After an unprecedented shut-down due to COVID-19, the casinos are re-opening. How this will impact people who are at-risk for problem gambling and gambling disorder remains to be seen. We’ve heard that, in many cases, people who like to gamble in the casino have not switched to other forms of gambling during the shut-down.
As people make their way back into the casino, we’d like to remind them to keep it fun and to stop if it causes stress. We’d also like to talk about resources that are available for people who are concerned that their gambling may be causing a problem in their life.
If you plan to enjoy time at the casino, keep these responsible gambling tips in mind:
- Set your limits on time and money and stick to them. Spend only the amount you can afford to spend on entertainment. Don’t spend money you need to pay bills and don’t borrow money to gamble.
- Enjoy gambling like any other form of entertainment. Don’t let it interfere with or become a substitute for family, friends or work. Don’t expect to make money by gambling.
- Know the odds. Chances are you’ll lose and then lose even more trying to recoup your losses.
- Practice positive self-care. Don’t use gambling as a way to cope with emotional or physical pain.
- Know your personal risk factors like stressors, mental health and/or substance use disorders, and family history.
If you are concerned about your gambling, there are resources to help.
2-1-1 Maine serves as Maine’s Problem Gambling Hotline. Trained specialists are available 24/7:
- Dial 211 (or 1-866-811-5695)
- Text your zip code to 898-211
- Visit www.211Maine.org
Maine Gambling Addiction Treatment Network: Individuals who have gambling disorder and their family members often do not have the financial resources available to get help, and this network provides a funding of last resort to pay for those individuals or affected others who have no other means to pay for treatment. Contact Maine 2-1-1 (see above).
This Brief Biosocial Gambling Screen is a fast, 3-question gambling screening tool.
Your First Step to Change: Gambling is a downloadable booklet with helpful information and tools to assess your relationship with gambling and how it fits with your long-term goals.
Self-Exclusion: What is self-exclusion? It’s action a person can take to ban themselves from entering all casinos in Maine for a specific period of time. A person can choose to self-exclude for 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, or for lifetime. Does the idea of going to the casino to complete the self-exclusion process feel like a trigger? Not to worry – you can complete this process at multiple (non-casino) sites in Maine. To find a site near you, please visit https://adcareme.org/self-exclusion-locations/
Visit the Gamblers’ Anonymous site for resources and to locate a meeting.
Gam Anon is a resource for loved ones who are impacted by problem gambling.
Visit the Maine Council on Problem Gambling website to access information and resources.
Maine’s Recovery Community Centers provide support, education and resources for people recovering from and affected by addiction. Each center offers a unique mix of peer support, recovery meetings, wellness activities, and more. Here is a list of Recovery Community Centers around Maine: https://portlandrecovery.org/maine-recovery-hub/#recovery_community_map