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Fiona Simmons March 3, 2023 2 min read
Kansas Governor Hails Importance of Problem Gambling Awareness Month
More states are joining in behind the rallying cry of Problem Gambling Awareness Month, a historied initiative that seeks to better Americans’ grasp of the dangers of gambling
Kansas’s governor, Laura Kelly, has become the latest high state officially to pronounce March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month, seeking to advance understanding of the issue locally. The state currently has legal gambling on the sovereign land of native tribes, but all signs point to an expansion.
Kansas Doubles Down on Helping Vulnerable Groups
Kelly is aligned with the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services in her view of the month and its importance. According to the department, the initiative seeks to help raise awareness of “the prevention, treatment, and recovery services” that are available to tackle the issue. The stronger official support for the initiative is similarly important as Kansas may be planning to expand its historical horse racing facilities in Wichita with three new applicants submitting their bids to the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission.
Meanwhile, the Department and the Kansas Coalition on Problem Gambling has hailed the importance of the 20-year-old campaign which has become increasingly relevant now that the majority of American adults have access to some form of regulated gambling product. The campaign is also when the toll of gambling is taken into consideration.
According to the department, some two million American adults, or 1%, meet are categorized as pathological gamblers – with their disorders taking on severe forms. Another four to six million people may actually be considered as mild or moderate gamblers. The department said:
Problem gambling affects thousands of Kansans of all ages, races and ethnic backgrounds and can have a significant societal and economic cost for individuals, families, businesses, and communities.
For Some Self-Exclusion Can Be an Effective First Step
Department problem gambling program manager Carol Spiker said that while the numbers are worrying, they are not the end of the road. Problem gambling is actually treatable, Spiker assured, and said that in order for treatment to have a stronger and more powerful effect, campaigns such as Problem Gambling Awareness Month should be promoted so that problem gambling may be destigmatized in the first place.
The department has also pointed to successful attempts to help local people in Kansas through the introduction of time-tested tools, such as the self-exclusion program rolled out in the state. While self-exclusion is not a surefire way to start weening off vulnerable gamblers from the activity, having it handy has proven a successful measure for many.