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A new Quick Response code for smartphone and tablet users needing help with problem gambling has been developed by a coalition of professionals from the gaming and behavioral health industries. The QR code helps users download an app linking them to a new website – www.kygamblinghelp.org.
A rollout of posters and rack cards displaying the message “Help Is Here” and the QR code will take place Aug. 7 at Turfway Park at 9:30 a.m. The rollout is part of the 2013 Responsible Gaming Education Week organized by chair Kim Day. The RGEW week runs from Aug. 5-9.
The new website and linking app were developed when a noticeable drop off of phone calls to helplines occurred despite evidence that gambling is a growing problem. “There is a national trend, also reflected in Kentucky, of fewer calls being received at problem gambling telephone helplines,” Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling Executive Director Michael R. Stone said.
“This is contrary to research surveys showing the continuing number of problem and addicted gamblers in Kentucky and across the nation,” he said.
Stone cited results from a KYCPG-commissioned survey conducted by the University of Kentucky Survey Research Center which “identified 9,000 addicted gamblers, 50,000 problem gamblers, and another 190,000 at risk of developing a gambling problem or addiction.”
“The 2013 RGEW Coalition saw the decline in the helpline usage and noted more individuals are relying on mobile telephones exclusively,” Stone said. “The Coalition members on the planning committee felt an alternate way to reach gamblers possibly in need of help was worth a try. The website and mobile app provides a continuous, confidential and very personal way for someone who thinks there may be a gambling problem – either personally or with a friend or family member – to get more information on this addictive behavior.”
The posters and rack cards will be on display across Kentucky at Kentucky Lottery retail sales locations, charitable gaming bingo halls, horse race tracks, mental health and behavioral health centers, and other public venues. Copies of the poster and rack card may be obtained from KYCPG by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 502-223-1823.
The RGEW Coalition is comprised of representatives of Kentucky’s legal gaming industry, the Kentucky Lottery, the Department of Charitable Gaming, and Kentucky’s horse race tracks; as well as out-of-state casinos along the Ohio River; the Kentucky Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities; the state’s certified gambler counselors; and KYCPG.
Andrew Matheis, Horseshoe Casino Southern Indiana, led the development of the website, and Shery Pinson, Turfway Park, designed the poster and rack card. Others participating on the RGEW Coalition Planning Committee are Kate Hackett, DBHDID; Sara Westerman, Kentucky Lottery Corp.; Karen King, Roberts Communication; and Scott Hunt, Ph.D., Eastern Kentucky University.
A simple self-test can determine whether there is a likelihood someone may have a gambling problem. Answering “yes” to either of these two questions indicates possible problem gambling behavior. It is recommended those answering “yes” to either question seek a consultation with a certified gambler counselor. The questions are:
• Have you ever felt the need to bet more and more money?
• Have you ever had to lie to people important to you about how much you gambled?
Assistance can be obtained by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537), or by clicking here.