Problem Gambling Awareness Month

Problem Gambling Awareness Month starts today, nationwide.

And Maryland Lottery and Gaming is just one organization doing their part.

47 ABC spoke with Carole Gentry, the director of communications.

Gentry said the state's casinos pay annual assessment fees, which are set aside for "responsible gambling programs".

She said last year, the state collected $3.8 million in fees.

“I mean for most people gambling, play at casinos, playing the lottery it's a form of entertainment. But there is a small percentage of people who have a problem with gambling and this is a great way to raise awareness about that,” Gentry said.

47 ABC also spoke with Loreen Rugle, the program director at Maryland's Center of Excellence on Program Gambling.

Rugle said that stereotypes about gambling addictions often involve greed.

She adds that this month, the aim is to erase those stereotypes while providing help and resources for those with gambling addictions.

It's your neighbors, your friends, your family. And most people feel so shameful to talk about it. They let it progress until they hit absolute bottom before they reach out and let anybody know,” Rugle said.

Both Gentry and Rugle stress that if you, or someone you know, might be struggling with a gambling problem there is a toll free number to call.

1-800-GAMBLER provides confidential, free assistance to connect with local counselors and treatment providers.

Categories: Local News, Maryland