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How to spot signs of gambling addiction

Online gambling and sports betting is growing in popularity.
Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 4:42 PM EST
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - It’s not just slot machines and table games anymore.

“Gambling has now been legalized in the State of Michigan to be accessible online and sports betting,” Alia Lucas, gambling disorder treatment and prevention program specialist with The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said.

Meaning you can gamble anywhere at your fingertips.

“One of the biggest obstacles that we’re facing right now in regard to gambling disorder treatment is the fact that many people don’t view it as an addiction – they look at it as impulse.”

However, Lucas said gambling can be very much be an addiction – and there are warning signs.

“If they’re lying about the time they’re spending gambling, if they find themselves using money that’s allocated for other purposes to gamble, if you find yourself saying that you have to get back to gambling because you’re now chasing loses.”

Now, The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is bringing more awareness through increased media campaigns, state-wide trainings, increasing access for treatment, and educating parents with what gambling disorder looks like in children.

“We’re also being careful and bringing attention to the correlation – especially for youth – with gaming and gambling,” she said.

And roughly 66 percent of people who are impacted by substance abuse also gamble.

Lucas said a gambling addiction can even be deadly.

“Of all addictions, suicide related death is most prevalent in gambling disorder.”

If you or someone you know is in need of help for gambling disorder, you can call the toll-free, 27/4 helpline at 1-800-270-7117.

March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month and The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will be holding free, online workshops, open to all on March 4 through March 5.

If you’re interested in learning more about these workshops, visit the Community Mental Health Association of Michigan website here.

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