The National Lotteries and Control Board (NLCB), in collaboration with the reality radio, NGO Eye On Dependency (EOD) virtually launched its poster initiative yesterday to aid in the fight against gambling addictions in T&T.
In an act of corporate responsibility, the NLCB unveiled the poster that would now be visible at all NLCB terminals, locations, and offices.
Branded on these posters are gambling addiction hotline numbers and names of rehabilitation centers affiliated with the initiative.
The poster also advises gamblers not to throw away all their money on gambling; instead, play smart as winning was not everything.
NCLB’s marketing manager, Lasandra Thompson-Khan said: “ The NLCB recognises that we operate in what is considered a vice industry and therefore we have a responsibility to provide support to any persons who might be negatively impacted by our products.”
Thompson-Khan said it was why NLCB welcomed the initiative with open arms when approached by the EOD team.
She said after discussions with EOD, and the restructuring of an initial plan, it was decided just how the NLCB could play an active role.
During his presentation, co-founder of EOD, Garth St Clair said the idea came from his encounter 11 years ago with UK-based charity, GamCare, an NGO working to fight problem gambling. He said he knew right away, a similar programme was needed in T&T.
“GamCare showed us that this problem really exists…the problem of gambling addiction, ” said St Clair.
Using a multimedia presentation, he said through research, it was found gambling addiction was as serious as having a crack cocaine addiction.
“It’s almost similar to someone who has a gambling problem. The same denial, same spending…overspending, trying to achieve that high that you have to chase that and chase it and you will never achieve it after that first hit. And some people for instance you, will see the signs and symptoms of gambling addiction, “said St Clair.
Some of the signs according to St Clair, included gambling to improve happiness, gambling despite consequences, denying there is a problem, psychological withdrawal, and financial problems among others.
St Clair, a recovered addict, said there were thousands of people in T&T who experience gambling addiction but were not aware of it. And appealed to anyone who might recognise these signs in themselves or someone else to get help.
He appealed to anyone who might recognise these signs in themselves or someone else to get help.
“To all those of you out there, who need this help, still in denial or know someone who needs this help…listen. Some of you work in very sensitive areas in Trinidad and Tobago, so whether you are a teacher, a banker, a member of the protective service, the media, even a public servant even in the service industry. You might even own a lotto terminal and you’re addicted to gambling, which is even more dangerous. This is your time to come home…this is your time to get the help that you need,” St Clair said.”
He said the collaboration with NLCB would provide the platform for such persons to get help. And pointed to where they could go.
“We are happy to say we have the Rebirth House and Serenity Place Empowerment Centre for women. There is another private entity called Emmanuel Community. They have been in the service to mankind in Trinidad and Tobago and dealing with hundreds of problem gamblers for the last 20 years.” St Clair said.
He reiterated that to sensitise the public, posters will be placed strategically at all lotto terminals and different parts of T&T while continued marketing on the Eye on Dependency programme and other platforms, will be done.