On Wednesday, the Illinois Department of Human Services announced it was launching a new campaign aimed at providing help and resources for residents who may be experiencing a gambling addiction.
The program is called “Are You Really Winning?” The idea is that no win is worth an Illinois gamble losing respect, trustworthiness, or honesty.
“It is so important that we continue to let Illinois residents know about the signs of problem gambling,” said IDHS secretary Grace B. Hou in a release revealing the new campaign. “I hope this campaign will continue to raise awareness of the effective treatment and recovery options available to people experiencing problem gambling disorders.”
The campaign will start with wall-to-wall advertising on Illinois broadcast television and radio channels. It will also be on social media, and there’s a website: AreYouReallyWinning.com where players can turn for guidance.
Signs of trouble
The “Are You Really Winning Campaign?” is asking questions about how it feels when you gamble, and whether your habits have gotten out of control.
Specifically, they’re asking have you:
- Ever felt restless, on edge, or irritable when trying to stop or cut down on gambling?
- Asked people for money to help with financial problems caused by gambling?
- Tried to hide how much you have gambled from your family or friends?
Answering yes to any — or all — of these questions is a sign that your gambling habits have become a problem.
Citing research by the Health Resources in Action, a non-profit consulting firm out of Boston that does statistical research, nearly 4% of Illinois residents have a gambling problem, and another 7% are at risk to develop one.
How to get help
The Are You Really Winning? website has a simple user interface with the ability to call, text or chat with an advisor on the homepage.
“We are excited to launch this campaign, which will raise the awareness of gambling issues and provide help for those who need it,” said Laura Garcia, the substance use prevention and recovery division director for IDHS. “Understanding the signs of problem gambling and knowing that help is confident and available 24/7 gives people hope that they can recover.”
Call 1-800-GAMBLER to reach the confidential helpline. You can also text GAMB to 833234. The helpline is operational 24/7.