Nicasa Behavioral Health Services (Nicasa) has begun working within Illinois through a combination of public and private events to educate and assist people with gambling addictions. Nicasa has headquarters in Round Lake, with other locations in Waukegan and Highland Park, Illinois.
The organization provides problem gamblers with treatment options, counselling and other mental health services. Nicasa’s gambling addiction awareness events began almost two years ago in Waukegan, in advance of the arrival of The Temporary casino by American Place.
Since the casino’s opening in February, Nicasa Senior Director Elizabeth Thielen said that the organization has treated more people for sports wagering and video gaming than traditional casino players.
Thielen said of the increase in problem sports betting, “I’m not surprised by this, given the accessibility of this form of gambling on personal devices.”
The amount of people seeking sports betting treatment has quadrupled compared to those asking for help with casino-based gambling, according to Nicasa, even though there is no sportsbook at The Temporary.
Players asking Nicasa for sports wagering treatment has also risen 60% since February, while people asking for assistance with video slots and poker rose 18%, and those who wanted to exclude themselves from casinos rose 15%.
Thielen added, “We’re doing outreach and awareness to any interested group. We’re going to health fairs, and putting literature in lobbies. [Gambling] is not like alcohol, where they know it is a problem. The results can be devastating and they really don’t understand it’s an addiction.”
Jeff Babinski, VP and General Manager at The Temporary, said of working with Nicasa, “It’s important for us as a gambling establishment to have a social responsibility to ensure our guests are well-informed and have the information accessible.”
Babinski added that watching for signs of problem gambling is part required training for Illinois casino employees.