March Madness & Problem Gambling [Infographic]

For many people, March Madness is a time to enjoy friendly bets with family, friends, and coworkers. However, for some it can be a catalyst for problem gambling behavior, which can have a significant impact on school, work, and relationships.

If a person currently struggles with gambling addiction or is at risk for the condition, the annual NCAA tournament can create a path toward continued or deepening gambling problems.

Problem gambling isn’t a money issue. It’s a diagnosable and treatable condition in which a person is no longer able to make reasonable choices about betting. Like other addictions, it’s been linked to changes in the brain that affect decision-making abilities.

Signs of Problem Gambling
  • You find yourself lying or acting evasively about money.
  • You neglect responsibilities, like work or school, for gambling.
  • You have mood swings that depend on whether you’re winning or losing.
  • You have arguments with family or friends about money.
  • You’ve borrowed money to gamble or to pay for necessities because you lost money betting.
  • You’ve borrowed money without permission—even though you may intend to pay it back.
  • You’ve taken money out of dedicated accounts, like retirement funds or life insurance, to gamble.
  • You delay or avoid necessary purchases, like groceries or medicine, because you’d rather use your money to place bets.

This gambling infographic from the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Rochester Area shares facts and stats about sports betting and March Madness.


Problem Gambling Awareness Month 2017- Stats and Facts

March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month.

Gambling addiction is a serious condition with roots in the brain. Biologically, it has much in common with addictions to alcohol and other drugs. Anyone can struggle with it, no matter their gender, age, financial status, or ethnic background. As many as 6 million Americans live with the symptoms–and millions more are left to cope as they watch the condition destroy someone they love.

To learn how gambling addiction has an impact on so many lives, check out Real Stories of Recovery and Awareness from the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG).

The NCPG also shared this gambling infographic with statistics and other information about gambling in America.

Compass Mark helps individuals, families, educators, therapists, and other concerned professionals find the resources to deal with compulsive gambling. For prevention and education resources, treatment referrals, and intervention information in Lancaster County or Lebanon County, contact our team at 717-299-2831 or use our online Gambling Help form. Our guidance is confidential and judgment free.


March Madness Will Cost Employers $2.1 Billion in 2017 [Gambling in the News]

March Madness will generate an estimated $2.1 billion loss for employers in 2017. In addition, experts say that nearly 24 million American workers will spend company time researching and choosing their tournament brackets this year.

The projections, made by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray, and Christmas, are higher than workplace losses in previous years. In 2015, the same analysis predicted losses of about $1.9 billion for employers.

These productivity losses are huge, but the fact is that problem gambling can have a significant, lasting impact on workplaces. Problem gambling is a condition in which a person can no longer control their betting behavior. It affects an estimated 4-6 million Americans from all genders, ages, and ethnicities. This diagnosable condition is associated with a range of activities, including sports betting (like March Madness), casino games, horse racing, online games, mobile apps, and lotteries.

Some addicted gamblers wager every day; others go on periodic binges. Yet no matter what form gambling addiction takes, it has the same emotional, financial, and even physical impact. When a worker struggles with the condition, it can also expose employers to the risk of gambling-related fraud.

Signs of Problem Gambling in the Workplace

  • Increasing tardiness or absenteeism
  • Decline in productivity
  • Asking for pay advances or for pay in lieu of vacation/sick time
  • Losing track of time over lunch or other allotted breaks
  • Borrowing money from coworkers
  • Receiving personal credit card statements or bills at work
  • Declining personal appearance or grooming habits
  • Preoccupation with gambling

Learn more in Problem Gambling: 4 Facts for Lancaster, Lebanon Businesses and Is Your Business at Risk for Gambling-Related Fraud? 6 Gotta-Ask Questions.

Find additional resources for gambling prevention, education, and treatment referrals in Lancaster, PA and Lebanon, PA by contacting Compass Mark at 717-299-2831.



Average Problem Gambler’s Debt: $38,090 [Gambling in the News]

$38,090. That’s the average debt of a problem gambler, according to the Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling.

The organization fielded 13,081 calls to its helpline in 2016, many from people expressing desperation over their situation or that of a loved one. In a Post-Crescent article, Rose Blozinski, executive director of the Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling, recalled one case where a man called because his sister had run up $100,000 in gambling-related debt and had tried to commit suicide.

Excessive gambling is not a money problem.

Debt is a symptom of problem gambling. A person can engage in unhealthy betting behaviors regardless of their financial status. Compulsive gambling is actually rooted in the brain. Numerous studies have identified differences between problem gamblers’ brains and those of non-gamblers. For example, one recent study found that gambling addiction activates the same brain regions as those stimulated by drug addiction.

The solution to gambling addiction is not to pay off the gambler’s debts.

Helping a gambler pay down debts doesn’t solve the problem. Rather it can enable a gambler to continue the behavior. The path to recovery lies in a comprehensive treatment plan that includes a combination of therapies, such as:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps the gambler “rewire” his or her thought processes;
  • Self-help groups, which provide a safe place for a problem gambler to find support from those in the same situation;
  • Stress reduction activities, which can help decrease cravings to bet;
  • Lifestyle changes, such as eliminating time spent in unhealthy situations, like visiting a casino with friends;
  • Financial counseling, which can provide smart money and debt management techniques to get back on track.
Learn More about Treating Problem Gambling

If you’re in the Lancaster or Lebanon area, visit our list of treatment providers with expertise in gambling addiction. You can also get in touch with our Compass Mark team for referrals, intervention information, and prevention resources. Call us at 717-299-2831 or use our online Get Help form.


Problem Gambling Linked to Mental Health Disorders in U.S. Tribal Communities [Research]

American Indian (AI) and Alaskan Native (AN) community members with low- or at-risk gambling behaviors were more likely than non-gamblers to have had a psychiatric disorder, according to researchers studying the tribal communities.

The study, which was reviewed on The Worldwide Addiction Gambling Education Report (WAGER),  looked for connections between problem gambling and a range of other diagnosable conditions, including anxiety, mood disorders, substance abuse, and personality disorders.

In addition, it revealed “AI/AN adults had 20% increased odds of being a low-risk gambler versus a non-gambler, when compared to white/Caucasian adults,” according to WAGER. However, the tribal populations were not more likely to be at-risk gamblers than the white/Caucasian group.

These findings show yet another connection between problem gambling behavior and other conditions related to mental health. Over the years on our gambling blog, we’ve looked at this addiction’s connection to depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, substance abuse, and suicide.

WAGER also suggests the research underscores the idea that customized intervention strategies may be needed for some problem gamblers—in this case, tribal community members who may feel oppressed in their daily lives and historically traumatized.

Problem Gambling Help Resources for Professionals in Lancaster & Lebanon

If you’re a counselor or other healthcare professional in Lancaster, PA or Lebanon, PA who would like additional gambling addiction prevention, intervention, or treatment resources, contact Compass Mark at 717-299-2831.



Does Childhood Maltreatment Contribute to Problem Gambling? [Research]

People with gambling disorder reported significantly higher levels of childhood maltreatment, according to a recent study.

The researchers conducted personal interviews with participants, asking them about their history of emotional abuse, physical abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect. For example, the findings, which were reviewed on the Worldwide Addiction Gambling Education Report (WAGER), revealed:

  • 40% of problem gamblers reported emotional abuse, compared with 12% of non-problem gamblers.
  • 48% of problem gamblers reported verbal abuse, as opposed to 19% of non-problem gamblers.

As WAGER notes, the study shows a connection but doesn’t prove that childhood maltreatment causes gambling problems. Rather, it suggests that positive parenting may act as a protective factor against risky behaviors, like disordered gambling.

What are protective factors?

Protective factors are qualities or skills that help youth make healthier decisions about gambling and other risky activities. Protective factors include things like:

  • Family cohesion;
  • Consistent discipline;
  • School engagement;
  • Strong communication skills;
  • Good relationships with peers;
  • Good conflict resolution skills.

Compass Mark programs, including gambling awareness and education curriculum We Know BETter, work to build specific protective factors in Lancaster- and Lebanon-area youth. For example, We Know BETter utilizes age-appropriate activities to help children in grades 4-8 learn about the dangers of youth gambling as well as practice refusal and coping skills.

Contact us at 717-299-2831 to learn how this gambling education program will help build protective factors in your students so they can make healthier decisions about gambling.


New Survey to Examine Link Between Domestic Violence and Gambling

What’s the relationship between problem gambling and domestic violence? The Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey (CCGNJ) has launched a new survey to find out.

The nine-question online survey, which is open to New Jersey residents, asks respondents about gambling behavior as well as its impact on mood and abusive behavior. The nonprofit will use the results to better understand the connection between disordered gambling and intimate partner abuse and violence.

CCGNJ’s initiative will hopefully add to the growing body of research that continues to identify a link between problem gambling and an increased risk of abuse. For example:

  • A study of men ordered by courts to participate in domestic violence perpetrator intervention programs found 9% met the criteria for pathological gambling and 17% showed at least some problem gambling behaviors–both rates higher than that of the general population.
  • Research suggests up to 50% of compulsive gamblers’ spouses reported verbal abuse.
  • About 65% of problem gamblers in one study said they’d committed domestic violence or had been the victim of it in the previous year.
Find Help for Domestic Violence

Problem gambling is a diagnosable condition that creates a home environment rife with stress, anxiety, and fear. Yet, no one deserves physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional abuse. If you, your children, or your aging parents are being abused, you can’t afford to wait until your partner gets his or her gambling under control.

Reach out for help now. Contact:

Domestic Violence Services of Lancaster County at 717-299-9677

Domestic Violence Intervention of Lebanon County at 717-273-7190

National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233

Find Help for Gambling Addiction

While problem gambling can contribute to domestic violence, the reverse is also true. Some people use gambling as a way to escape a turbulent home environment. If you’ve turned to gambling to relieve the extreme stress of living in an abusive home, seek help.

Contact a counselor able to guide you through the next steps of your journey. He or she will assess your immediate and long-term needs, including domestic violence resources and a problem gambling treatment plan. For compassionate guidance to the right gambling help resources, contact Compass Mark at 717-299-2831 or fill out our Help Form.


Simulated Gambling May Be a Gamble for Kids [Research]

Kids who play simulated gambling games, like free poker or casino-style games, are more likely to gamble and report gambling problems later in life, according to a recent discussion paper from the Australian Gambling Research Centre (AGRC). It also cited evidence suggesting about 20% of adolescents playing simulated gambling will transition to gambling for real money.

In addition, the authors note that the players reported the primary reason they move from simulated to commercial gambling is to win money. It’s worth noting that 25% of the teens who reported gambling for real money said they’d switched to simulated games to avoid losing money.

The AGRC’s Dr. Anna Thomas said in a release:

“Young people are being introduced to gambling at a far younger age than in previous generations when to be able to gamble you had to gain entry to a venue, meet dress codes and produce identification.

“Today people are much more likely to have a realistic gambling-type experience at a young age and this may increase the extent to which gambling is seen as normal, acceptable, attractive and relatively harmless.”

Reasons Free or Practice Games are a Gamble for Kids & Teens
  • These games reinforce winning behavior with credits or prizes but don’t expose players to the consequences of losses (i.e. losing real money).
  • Studies suggest free-to-play and practice games offer higher “payouts” than gambling that involves real money.
  • Researchers have found that players who gamble on free simulated games bet “significantly” more than other players when they later wager with real money.
  • Simulated games may give players an inflated sense of skill level, providing a confidence boost that attracts them to real money games—even though gambling success is based on luck and not skill.
Learn more about gambling in children and adolescents.

Tips for Parents of Teen Online Gamblers
Fantasy Football: Priming Kids for Problem Gambling?
Is Your College Student at Risk for Problem Gambling? How to Start a Conversation

If you’re a parent or loved one worried about a youth’s simulated play or real-money gambling, take this risk assessment quiz. For additional information, contact our team for free, confidential guidance.

Are you an educator, youth group leader, or other concerned professional? Compass Mark offers We Know BETter, a free gambling education and awareness program designed for children in grades 4-8. Learn more by contacting us at (717) 299-2831


Do Gambling Ads Encourage Betting? [Research]

Advertising can be a powerful persuader. Ask anyone with a kid who’s seen a commercial for the latest “in” toy. But can advertisements play a role in gambling behavior? A 2015 study, recently reviewed on WAGER (Worldwide Addiction Gambling Education Report), suggests ads may have the potential to encourage betting in those who already have problem gambling behaviors.

Study participants, all sports bettors in Australia, were divided into groups based on a screening test: non-problem gamblers, low-risk gamblers, moderate-risk gamblers, and problem gamblers. Each person was exposed to a variety of sports gambling-related advertisements and promotions, such as:

  • Stadium signage promoting gambling;
  • Celebrity endorsements of gambling;
  • Gambling commercials;
  • Gambling logos on sports players’ uniforms;
  • On-screen displays of gambling logos and websites.

The researchers then asked participants to rate on a scale (ranging from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree) how much each of the ads encouraged him or her to bet on the sports where gambling is promoted.

Problem gamblers reported that 9 out of the 11 promotions they viewed encouraged them to gamble.  What’s more, that group’s agreement scores were on average significantly higher than the other groups. It’s important to note the study didn’t measure actual gambling behavior; rather it examined how the gamblers perceived the ads’ effects.

Compulsive Gambling Research

To learn more statistics about gambling behavior and addiction, check out these research-focused articles:

Risky Behaviors Like Gambling, Sex Are Risky Business for Teens
Depression Rates High Among Problem Gamblers
Problem Gambling Linked to Personality Disorders
Is the Path to Gambling Addiction Faster for Men or Women?
Some Online Gamblers More Likely to Chase Losses Than Others

Compass Mark shares problem gambling education, prevention, and treatment resources with health care professionals, educators, and other concerned individuals in Lancaster and Lebanon. Contact our team at 717-299-2831.


Risky Behaviors Like Gambling, Sex Are Risky Business for Teens [Research]

Gambling and sex are both risky business for teenagers. So perhaps it’s no surprise to find that teens who engage in one of these behaviors may be more likely to engage in the other. For example, young adult men with problem gambling were three times more likely to have fathered a child by age 20, according to a study recently examined by the Worldwide Addiction Gambling Education Report (WAGER).

The study, which used data from a Johns Hopkins project, examined the behavior of urban elementary school students and followed them through age 22.  Study researchers found social gamblers were about twice as likely to have fathered a child by age 20, while problem gamblers were three times more likely to have done so.

In addition, the researchers found that 19% of the sample could be classified as problem gamblers—a rate far higher than the 3-4% of Americans estimated to struggle with some form of problem gambling.

This isn’t the first study to make a connection between teen sexual activity and gambling. A Johns Hopkins study previously discovered that adolescents who gambled were more likely to have engaged in intercourse by age 18.

Help Kids in Lancaster & Lebanon Make Healthier Decisions

Compass Mark is dedicated to transforming lives and strengthening communities in Lancaster, PA and Lebanon, PA by teaching kids the life skills they need to make smarter, healthier decisions. Here are two of the youth programs our team offers:

We Know BETter: This awareness program educates students in grades 4-8 about the potential dangers of gambling. The curriculum incorporates age-appropriate activities so children have the opportunity to practice refusal skills and improve coping strategies.

Future Generations: This afterschool and summer program focuses on helping youth harness their creativity and energy in a safe, healthy environment. Future Generations’ kids work on skills that include goal setting, problem solving, conflict resolution, and communication.

Learn more about our programs to guide kids away from risky behaviors (including underage gambling) and into lives full of promise. Contact Compass Mark at 717-299-2831.