March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month, Timed To NCAA Basketball Tourney

By | March 1, 2021

The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) designates March as its Problem Gambling Awareness Month. But unlike other annual observances, such as February’s Black History Month, which pays homage to people and events in the history of the African diaspora, March is no celebration. Instead, it is a warning to those who are at-risk of developing gambling addictions.

problem gambling awareness NCPG
A billboard from Hollywood Casino St. Louis encourages responsible gambling. March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month. (Image: Hollywood Casino St. Louis)

The NCPG chose March for its Problem Awareness Month because it includes the ever-popular NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament — better known as “March Madness.” The tournament results in an abundance of nail-biting moments and buzzer-beater heroics, but also plenty of nerve-racking moments for the tens of millions of Americans who bet on the tournament.

The NCPG says March Madness is primed to lure in new bettors, and potentially deliver harm.

March Madness is a time of year when we see an increase in gambling and more demand for our services,” said Keith Whyte, NCPG executive director. “Too many people still don’t recognize they are exhibiting signs of this addictive behavior and are unaware of the help that is available to them.”

Founded in 1972, the NCPG is neither for nor against legalized gambling. The council’s mission is to make sure programs and treatment services are available to problem gamblers and addicts. The nonprofit operates the National Problem Gambling Helpline Network (1-800-522-4700).

Pandemic Problems

COVID-19 kept Americans at home throughout much of 2020. Remote work and stay-at-home orders led to many searching for some form of entertainment on the internet. Online casinos saw a fury of increased play, and flourished during the pandemic.

In the 2020 fiscal year, online gross gaming revenue (GGR) in Pennsylvania surged to $565.7 million. In New Jersey, iGaming operators said 2020 revenue more than doubled to $970.3 million.

Online slot machines and table games were only legal in four states during 2020 — New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Michigan joined them this year.

Unfortunately for the unknown number of Americans who gambled on an unregulated, offshore casino site last year, problem gambling protections and resources are much less available.

Legal gambling markets, unlike offshore sites, are highly regulated and must adhere to numerous player protection statutes. Examples include offering customer’s gambling limits, encouraging responsible play, and self-exclusion lists.

Casino.org Helps

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Casino.org issued a message to site readers encouraging them to play responsibly.

For those who now find themselves at home, alone, bored, and online, you might be looking for ways to keep yourself busy and entertained. Casino.org always promotes responsible gambling, no matter what, but especially in our current situation,” said Casino.org’s David Sheldon.

Casino.org offers recommendations for a slew of free online casino games where real money is not staked. The world’s leading online gaming authority additionally reviews and rates iGaming sites to promote safe, secure, and fair play.

The post March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month, Timed To NCAA Basketball Tourney appeared first on Casino.org.

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