-Jennifer Wilbers of the Missouri Gaming Commission
‘20 Years Later and the Alliance is Still Innovating’
December 17, 2017, will mark 20 years since the Missouri Alliance to Curb Problem Gambling was formed. At the time, we were the only statewide coalition focusing on problem gambling and responsible gaming. However, our efforts back then would serve as the launching point for a nationwide movement to create similar organizations in dozens of states over the next 20 years. In that time, we have made significant strides in every goal that was established at the time of our founding.
Referring problem gamblers and their loved ones to free treatment through the 1-888-BETSOFF service remains a top priority for the Alliance and its members. Thanks to the contributions from the Missouri Gaming Association, Life Crisis Services has assisted more than 38,000 callers through the 1-888-BETSOFF service and referred them to free treatment through the Missouri Department of Mental Health, services that are funded by the Missouri Gaming Commission.
Because of the Alliance’s efforts to promote responsible gaming, the state of Missouri now recognizes August as its Responsible Gaming Education Month, complete with three gubernatorial proclamations. Due in part to the various marketing endeavors overseen by the Missouri Lottery, including dozens of television and radio public service announcements, Missouri citizens are more aware than ever of responsible gaming and the help available.
We continue to succeed in preventing underage play through various contributions from Alliance members. One major contribution is the Missouri Gaming Association’s Project 21 scholarship. In the 21 years the scholarship has been available, more than $147,000 in scholarships have been awarded to Missouri students who demonstrate why underage play is not permissible and how such activity can carry lifelong consequences. The "Beat Addiction: Choose the Right Path" youth addiction prevention program has developed from a traveling school assembly program to a free DVD kit focusing on preventing addiction.
Finally, educating Missourians on the characteristics and dangers of problem gambling remains a hallmark of our lasting legacy. The 14th annual Midwest Conference on Problem Gambling and Substance Abuse will take place June 21-23 in Kansas City. The conference succeeds through generous donations of time, talent and funding from the Midwest Consortium’s member states, but especially from contributions from Alliance members, including sponsorships from the Kansas City Port Authority.
When I consider all of the strides the Missouri Alliance has made in the past 20 years, I see our efforts evolving and innovating at a significant rate. Twenty years later, and the Alliance is still innovating, and I look forward to seeing the progress we make in the coming years.
Missouri Alliance Chair