In a personal crisis, probably the last thing someone dialing 1-800-GAMBLER is considering is the hotline’s issues.
Yesterday, the people behind the crisis hotline took a significant step to ensure problem gamblers continue to have access to resources. They say they must, because legal online casino gambling is scaling up in the US. To that end, the people behind the hotline – the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, Inc. (CCGNJ) – partnered with the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG).
Problem gamblers dialing the hotline likely won’t notice the transition. However, what will be happening behind the ringing phone is NCPG will aid CCGNJ in states outside of New Jersey, in US territories and in the District of Columbia.
As is, problem gamblers outside of New Jersey are receiving help via 1-800-GAMBLER. However, call volume is growing. So resources must, as well.
Last month, the Associated Press tallied Americans bet $125 billion on sports since May 2018. That’s when the US Supreme Court repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) and states began legalizing sports betting.
CCGNJ Board President Fred W. Hogan says of partnering with the DC-based nonprofit:
Our goal is simple: to continue to make sure 1-800-GAMBLER provides aid to anyone who needs it as quickly and efficiently as possible. We look forward to sharing our strength and experience.
How NCPG Will Enhance 1-800-GAMBLER
CCGNJ’s partnership with NCPG is a six-year license agreement that will allow NCPG to build on its “multi-year National Problem Gambling Helpline Modernization Project. The project, supported by a grant received from the National Football League Foundation (NFLF) in 2021, will improve call center technology, data collection, and reporting, as well as upgrade criteria and offer standardized training and certification for call centers across the National Problem Gambling Helpline Network.”
Speaking of the NFLF, NCPG created a new role to help it oversee the $6.2 million, three-year grant. In April, Jaime Costello became NCPG’s program director.
Costello told Bonus.com predecessor Online Poker Report in April:
The greatest need for those struggling is access to care. The next step is ensuring that those who are ready for help know where to access those services, and that once they reach out, help is available.
Americans can also expect to see a problem gambling awareness public service announcement campaign on TV soon.
Meanwhile, NCPG adds:
The current National Problem Gambling Helpline Network number (1-800-522-4700) and 1-800-GAMBLER® will continue to operate uninterrupted, as will the current routing of helpline calls. In the coming months, NCPG will work closely with CCGNJ, state affiliates, and helpline call centers to ensure a smooth transition and prevent any gaps in services as adjustments are made in the National Helpline Number and Network.
In other words, today’s announcement is about making sure problem gamblers who dial 1-800-GAMBLER only have to think about getting help for themselves.