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NCRG on the Road: Taping the CollegeGambling.org March Madness video

by: NCRG Staff | Mar 8, 2012

The NCRG on the Road blog series includes posts from NCRG staff members as they travel to continue the organization’s mission of funding the highest-quality research on gambling disorders and increasing public education opportunities. This post is from Amy Martin, the NCRG’s communications and outreach manager, about her recent trip to Denver, Colo.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to fly to the Rocky Mountains to tape footage for the NCRG’s video news release for our campaign that will highlight CollegeGambling.org during the upcoming NCAA basketball tournament. Christine Reilly, senior research director for the NCRG, and Holly Wetzel, vice president of communications for the American Gaming Association, joined me on this trip. We were at the University of Denver for a few days to shoot the video and talk with members of the Task Force on College Gambling Policies, Problem Gambling Coalition of Colorado (PGCC) and the Colorado Gaming Association.

The NCAA basketball tournament is a great opportunity to highlight the resources available on CollegeGambling.org. Did you know that 75 percent of students gambled in the past year, either legally or illegally? March is a time where students and basketball fans are filling out their brackets and maybe placing a wager on a game or two. For all of us at the NCRG, it seemed appropriate to talk more about the facts and stats that are available on CollegeGambling.org during the time leading up to the Final Four.

For this project, we were fortunate to interview Dr. Karin Dittrick-Nathan, clinical assistant professor at the University of Denver. Dr. Dittrick-Nathan was a member of the Task Force on College Gambling Policies, a group that was organized in 2009 by the NCRG and the Division on Addiction at Cambridge Health Alliance, Harvard Medical School.  She is also an active member of the University of Denver’s High-Risk Task Force, a committee that has made great strides to bring the issue of gambling and gambling-related harms to the attention of the university’s administration.

During our first day on campus, we scouted locations to film the interviews so that the next day of shooting would be easy to orchestrate. Then, our video team spent the entire second day shooting interviews.  We wanted to cover a wide range of issues with the interviews, from what the latest research shows about the prevalence of gambling among college students to why college students often participate in risky behaviors. We asked Dr. Dittrick-Nathan more about the University of Denver’s initiatives to educate students about gambling and where to get help if students have a gambling problem. We also asked questions that helped both Christine and Dr. Dittrick-Nathan to talk more about the Task Force on College Gambling Policies and the science-based recommendations that led to creating CollegeGambling.org. 

While we were in Colorado, we were also excited to meet with Amber Bunch, executive director of the PGCC, and Lois Rice, executive director of the Colorado Gaming Association. The PGCC updated us on a few of its newest initiatives, including their “21 is a Must” scholarship contest. Colorado high school students were invited to create a poster educating youth about the age requirement of gambling and the warning signs of problem gambling. We look forward to finding out who won the contest and how the PGCC will grow this program in the future. Our meeting with Amber and Lois also made me excited to come back to host a treatment provider workshop with the PCGG in the coming months!

It was a quick trip that was packed with great conversation and ideas on how to expand our efforts and partnerships to reach more students, parents, university administrators and clinicians. We’ll keep you posted on all of our activities surrounding this campaign to talk more about CollegeGambling.org during March Madness. 

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