The manager of the Iowa Gambling Treatment and Prevention Program says only a small percentage of Iowans who have a gambling disorder are getting the help they need. Eric Preuss provided a report to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission on the program’s progress in 2013.
The program’s 1-800-BETS-OFF FREE website was launched three years ago and receives around 14,000 visits annually. Preuss said relatively few people, around 18,000 Iowans, are described as problem gamblers.
This week is designated as National Problem Gambling Awareness Week. An American Gaming Association report estimates two-point-one billion dollars ($2.1 billion) is spent on illegal gambling in the U.S. in the month of March, when many people are betting on the outcome of the NCAA Basketball Tournament.