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Zepf Center News

“Awareness + Action"

Published Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Toledo, OH – Zepf Center is once again joining the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) and the Problem Gambling Network of Ohio (PGNO) to dedicate the month of March to Problem Gambling Awareness Month. This year's campaign is designed to help raise awareness of the prevention and treatment services available for those adversely affected by problem gambling. This year's campaign theme, “Awareness + Action" is all about taking action and having those difficult conversations about problem gambling issues and directing people to the help they may need.  Locally, Zepf Center is also working to raise awareness of youth gambling within video gaming.

Steve Kapela, Zepf Center’s Manager of Problem Gambling Treatment and Prevention, is very concerned. He shares, “Problem Gambling rates among teens and young adults have been shown to be 2 or 3 times that of adults. Of U.S. residents ages 14-21, 2.1% struggle with problem gambling and another 6.5% are at risk.” He warns, “The shift from a gaming habit to a gambling problem is subtle, but the risks aren’t.” Many of these video games replicate real-life gambling behaviors, with young people spending hours on end exposed to in-game gambling while playing video games.   

·       Games offering opportunities for login rewards with instant upgrades create the habit of gaming every day.

·       Loot boxes and spin-to-win rewards replicate real-life gambling opportunities by building competition among online friends and allowing players to win fake money or other prizes.

·       Innocent-looking games with shiny, little rewards may seem harmless, but they could lead to lifelong issues for the young people exposed to them.

Many of the video games and apps youth play simulate the same excitement experienced by adult gamblers. Because of this emerging trend, Zepf Center has begun to train adolescent and youth counselors to recognize the signs of youth gambling and its consequences.  Zepf Center continues to lead Northwest Ohio in the number of professionally trained, gambling certified staff treating problem GAMEblers and gamblers of all ages.

To learn more about the reality of youth gambling, please visit www.changethegameohio.org. If you or someone you know needs additional information on youth or adult problem gambling, please contact the Zepf Center at 419-841-7701.



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