Area Substance Abuse Council (ASAC) in collaboration with the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), dedicates March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM). 2023 marks the 20th anniversary of Problem Gambling Awareness Month.

Problem gambling is defined as all gambling behavior patterns that compromise, disrupt or damage personal, family or vocational pursuits. Approximately 2 million U.S. adults (1% of the population) are estimated to meet criteria for severe problem gambling. Another 4-6 million (2-3%) meet the criteria for mild or moderate problem gambling. According to the 2018 Survey of Public Gambling Attitudes and Behaviors Towards Gambling, 14% of adult Iowans are at risk gamblers and 22% of adult Iowans have said they have been negatively affected by others' gambling behaviors.

Problem Gambling Awareness Month is designed to coincide each year with March Madness, during which Americans are expected to wager over $3 billion. For the majority of adults, gambling can be a fun and entertaining experience, but there are risks involved. Sports bettors are at particularly high-risk for developing a gambling problem. According to the National Survey on Gambling Attitudes and Gambling Experiences 2.0, four out of five sports bettors reported often needing to gamble more for the same feeling of excitement.

"Across Benton County during Problem Gambling Awareness Month, and throughout the year, ASAC is committed to raising public awareness about what problem gambling is, and most importantly, the resources that are available to get help," said Cortney Earhart, ASAC Prevention Specialist.

The hashtag for the campaign this year is #PGAM2023, which participants are encouraged to use across various social media platforms.

For more information about problem gambling and how to increase awareness of problem gambling, go to and

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call or 1-800-BETS Off or reach out to ASAC at . Help is available 24/7/365 - it is free and confidential.

About the National Council on Problem Gambling

The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) is neutral on legalized gambling. Based in Washington DC, NCPG is the only national nonprofit organization that seeks to minimize the economic and social costs associated with gambling addiction. If you or someone you know may have a gambling problem, contact the National Problem Gambling Helpline, which offers hope and help without stigma or shame. Call or text 1-800-GAMBLER or visit Help is available 24/7 - it is free and confidential

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