Michigan Efforts During Problem Gambling Awareness Month

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March is recognized as Problem Gambling Awareness Month. With this, many organizations are taking this opportunity to provide valuable resources to their communities to raise awareness on the subject.

The Michigan Department of Health hosted its annual Gambling Disorder Symposium on March 16, 2024, in Novi, Michigan. The symposium presented workshops, training, recovery resources, and keynote speakers, all focusing on gambling disorders. The event also encouraged professionals in the casino gambling industry to attend to learn how to mitigate the risks of gambling addictions. They were provided with preventative resources to help reroute individuals headed down a potentially dangerous path.

Michigan remains one of the largest casino and gambling industries in the United States, featuring 14 online casinos. With the constant development in the gambling industry, the concerns of how it can be affecting the State’s residents are a major concern. With easy access to online betting, students are at a high risk of developing a problem gambling disorder. To make matters worse, colleges and high schools across the state have little to no education on gambling addictions.

Sarah Clark, M.P.H. from C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at the Univeristy of Michigan, spoke on the subject after conducting a poll on children’s health. “Teens and young adults may have a difficult time going into a casino unnoticed but they have easy access to a variety of betting and gambling options…This expanded accessibility has increased exposure to the risks of underage betting, but there is little regulation or conversation around this problem.” Most of the parents surveyed stated they have concerns about the dangers of underage gambling, yet only 1/4 of parents have spoken to their children about online betting.

While there is still room for improvement, many online Michigan casinos do have some safeguards in place to lower the chance of irresponsible gambling like deposit limits and timeouts. Players can also choose to “self-exclude” themselves from certain online casinos to limit access to the sites. At some in-person locations, casinos are even rewarding players with gifts for using some of these safe gambling tools.

FanDuel, one of Michigan’s leading online casinos recently launched a collaboration with Kindbridge Behavioral Health to assist those dealing with problem gambling and promote responsible playing. Kindbridge Behavioral Health provides aid to those experiencing problem gambling and problem gaming, as well as other mental health issues.

Kindbridge will offer services including telehealth counseling appointments and support peer groups. Players who choose to self-exclude themselves from the FanDuel site will be offered complimentary mental health screenings and directions on how to get help. The pilot program is already active in New Jersey and Ohio, with plans to expand to the Wolverine State soon.

This partnership will be extremely beneficial to Michigan players and hopefully set the precedent for other online casinos. “This collaboration is deeply resonant, extending a compassionate hand to those navigating the complex terrain of problem gambling. At the heart of our ethos lies a fervent belief in the power of accessible mental health resources to illuminate paths toward healing and recovery,” says CEO of Kindbridge Behavioral Health, Daniel Umfleet.

There are numerous resources available to those dealing with gambling problems, including the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-270-7117 and the Responsible Gambling hotline at 1-888-223-3044. Additionally, there are many programs devoted to helping those who struggling to begin their recovery journey, including S.M.A.R.T Recovery (Self Management and Recovery Training), National Council on Problem Gambling, and Gamblers Anonymous.

Mac Daniel is a writer for PlayOnlineCasino and PlayOnlineSportsBetting. He has experience writing about a wide variety of topics, including healthcare, tourism, non-profit organizations, and most recently casino and sportsbetting news. To check out more of his work, visit: playonlinemichigan.com