Katrina Bee. (RI photo)

March is National Problem Gambling Awareness Month and the Iowa Office of Problem Gambling is part of the effort to raise awareness of the issue and direct people to help.

Katrina Bee leads the Iowa office and says they have a list of 12 questions you can ask yourself about your gambling. “If an individual would answer ‘yes’ to four or more of those questions, that could indicate that they could meet the definition of having a gambling disorder,” Bee says. An example of a question asks where you have you tried to keep your family or friends from knowing how much you gambled in the last year.

Bee says these questions can also let you know that there is some impact on your life from gambling. “An individual who answers yes to one to three of those criteria could be showing the effects of having problems from their gambling,” Bee says. She says the next step is to seek help and let a professional determine a diagnosis.

Bee says the most recent survey indicates good recognition by Iowans of where to get help. “Seventy-four percent indicated that they didn’t know how to access problem gambling treatment services statewide. We also had 83% of the respondents indicate that they have seen or heard of 1-800-Bets Off. And that’s pretty incredible — 83% recognition rate of a helpline is a great number,” she says.

Your Life Iowa is another resource along with Betts Off where you can get help. Bee says they had 15-hundred contacts to Your Life Iowa and Bets Off in the last fiscal year. “Over one-thousand Iowans were provided a problem gambling prevention service, 319 Iowans received a problem gambling crisis intervention treatment and or recovery support service,” Bee says. She made her comments during the recent Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission meeting.