March 7, 2008
Archived. This is an older press release from 2008 and may not contain the latest information. Please view our current press releases for 2021 items.
SACRAMENTO -- Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proclaims March 9-15, 2008 as Gambling
Awareness Week in California. The Department of Alcohol and Drug
Programs unveils "Freedom from Problem Gambling" self-help workbook.
"It is important to acknowledge the severe impacts of problem gambling," said
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in proclaiming March 9-15 as "California
Problem Gambling Awareness Week". "Problem gambling affects people from all
segments of society and can negatively influence the gambler's family, friends,
employer and community."
"Problem gambling is a chronic condition and we are committed to the development
of statewide programs to assist in the prevention and reduction of problem
gambling," said Renée Zito, Director of the California Department of Alcohol and
The Freedom from Problem Gambling self-help workbook, the first of its kind for
problem gamblers, was developed by Drs. Timothy Fong and Richard Rosenthal
of the UCLA Gambling Studies Program. The free workbook, not intended to replace
treatment, was designed to help gamblers assess whether they have a
gambling problem, understand their gambling behavior and why they gamble.
"The Freedom from Problem Gambling self-help workbook is a self-paced assistance
tool to help people focus on the different aspects of their gambling,"
said Steve Hedrick, Deputy Director of California Department of Alcohol and Drug
Program's Office of Problem Gambling (OPG). "It offers strategies to help
people stop or reduce gambling if the behavior becomes a problem."
The workbook is made available to counselors, those who call into the toll-free help
lines, and self-excluded gamblers -- those who specifically ask a
gambling establishment to exclude them from doing so. The workbook can be found
online at: http://www.problemgambling.ca.gov.
Several state agencies have joined together to promote problem gambling awareness
week, including the California Horse Racing Board, California Gambling
Control Commission, Department of Justice's Division of Gambling Control,
Department of Mental Health, California State Lottery, California Council on
Problem Gambling and OPG. The agencies will offer information, assistance, and
referrals to services to increase public awareness about problem gambling
behaviors. Beginning in March, a Public Service Announcement produced by the
California State Lottery, will air to further promote problem gambling
According to the California Council on Problem Gambling, a non-profit organization
dedicated to helping problem gamblers, 4,718 Californians with gambling
problems called the organization's gambling help line in 2006, a 22 percent
increase from 2005. Callers were nearly evenly split between male (51.3
percent) and female (48.7 percent), and the majority of callers were between 26 to
55 years of age. Individuals most frequently reported stress,
depression, anxiety, credit problems and alienation from family as negative effects
The nation's most comprehensive prevalence study of problem gambling, released by
OPG in 2006, found between 746,500 and 1,203,400 California adults are
considered pathological or problem gamblers. In addition, 2.2 to 2.7 million
California adults are at-risk for developing gambling-related problems.
OPG is mandated by the Legislature to develop programs designed to reduce the
prevalence of problem and pathological gambling among California residents.
Problem gambling prevention programs include toll-free helpline services, public
awareness campaigns, training and research.
For help with problem gambling call 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537). Individuals may
also log on to http://www.problemgambling.ca.gov/OPGhelp_survey.shtml
to take a free interactive quiz to determine if they might have a gambling problem.
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