Gambling Addiction Resources Expand Hours of Service

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 | 07:00pm

                      Redline Referral Services Now Available 24 Hours, Seven Days

Nashville, October 18, 2006

The Tennessee Department of Health and the Tennessee Association of Alcohol, Drug and Other Addiction Services (TAADAS) are expanding the Tennessee REDLINE’s gambling hotline to be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Referrals and resources to combat problem gambling can be reached through the REDLINE at 1-800-889-9789.

Many Tennesseans may not be aware that gambling can become a problem or can evolve into an addiction, just like other addictions in which willpower and negative outcomes alone do not suffice in stopping the behavior,” said Health Commissioner Kenneth S. Robinson, M.D. “The partnership with the REDLINE has served Tennesseans in need of treatment for their problem gambling and gambling addiction.  This expansion promises increased identification of those in need, and an increased capacity for their referral for screening, assessment and counseling services.

The REDLINE serves as TAADAS’s confidential information and referral service available to anyone seeking help for addiction or anyone who is close to someone needing help, such as a family member, friend or professional. The gambling hotline was added to other referral services already offered through the REDLINE in 2005, including alcohol, drug and HIV/AIDS, which are also now available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Gambling addiction is a significant public health problem,” said Stephanie Perry, M.D., assistant commissioner for the Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services. “It is associated with health problems, financial ruin, criminal activity and incarceration. The Department of Health, through its Problem Gambling Initiative and TAADAS, is working to provide effective resources to stop this and other addictions in Tennessee.”

More than 155,000 people in Tennessee are problem gamblers, or exhibit gambling behavior that disrupts a major area of their life, according to the University of Memphis Institute for Substance Abuse Treatment Evaluation, and another 64,743 are pathological gamblers. The National Council on Problem Gambling characterizes pathological gambling as an increased preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop, “chasing” losses or gambling to win money that has already been lost, and loss of control of the gambling behavior in spite of serious, negative consequences. 

“The expansion of the REDLINE will serve more problem gamblers than ever before,” said Vernon Martin, executive director of TAADAS. “Now the REDLINE will be able to even more greatly impact problem gambling in Tennessee.”

For some, problem gambling may develop into an addictive disorder. Often, problem and pathological gamblers have mental and physical health problems, including digestive distress, depression, sexual dysfunction, anxiety, risky behaviors, substance abuse and suicidal thoughts. 

The Department has awarded contracts to four agencies to provide treatment, information and referral services, with special attention paid to outreach. Helen Ross McNabb Center in Knoxville, Buffalo Valley in Hohenwald and the University of Memphis Gambling Clinic in Memphis provide outreach and outpatient treatment services, while TAADAS provides information and referral services and outreach to anyone needing help for an alcohol, drug or gambling problem, treatment professionals and policy makers.

“The expansion of the REDLINE services is an important next step in Tennessee’s efforts to help those with gambling problems,” said Jim Whelan, PhD, of the University of Memphis Institute for Gambling Education and Research. “We know from the research that those with gambling problems can be effectively helped. Having a 24 hour per day helpline is essential in promoting public awareness of where people can get that help.”

The National Council on Problem Gambling has identified criteria for problem gamblers. If you exhibit any of the below, consider calling the REDLINE at 1-800-889-9789.

  • You have often gambled longer than you had planned.
  • You have often gambled until your last dollar was gone.
  • Thoughts of gambling have caused you to lose sleep.
  • You have used your income or savings to gamble while letting bills go unpaid.
  • You have made repeated, unsuccessful attempts to stop gambling.
  • You have broken the law or considered breaking the law to finance your gambling.
  • You have borrowed money to finance your gambling.
  • You have felt depressed or suicidal because of your gambling losses.
  • You have been remorseful after gambling.
  • You have gambled to get money to meet your financial obligations.

For more information about TAADAS and REDLINE, please visit or call the REDLINE at 1-800-889-9789. To learn more about the Department of Health’s Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services or resources available within Tennessee for addiction treatment, please visit

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