2017 was quite an eventful year for the Council. The medical community made great strides in their understanding of disordered gambling. At the same time, thanks to the rising popularity of illegal sports betting in Atlantic City and other forms of gambling, the rate of disordered gambling in our state of New Jersey continued to increase across all demographics.
All the same, we cannot thank our supporters and partners enough for all their assistance this year. With their help, we reached more people than ever before as we spread awareness of problem gambling through our programs and services. To us, every single life we touch in the process represents a victory.
Before we fully commence the new year, we would like to take the time to remember the events of 2017 and all the topics we focused on. To that effect, we made a list of our top ten talking points.
10. The NFL Playoffs – In February of 2017, the two teams left in the playoffs — the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots — had the attention of every football fan in America. The CCGNJ took the opportunity to caution the public about the dangers of both legal and illegal sports betting in New Jersey, especially online.
9. National Public Health Week – As rates of disordered gambling rise throughout the country, the impact of disordered gambling on public health cannot be understated. In April, we observed National Public Health Week, highlighting our efforts to help people recover from disordered gambling. People across all demographics can develop a disordered relationship with gambling, especially as online gambling venues increase in number.
8. Neva Pryor’s TV Appearance – Executive Director Neva Pryor had the exciting opportunity to appear on the television program Another Thing with Larry Mendte in April. There, she made a point to mention the increasing accessibility of online gambling. Pryor also noted the growing evidence that suggests similarities between the brains of people struggling with disordered gambling and those of people living with a substance use disorder.
7. Mental Health Awareness Month – More and more studies also show that disordered gamblers have a high co-occurrence of mental health disorder diagnoses. The CCGNJ made sure to share this observation during Mental Health Awareness Month, which takes place in June.
6. The Press of Atlantic City’s Article – In June, The Press of Atlantic City published an article entitled “State Gaming Addiction Rate Four Times the National Average.” The piece noted a study by the Rutgers School of Social Work that surveyed gambling activity across the state. The article also included a quote from Neva Pryor, who lauded the study and how it would help the CCGNJ focus our attention on areas that need the most support.
“The Press’ article, in addition to numerous other publications and studies, show that we still have much work to do,” said Pryor. “However, we should take a moment to appreciate the tremendous efforts of our coworkers and partners. We cannot thank them enough for their assistance as we continue to touch the lives of countless disordered gamblers and their loved ones.”
With that, we wrap up Part 1 of our Year in Review. Stay tuned for the conclusion!