Two-thousand and sixteen was a great year, and we could not have done it alone. Thanks to our friends, families, colleagues and you; we were able to successfully help hundreds of people affected by problematic gaming and gambling addictions. To conclude the year, we are going to recap ten important topics that we discussed over the last 365 days.
Here goes the first part of the CCGNJ’s Top 10 for 2016:
- The History of Online Gambling – Let’s start at the beginning. Nowadays most Americans live on their phones, computers and tablets. Back in March, we delved into just how quickly online gambling consumed millions of people. The takeaway: The first online casino formed in 1996, and currently people can make wagers from their cell phones. What’s that mean? For the last two decades, people have had access to gambling right from their couches. Will people stay in more and become less social? Will gambling rates rise? Will teens find a way to gamble online? These are questions to keep an eye on as we go into 2017 and beyond.
- Understanding Process Addictions – Sometimes we forget that behaviors and habits can become addicting methods of coping with stress. While drug addiction is an enormous problem, sex, gambling, gaming, shopping, eating, sleeping and cell phones can become equally as menacing if abused. In our November blog, we mention how chemical imbalances, distorted beliefs, unresolved personal issues, and the inability to deal with certain situations could trigger behavior addictions. The bottom line: While numbing pain may seem beneficial, it merely brushes the primary issue under the rug and often exponentially worsens the situation.
- The Emergence of Daily Fantasy Football – This topic goes hand-in-hand with #10. Fifteen years ago, people were enamored when fantasy sports stormed onto the scene. Sites like Yahoo.com dominated the space, and although it is a game, it is also gambling. Fast forward to present day, where instead of doing one draft that lasts an entire season, fantasy participants can draft a new team every week (and even every day depending on the sport.) In our August blog, we noted a mind-boggling projection (from LegalSportsReport.com) that predicts daily fantasy sports will have a market size of over EIGHT BILLION DOLLARS by the year 2020.
- CCGNJ’s Domestic Violence Survey – This past summer, we conducted some research by releasing a Domestic Violence Survey that ran from June 3rd until June 20th. Survey says: 30% of respondents claimed that they or a partner engaged in gaming or gambling more than once per week, and 25% stated that gambling had made their home life unhappy due to gambling and its effects. This survey helped us see just how important it is to educate people about treating and preventing addiction.
As our own Neva Pryor stated back in July, “The Council urges mental health professionals and treatment specialists to take note of these results and factor them into treatment programs accordingly. Additionally, those experiencing gambling disorders and domestic violence firsthand are not without hope.”
- Gambling and Mental Health – We cannot stress how critical it is to learn about co-occurring conditions such as gambling addiction and mental health issues. A few times over the past year, we discussed the side effects of gambling, ranging from mental stress and anxiety to physical illness such as an abnormal heart rate and blood pressure. We also talk about promoting acceptance, eliminating negative judgement, and avoiding stereotypes by pledging to be #StigmaFree. The #StigmaFree hashtag can be included with inspirational images, quotes and posts on every social media platform ranging from Facebook and Twitter to Instagram and SnapChat.
WHEW! Just think, those are only six of the many topics we covered this year. Some honorable mentions include:
- Gifting Lottery Tickets
- 2016’s monumental Mega Millions
- Off-Track Wagering Odds and Favorites and the Consequences of Horse Betting during the Kentucky Derby
- Military Gambling
- February’s Historic Gambling Month
Check out part two of our list to see what the top five topics we chose are! And remember, whether you are off-track wagering in Woodbridge for the Belmont Stakes or your child is getting ready to start his/her first season of fantasy football, knowledge is power. There is no such thing as a stupid question, and if you think of anything that you need to address, call 1-800-GAMBLER for assistance. Our helpline is open 24/7/365.