderate gambling problems.
Lori Manson, Problem Gambling Services Coordinator with AdCare Educational Institute in Augusta, stresses that only a small percentage of people who experience gambling problems will seek help. She emphasizes the need to raise awareness about the addictive nature of gambling and the resources available for those seeking help.
Manson points out that gambling disorder is like substance use disorder in the way it affects the brain and body. She says, "When I talk to people with gambling problems, they are relieved that I am not going to judge them and that I am going to help connect them to resources that can help them rebuild their lives."
The new virtual self-exclusion program is a welcome development in the effort to promote responsible gambling practices and reduce the harm caused by problem gambling. By making self-exclusion more accessible and convenient, the Maine Gambling Control Board is taking a positive step towards addressing the issue of problem gambling in the state.