The Maine Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services and the Maine Gambling Control Board have joined with Hollywood Casino and Oxford Casino to help individuals who think they may have a problem with casino gambling.

Jupiterimages/ThinkStock

The work expands the locations for an individual to sign up for a program known as self-exclusion from two to 14 sites.  Self-exclusion is a self-help process where a person chooses, through a signed agreement, to not enter a casino for a period of one to five years, or in some cases, a lifetime.

“Casino gambling is only one form of gambling that takes place in Maine and self-exclusion is an option for Maine citizens to take control of behaviors that may be out of control,’’ said Guy Cousins, Director of the Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services. “While most people gamble responsibly, for some, gambling has become an addiction that can cause major problems with work, relationships and family.”

Prior to expanding the program, the only place a person could begin the self-exclusion program was at either of the Maine’s casinos. Adding 10 sites outside of that arena is one way that people can get started in treatment without entering the environment they are attempting to avoid.

New locations include: the Aroostook County Action Program (ACAP); Bangor Health and Community Services; Houlton Band of Maliseets Health and Wellness Center; Kennebec Behavioral Health in Skowhegan and Augusta; the Maine Gambling Control Board; Mid-Coast Behavioral Health; Portland City Hall; Stephens Memorial Hospital; Wabenaki Health & Wellness; Washington County-One Community; and York Hospital Community Health.

If you think you may have a gambling problem, please call 2-1-1 or visit 211maine.org.  For more information on Maine’s self-exclusion program, visit maine.gov/selfexclusion.   In addition, people are invited to attend the Annual Conference on Problem Gambling Awareness at Maple Hill Farm in Hallowell, Maine on Tuesday, March 4.  Registration information can be found here.