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3/7/2008 3:45:16 PM

COLUMBIA, SC (MARCH 7, 2008) – The South Carolina Education Lottery (SCEL) and the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS) are pleased to recognize March 9-15, 2008, as National Problem Gambling Awareness Week. This initiative is publicized around the country to increase awareness of the availability and importance of compulsive gambling treatment.

SCEL and DAODAS have combined efforts to help educate the public about the warning signs of gambling addiction and where to get support.

“We are pleased to be a part of this outreach campaign devoted to publicizing the resources available to help problem gamblers and their families. While the Lottery sells games, we stress lottery products are strictly for entertainment,” said SCEL Executive Director Ernie Passailaigue. “SCEL emphasizes its ‘Play Responsibly’ message by promoting the DAODAS helpline for callers needing assistance. The toll-free number is 1-877-452-5155,” Passailaigue added.

“National Problem Gambling Awareness Week shines a spotlight on the obsessive gambling issue, but we want the public to know help is available every day of the year by calling the helpline,” said W. Lee Catoe, Director of DAODAS. “By dialing this number, callers can speak directly to a counselor who will share more information and can arrange an individualized assessment and treatment plan for the caller or the caller’s loved one. After completion of a program focusing on the nature of compulsive gambling, denial and recovery, relapse prevention and other pertinent issues, referrals can be made to continuing care groups such as Gamblers Anonymous.”

SCEL stresses its ‘Play Responsibly’ campaign and the toll-free helpline number with public service announcements distributed through its media partners, printed information on all SCEL products and on the Lottery’s website at www.sceducationlottery.com.

Since its inception in 2004, the S.C. Gambling Helpline has provided direct intervention services or referrals to treatment for approximately 1,300 callers.

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