(WFXR) — Since March serves as National Problem Gambling Awareness Month, the Virginia Lottery and the Virginia Council on Problem Gambling (VACPG) decided to team up to help raise awareness through a public service announcement (PSA) encouraging responsible play.
As in years past, the Virginia Lottery says it has suspended all radio and television advertisements for lottery products during the first half of March.
The PSA — which will be produced in-house by the Virginia Lottery — promotes the Virginia Problem Gambling Helpline, which reportedly helps people who think they or their loved ones may have a gambling problem.
According to lottery officials, the PSA emphasizes that a problem gambler can make a positive change by seeking and accepting help.
“Promoting responsible play has always been part of our obligations at the Virginia Lottery,” said Executive Director Kevin Hall. “For most people, gambling is recreational fun, but for some people it can create problems. We are committed to help raise awareness in the Commonwealth about the potential warning signs and the resources available for everyone who chooses to play.”
All Virginia Lottery tickets and most lottery advertising materials include the toll-free number for the Virginia Problem Gambling Helpline. If you call (888) 532-3500, you can get confidential information about problem gambling.
In addition, lottery officials say they produce bilingual materials to publicize the hotline and direct customers to more problem gambling resources.
“Promoting awareness about problem gambling is key to preventing difficulties among members of our communities,” said VACPG President Carolyn Hawley, Ph. D. “The knowledge of how a recreational activity can become problematic, understanding the warning signs, and factors that place people at risk, can help minimize gambling related problems. We are fortunate that we have a Lottery that is making a commitment towards responsible gaming and supporting efforts to keep gambling fun.”
In addition, the Virginia Lottery recently created a Voluntary Exclusion Program (VEP) — which includes account-based Lottery, mobile sports betting, horse racing and historical horse race wagering, and gaming activities sponsored by charitable organizations — that allows players to opt-out of state-regulated gambling activities for either a set period of time or for life.