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Department of Human Services Launches Campaign to Help Those with Gambling Problems

Press Release - Wednesday, December 14, 2022

CHICAGO - The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) launched "Are You Really Winning?" - a campaign to build awareness of problem gambling and to promote helpline services for people experiencing gambling problems.

According to research by Health Resources in Action (HRiA), four percent, or nearly 400,000, of Illinois residents have a gambling disorder, and another seven percent, or 700,000, are at risk of developing a gambling disorder.

The "Are You Really Winning?" campaign will reach across the state through TV, radio, social media, and sponsorships to educate the general public on the signs and symptoms of gambling disorder and on the resources available to those in need of support.

The campaign highlights the signs of problem gambling by asking these questions:
  • Have you ever felt restless, on edge, or irritable when trying to stop or cut down on gambling?
  • Have you ever tried to ask people for money to help with financial problems caused by gambling?
  • Have you tried to hide how much you have gambled from your family or friends?
"It is so important that we continue to let Illinois residents know about the signs of problem gambling," said IDHS Secretary Grace B. Hou. "I hope this campaign will continue to raise awareness of the effective treatment and recovery options available to people experiencing problem gambling disorder."

"We are excited to launch this campaign, which will raise awareness of gambling issues and provide help to those who need it," said Laura Garcia, IDHS' Substance Use Prevention and Recovery (SUPR) Division Director. "Understanding the signs of problem gambling and knowing that help is confidential and available 24/7 gives people hope that they can recover."

The confidential helpline is available 24/7 and can be reached by dialing 1-800-GAMBLER. Help is also available through the website and by texting GAMB to 833234. The IL Helpline has offered substance use-related support and referrals since its launch in 2018, and with the addition of these new services, the IL Helpline will better serve those experiencing gambling problems.

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