March means the madness of college basketball, the crack of the bats in baseball’s spring training and getting back outside after winter. For the video gaming industry, it means recognizing some people find playing our machines to be more than simply entertainment.
We’re using Problem Gambling Awareness Month to draw attention to the needs of players with addiction and other challenges and highlighting our partnership to help bring the state’s hotline services into the 21st Century.
We’re underwriting an expansion of hotline services to include live chat, a text-a-counselor helpline and a motivational messaging service. The live chat services will allow persons to connect with counselors 24/7. The texting services will allow gamblers to text a counselor anytime.
Under the motivational messaging service, messages will be sent to consumers twice a week for 12 weeks to encourage them to resist the urge to gamble and provide tips on changing habits that could lead to a relapse.
As we get out and enjoy ourselves this month, think about those whose experiences go too far. Know that the IGMOA is serious about problem gambling and wanting to help, one text and live chat at a time. Visit our partnership to fight problem gambling at illinoisalliance.org to learn more.
— Michael Gelatka, president, Illinois Gaming Machine Operators Association, Lansing