Maryland Lottery and Gaming Supports Problem Gambling Awareness Month
Agency participates in National Council on Problem Gambling initiative
(BALTIMORE ) — As Maryland Lottery and Gaming continues its deepening commitment to responsible gambling programs, the agency is proud to support a national effort to raise awareness of problem gambling.
Maryland Lottery and Gaming is again participating in the National Council on Problem Gambling’s annual effort to promote March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month.
“Reinforcing the message of responsible play is a fundamental principle for us, not only this month, but throughout the year,” said Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director Gordon Medenica. “We are diligently working to advance our responsible gambling programs.”
Maryland Lottery and Gaming has pursued two certifications that require the agency to continually evaluate and enhance its responsible gambling initiatives. Both certifications emphasize the agency’s commitment to social responsibility.
In January, Maryland was one of four states recognized in a best practices verification program jointly sponsored by the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL) and the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG). Participating in this program enables the Lottery to receive regular assessments and reviews of its responsible gambling efforts.
The Maryland Lottery is also continuing to pursue advanced recognition from the World Lottery Association (WLA), a global organization that has four levels of responsible gambling certification. The Lottery became one of the WLA’s nearly 150 members in 2015 and has achieved Level 2 status. Agency staff are currently developing employee and retailer education programs that will form the backbone of an application for the WLA’s Level 3 designation. The WLA’s Responsible Gaming Principles and Framework require lotteries to meet numerous criteria in the areas of employee, retailer and player education, marketing, research, treatment referral and stakeholder engagement.
When the state’s first casino opened in 2010, Maryland Lottery and Gaming formed the Maryland Alliance for Responsible Gambling (MARG) in partnership with the Maryland Center of Excellence on Problem Gambling and gaming stakeholders. MARG provides a framework for collaboration and communication between the gaming and problem gambling treatment communities. More information is available at MARG’s website, mdgamblinghelp.org.
Maryland’s casino operators pay annual assessments of $425 per slot machine and $500 per table game that are earmarked for responsible gambling programs. In Fiscal Year 2016, those assessments totaled more than $3.8 million. With the opening of MGM National Harbor on December 8, 2016, the annual assessments will increase by approximately $1.45 million.
“The funding mechanism makes us a leader in this area,” Medenica said. “We want people to know that help is available for Marylanders affected by problem gambling.”
The assessment funds go to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which uses them to operate the Center of Excellence, including the toll-free 1-800-GAMBLER helpline. Staffed around the clock, 1-800-GAMBLER provides confidential, free assistance to connect with local counseling and treatment providers. The Center of Excellence also provides help via online chat and additional resources at helpmygamblingproblem.org.