Darryl McEwen

{standaloneHead}Darryl McEwen{/standaloneHead}

We’ve all seen it. Players furiously pounding the screen of a slot machine, shouting at it with a barrage of obscenities.

After the machine takes all their credits, they furtively open their purse or take out their wallet. “Just one more $20 bill and I’ll win it all back,” they think to themselves.

Another disgruntled gambler angry at the casino for taking her money? Or is there a deeper problem?

While no one knows anyone else’s financial situation many times it’s obvious that people like this are figuratively (and literally) down on their luck.

There’s not much you can say or do when you don’t know someone personally, but there’s plenty of help if those gamblers are relatives or friends. Or maybe the person I’m describing is you?

March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM).

Now in its 14th year, PGAM is a grassroots campaign that depends on the participation of National Council on Problem Gambling state affiliates, organizational and individual members, state health agencies, casinos, recovery groups and a wide range of healthcare organizations and providers.

The goals of the campaign are to increase public awareness of problem gambling and the availability of prevention, treatment and recovery services, and to encourage healthcare providers to screen clients for problem gambling.

The affiliate closest to Atlantic City is the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey in Hamilton. Callers can reach the Council’s confidential helpline at 800-GAMBLER (800-246-2537) or go to 800Gambler.org.

Other resources include:

Gamblers Anonymous (GamblersAnonymous.org) — Groups of men and women share their experience, strength and hope with each other to help solve their common problem and assist others to recover from a gambling problem.

Gam-Anon International Service Office Inc. (Gam-Anon.org) — A self-help organization for the spouse, family or close friends of compulsive gamblers, Gam-Anon assists its international network of Family Groups that meet to discuss the financial and emotional effects on gamblers’ families and loved ones.

GamTalk (GamTalk.org) — An online 24/7 moderated peer support forum, according to the group’s founder, Dr. Richard Wood, “We know a lot about dealing with gambling problems, and we want to share what we have learned.”

Ask Mr. AC Casino

Q. Driving along Pacific Avenue near Bally’s Atlantic City I saw a sign on the AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center calling it the Frank Sinatra Wing. Why?

A. In October 1978, five months after Atlantic City’s first casino, Resorts Casino Hotel, opened, Sinatra played to an audience of 20,000 at Boardwalk Hall. The benefit concert raised $500,000 for the former Atlantic City Hospital.

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.

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