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March marks Problem Gambling Month, with March Madness nearly here

LACG encourages individuals to call (877) 587-5224 when they feel ready and comfortable to...
LACG encourages individuals to call (877) 587-5224 when they feel ready and comfortable to start treatment.(WAFB)
Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 6:09 AM CST
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SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY, La. (KSLA) - March Madness returns in mere days and with online sports betting now legal in Louisiana - it’s now easier than ever to wager big bucks.

To bring light to the potential dangers and adverse effects of gambling addiction, March marks Problem Gambling Awareness Month.

Janet Miller is the executive director of the Louisiana Association on Compulsive Gambling (LACG), a Bossier City nonprofit that’s worked with individuals who are working through gambling addictions. “Neither advocate or oppose gambling, but promote education, prevention and treatment for those in need of our service,” according to its website.

“It’s not visible to the naked eye, you cannot see someone who has a gambling addiction,” Miller explained. “They usually go to work, they are productive in their family, in their community - they are able to continue to take care of things and be responsible sometimes.”

The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) said there are ‘red flags’ family and friends can look for if a loved one is believed to be struggling with gambling:

  • The individual is secretive about gambling
  • They are spending more time gambling than intended
  • Gambling when they don’t have the money
  • Withdrawing from family and friends, because of gambling

“Before you start realizing it, it gets out of control,” Miller said. “There is a sense of a fantasy and that magical thinking with gambling that we’ll get rich or this will be the next hit.”

LACG encourages individuals to call (877) 587-5224 when they feel ready and comfortable to start treatment. There are also gambling addiction helplines that can be reached in times of need:

  • Louisiana Problem Gamblers Helpline
    • (877) 770-7867
  • Louisiana Substance Abuse Helpline
    • (877) 664-2248
  • Northwest Louisiana Suicide Prevention Helpline
    • (877) 994-2275

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