MNAPG Northern Light Spring 2022

This March marked the nineteenth observance of the National Council on Problem Gambling’s (NCPG) Problem Gambling Awareness Month. Along with the 35 state affiliates, NCPG focuses extra efforts throughout the month to raise awareness that gambling addiction is a public health issue, to reduce its stigma and to emphasize that gambling disorder is a treatable and chronic condition.

For MNAPG’s part, we increased our public awareness campaigns through paid social media and the Star Tribune. NCPG provided a daily message which we coupled with an appropriate graphic and shared on our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn pages.

We had several small campaigns using the Star Tribune’s digital reach and targeted emails. We ran a campaign focused on the problem gambler for the first half of the month, and then switched to a focus on sports betting to coincide with the heightened attention of the NCAA basketball tournament. These are examples of those ads:

Another annual campaign associated with PGAM is National Problem Gambling Screening Day, the second Tuesday in March, when we reach out to healthcare professionals in the substance disorder and mental health arenas to raise awareness that gambling addiction is often co-occurring. We try to emphasize that minimal screening would go a long way in helping those who may have a gambling problem seek the help they need. Unfortunately, most LADCs and social workers lack training in treating problem gambling and may not even be aware that it’s an issue to discuss with clients. We encourage them to ask the three brief bio gambling screening questions. If their client answers yes to any of the three questions, it’s recommended that the individual seek a more thorough assessment to determine if they have a gambling disorder or is at increased risk.

We also tried something new this year. We geofenced the capitol complex, meaning that anyone with a cell phone who entered the capitol, senate or house buildings would likely see one of our ads directed to legislators with some basic statistical information. We know that many state legislators know little about problem gambling, and as the body considers legalizing sports betting, we wanted to remind them of the issue. The success of this effort is unknown as of this writing as the analytics have not yet been processed. We will analyze this info and likely continue to nudge legislators as the bill continues to move through the body and as MNAPG proposes additional legislation.