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Echo Press Editorial: Don’t gamble with this addiction

It’s fun to spend a couple bucks on gambling every now and then.

Oftentimes, you’re helping a good cause, it’s exciting when you win and it can provide entertainment value.

Until you don’t know when to stop.

Until it starts to control your life.

Until it damages relationships with your spouse or family members.

Then it’s time to realize you have a problem and to get help.

Fortunately, there are resources available for those who are struggling with a gambling addiction. And now, Problem Gambling Awareness Month in Minnesota, is an ideal time to seek that help.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), with proceeds from the Minnesota State Lottery, is sponsoring billboards and informational materials at gas stations and restaurants throughout Minnesota as well as messages on websites and the Problem Gambling Support Facebook page.

“Problem Gambling Awareness Month is a time each year to let Minnesotans know that DHS has funding available for people who need treatment, including affected family members,” said Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson.

The DHS has a toll-free number, 1-800-333-HOPE, and other resources people can access for confidential help.

Signs of a gambling problem can include the following:

• Increased frequency of gambling activity.

• A decrease in ambition and decline in work or school performance.

• Increased amount of money gambled.

• Gambling for longer periods of time than originally planned.

• Difficulty concentrating.

• Missing deadlines and important activities.

• Frequently borrowing money.

• Gambling to escape boredom, pain or loneliness.

• Lying to loved ones about gaming activity.

• Trying to win back money lost.

• Bragging about wins but not talking about losses.

To get help, call the helpline at 1-800-333-HOPE, go to for general information, www.GetGamblingHelp.

com for people needing help now, for affected others or for health care providers, the faith community, attorneys and other professionals.

Don’t let gambling ruin your life. Get your life back. Get help.