Written by Tim Talley
Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University President Elsa M. Núñez has declared Spring Semester 2011 as National Gambling Awareness Semester at Eastern. In her proclamation, Núñez encouraged all members of the campus community to help educate themselves about the risks of gambling, social gambling, responsible gambling and problem gambling.
"Problem gambling is a public health issue affecting millions of Americans of all ages, races and ethnic backgrounds in all communities at a significant societal and economic cost," said Núñez. "Problem gambling is treatable and treatment is effective in minimizing the harm to both individuals and society as a whole."
"Our University as well as the University's Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work, Office of Wellness Promotion and the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling invite all members of the Eastern campus community to participate in National Gambling Awareness Semester," continued Núñez.
Tom Broffman, assistant professor of sociology at Eastern, welcomed Núñez's proclamation. "We're doing an online survey of Eastern students," said Broffman. "Based on previous research elsewhere, the rate of problem gambling among college students is twice that of adult population, as gambling is a socially acceptable, readily available and legal recreational activity."
According to the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), 70 percent of adults gambled at least once in the past year, and 15 percent at least once in the past week. Over the past year, the industry acquired $95 billion in gaming revenues from states and companies. Forty-eight states and two-thirds of federally-recognized Native American tribes have legalized gambling. Ohio is the latest state to withdraw from its previously rigid stance on casino gambling as it plans on opening four casinos within the state within the over two of years.
"Gambling addiction is a serious issue," said Broffman. "The social cost of problem gambling, including addiction, bankruptcy and crime, was almost $7 billion last year. This is a trap our community needs not to fall in."
Eastern is a participant of the National Problem Gambling Awareness Month (March 2011). Along with numerous individuals, professionals and organizations have dedicated their efforts to educating the public about problem and responsible gambling and the availability and effectiveness of treatment.