Darryl McEwen

A survey conducted by the American Gaming Association (AGA) found the acceptance of gambling in America is at an all-time high.

At the same time, “We’ve seen an increase in our phone calls,” says Neva Pryor, executive director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey (CCGNJ).

March is Responsible Gambling Awareness Month and CCGNJ has partnered with the New Jersey Lottery on a campaign, “Awareness + Action,” to increase problem gambling awareness. The campaign is about letting people know that compulsive gambling is a diagnosable and treatable mental health disorder.

“Gambling can be an enjoyable activity for some people,” Pryor acknowledges, “but, for others and their families, [gambling] really caused the problem.”

Problem gambling is known as a “hidden addiction.” There are no physical signs — “card marks” on arms, “roulette breath” or “dice eyes.”

While visible symptoms are minimal, problem gamblers are often depressed, anxious and may have suicidal thoughts.

To fund their addiction, they often neglect family and friends, run up large amounts of debt, and may be involved in illegal activity.

Pryor says that sports betting and online gambling have increased public exposure to gambling opportunities, and also heightened the risk for problem gamblers.

“Right now we’re tracking the sports betting calls in particular,” she adds,

The AGA survey found that eight in 10 “casual” gamblers say they are aware of responsible gambling resources, and that number is even greater for those who describe themselves as “avid” gamblers.

For information locally, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, contact CCGNJ at 800-GAMBLER or visit its website, 800Gambler.org.

Book open — Tropicana Atlantic City has opened its permanent sports book. The facility is located on the North Casino floor, adjacent to Chickie’s and Pete’s Crab House & Sports Bar and 10 North. The 5,000-square-foot interactive space features 1,654 square feet of video display and can show up to 16 games at one time. With 180 lounge and bar seats, the space also features eight betting windows, including one high-limit window.

Run and eat — Harrah’s Resort’s Waterfront Buffet has introduced Buffet To-Go. For $15.99 per person customers get one container which they can fill with anything the buffet offers. The price includes one soft drink.

Wine down — Every week Golden Nugget Atlantic City, in conjunction with Shannon Ridge wines, sponsors a short video on YouTube.com, Wednesday Wine Academy. Viewers not only learn about wine, but have the chance to win valuable prize packages.

Recreational gambler Darryl D. McEwen, a former professional journalist, is president of his own consulting firm that manages several small national and international trade associations, and provides public relations and fundraising services for a number of charitable organizations. Have a comment on this or a question specifically related to an Atlantic City casino, players club or other promotion? Email Darryl at MrACCasino@gmail.com and he’ll try to respond to you personally. Your question — without your name — may appear in a future column. Visit his website, MrACCasino.com, and follow him on Twitter @MrACCasino. Your question — without your name — may appear in a future column.

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