Gambling addiction is a growing problem as it affects an estimated 180,000 people statewide. Executive Director of the Louisiana Association on Compulsive Gambling Janet Miller says directly asking if someone has a problem is the best method to tackle the addiction.
“Noticing changes in their behaviors, having a lot of financial issues and yet they seem to be working and working hard but they’re always in debt.”
Miller says compulsive gambling causes extreme depression in addicts who also have trouble concentrating and show a deterioration in work performance. Suicide is also a big problem associated with those who can't kick the habit. She says gambling addictions in Louisiana were at about the 2-3% mark in 2008.
"And in 2016 that's up to 8.3% of people who say they have a problem," said Miller. "So that's a fairly dramatic jump."
To promote Louisiana's services for those experiencing problems with gambling, Governor John Bel Edwards has declared March, "National Problem Gambling Awareness Month." Miller advises anyone affected by gambling to contact the Problem Gambler’s Helpline at 1-877-770-STOP for free assistance.
“If they call the helpline they can receive outpatient counseling for them or family who are concerned about someone’s gambling.”