CHARLESTON - The Problem Gamblers Help Network of West Virginia invites children in grades third through 12th to participate in a poster design contest.
Age-based categories include third to fifth grades; sixth to eighth grades; and ninth through 12 grades.
Drawings can be done with pencils, markers, crayons or pastels on 8- by 11-inch white paper or be a computerized graphic design submitted as a PDF file. All entries must include the 1800GAMBLER logo. Those entering are encouraged to focus on symptoms and consequences of a gambling addiction. Symptoms of gambling addiction include lying to loved ones about gambling, asking others for money to pay off gambling debts, and risking a job or relationships to continue gambling.
"Studies show that youth are two to four times more likely to show symptoms of problem gambling than adults," said Patty Deutsch, Problem Gamblers Help Network of West Virginia director. "However, it's easier for kids to hide it because they don't have adult responsibilities like mortgage or rent, and their parents are likely to bail them out financially. Kids are also affected by their parents' gambling problems. We get many calls from people who admit they cannot provide necessities for their children because they put their paycheck in a slot machine."
Entries will be accepted until March 1. Those entering must be a West Virginia resident. Everyone entering will receive a gift, and the designers of the best posters will receive iPod NanoShuffles.
The posters will be used during National Problem Gambling Awareness Week to publicize the effects of gambling addiction and highlight the pathway to help. For an entry form, visit 1800gambler. net.