The holiday season brings friends and families together more often than any other time of year. For some Iowans, these gatherings are overshadowed by concern about a loved one’s gambling, or the stress of trying to hide their own gambling behavior.

“Gambling problems are hard to talk about,” said Eric Preuss, manager of the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) Iowa Gambling Treatment program. “Family and friends may not know how to help the person they care about and the problem gambler may feel alone or ashamed about their situation.”

It is important for family members or loved ones to learn strategies to help themselves and the problem gambler. Because of this, IDPH wants Iowans to know that free and confidential help is available whether you’re an individual with a possible gambling problem, a concerned family member or friend, or just have questions.

Day or night, simply dial 1-800-BETS OFF or visit the YourLifeIowa.org website for services through secure chat or text.

Iowans can take a simple three-question quiz at YourLifeIowa.org/gambling to evaluate their gambling behavior:

  • During the past 12 months, have you become restless, irritable or anxious when trying to stop/cut down on gambling?
  • During the past 12 months, have you tried to keep your family or friends from knowing how much you gambled?
  • During the past 12 months, did you have such financial trouble as a result of your gambling that you had to get help with living expenses from family, friends or welfare?

Iowans who answer yes to one or more of these questions are encouraged to call 1-800-BETS OFF.

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