Cumberland Times-News

Local News

April 27, 2014

W.Va. law targets problem gamblers

Each limited video lottery retailer, per state law, is required to conspicuously post the following printed statement provided by the West Virginia Lottery Commission in at least 24-point type size: CAUTION — Gambling and playing this machine can be hazardous to your health, your finances and your future.

The lottery commission also provides a label for each video lottery ter­minal to display information on how to locate and contact people or organizations available for help, assistance or treatment for a gambling addiction, according to state law. The telephone number 1-800GAMBLER or another help line telephone number that the commission may later choose is also posted on the label.

The 1-800-GAMBLER helpline is answered 24/7 by a gambling addiction expert, according to The Problem Gamblers Help Network of West Virginia website. The network has been helping problem gamblers since 2000.

West Virginia has 15 Gamblers Anonymous groups and the network has collaborated with area Gamblers Anonymous leaders to encourage growth of new meetings, according to the website.

Risk factors for a gambling addiction as reported by West Virginia helpline callers include an early big win at gambling, previous diagnosis of a mood disorder, family member addicted to alcohol and/or gambling, current or past alcohol abuse, feeling bored and/or lonely, loved one diagnosed with mental illness, death of a loved one and current or past substance abuse.

The Problem Gamblers Help Network of West Virginia website,, has a self quiz for gamblers to determine if a problem exists.

• Have you ever gambled longer than you had planned?

• Have you often gambled until your last dollar was gone?

• Have thoughts of gambling ever caused you to lose sleep?

• Have you ever used your income or savings to gamble while letting bills go unpaid?

• Have you ever made repeated, unsuccessful attempts to stop gambling?

• Have you ever broken the law or considered breaking the law to finance your gambling?

• Have you ever borrowed money to finance your gambling?

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