With more and more states legalizing gambling, the issues that follow this trend are also on the rise. In the latest attempt to minimize gambling addiction problems, the 1-800-GAMBLER number has been deployed across the country, so it can be available to all US citizens.
At the moment, the 1-800-GAMBLER trademark is owned by CCGNJ (Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey). So far, New Jersey gamblers received information about the hotline along with all gambling advertisements in the state. However, CCGNJ has reached an agreement with National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) that will make this service available to everyone in the United States.
DC-based NCPG is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to make gambling addiction help more available for everyone. Having this toll-free and easy-to-remember resource will certainly be a big step in that direction. Initially, the CCGNJ will grant a six-year license to NCPG that will allow them to use the 1-800-GAMBLER.
According to the agreement, NCPG will be able to share the number with the organizations battling gambling addiction nationwide. Now, when a caller from a state other than New Jersey calls the hotline, his call is going to be rerouted to the nearest gambling resource center approved by the state. For Indiana residents, the calls will lead to Indiana Problem Gambling Referral Line.
Until now, this organization used the 1-800-994-8448 hotline, so the new number will hopefully make helpful resources much more accessible. CCGNJ already has similar agreements in place with organizations in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Of course, the addiction hotline will also resume its operation in New Jersey, too.
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The licensing of the New Jersey helpline is only a part of the efforts NCPG is involved with within the National Problem Gambling Helpline Modernization Project. The goal of the project is to make all the available help resources as accessible as possible to all of those affected by gambling issues. States with legalized gambling require all the gaming advertisements to have notification of such resources, but that’s not always so effective. A paragraph of fine print is not nearly as noticeable as NCPG hopes the simple 1-800-GAMBLER signage will be.
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The professional sports leagues are also joining in the effort. The NFL, which embraced legalized gambling as the Supreme Court decision in 2018 is leading the way here. The decision stated that betting legalization will be decided on a state level and, so far, more than 30 states have introduced legal sports wagering. Sports betting advertisements now occupy a large portion of commercial breaks during games. The NFL has used sports betting to significantly increase its revenue and some of those funds are being redirected to help decrease the harm of more extensive gambling.
So far, the NFL has contributed $6.2 million to help them develop and coordinate gambling toll-free numbers. The current project involving the licensing of 1-800-Gambler is funded by the NFL money. In addition to efforts to unite toll-free helplines, NFL is also funding the improvement of the network’s infrastructure and technology.