The Louisiana Lottery's message to play responsibly appears regularly on its tickets, billboards, Web site and sales materials. But during the week of March 7 - 13, the Lottery will devote even more attention to the issue as it observes National Problem Gambling Awareness Week.
"While our mission is to make Lottery games fun, we want to ensure that those who have a problem know where to get help," said Lottery President Rose Hudson. "Problem gambling awareness is a very important issue to our players. We want to show them it's also important to us, by encouraging good playing habits."
Problem and pathological gambling are behaviors that can damage an individual's personal or family life. Signs include a preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, irritability when attempting to stop and "chasing" losses.
According to a 2008 study conducted by the Louisiana Compulsive Gambling Committee, problem gambling rates statewide have remained relatively stable since 2002. Problem gamblers accounted for 1.7 percent of the state's population, while pathological gamblers made up 1.4 percent.
The study also revealed 68 percent of respondents were aware of the problem gambling helpline. The Lottery prints the toll-free number on all tickets and advertising materials.
In a separate online survey of Lottery players, 95 percent rated the Lottery's awareness efforts as "good" or "excellent." Ninety-two percent said they would know where to go for help.
The Lottery reminds those who enjoy its games to do so responsibly by incorporating the following tips:
Play only for fun.
Consider any money lost as the cost of entertainment.
Set a dollar limit and stick to it.
Set a time limit and stick to it.
Never borrow money to gamble.
Don't allow gambling to interfere with family, friends or work.
Never gamble to win back losses.
Never use gambling as a way to cope with emotional or physical pain.
The Louisiana Lottery Corporation's mission is to generate revenue for the state, while upholding the highest standards of integrity and public trust. By law, 35 percent of Lottery revenue is transferred to the state treasury. Proceeds are earmarked for public education, with the first $500,000 dedicated to funding problem gambling programs.
The Lottery encourages anyone with a gambling problem to call 1-877-770-7867 for help. For more information on responsible play and problem gambling, click here.
You can also find more information on the National Problem Gambling Awareness site, http://www.npgaw.org/ or the Louisiana Office of Addictive Disorders site, www.dhh.louisiana.gov/offices/?ID=23 .
Click here to watch Lottery President Rose Hudson's special message to players.