This fall the National Council on Problem Gambling awarded Volunteers of America Oregon a $40,000 Agility Grant to support the development of a Peer Driven Problem Gambling Prevention Campaign targeting high school and college-age student athletes. This project will focus on preventing and raising awareness about problem gambling amongst student athletes in high school and college. The experts at VOA Oregon will use interviews and focus groups with student athletes to learn about their exposure to gambling, attitudes, gambling behavior, and what types of gambling and gambling messaging they are seeing in their community.
“Problem gambling is often referred to as a ‘hidden addiction’ due to both the lack of awareness about this issue and that signs and symptoms can be subtle and hard to recognize,” explains Anna Bledsoe, program director for VOA Oregon’s Prevention Services. “Young adults and student athletes are two populations that are at increased risk of developing gambling problems. With this project, we hope to increase awareness about problem gambling and different types of gambling amongst these higher risk populations. It is imperative that student athlete voices are included in the development of training materials, workshops and resources as their unique insight around sports betting and problem gambling amongst student athletes will ensure relevance and strengthen the impact of our work around this important issue.”
“Data suggests that gambling addiction is on the rise,” shares Kay Toran, resident/CEO of VOA Oregon. “It is smart money to dedicate resources to prevention.
"It is proven that peers are better able to deliver messages targeted at prevention.
"We are delighted to have this support from the National Council on Problem Gambling and to be in the vanguard of this effort.”