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DHS news release

Oct. 3, 2005


Contact: Jim Sellers (503) 945-5738

DHS program contact: Jeff Marotta (503) 945-9709

Lottery marketing contact: Carole Hardy (503) 540-1030


Targeted gambling ads attracting more women to treatment



Television advertising urging women who are problem gamblers to seek treatment helped to increase the number of women enrolling in treatment by almost 40 percent, a state official said Monday.


"These numbers are significant because they show the ad is not only reaching the target audience but also getting people were they need to be, in treatment," said Jeff Marotta, problem gambling services manager in the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS). "Basing the ad's message on women's actual stories is paying off."


The ad, created and produced by the Oregon Lottery, depicts women talking about returning to a normal life after overcoming problems with gambling. It first ran in March and recently aired in September. The Oregon Lottery matches at least 10 percent of its game advertising budget and allocates that money to promote responsible gambling and encourage problem gamblers to enroll in free treatment.


Data compiled for DHS by a private research firm, Herbert & Louis, LLC showed that compared with an average of 18 women enrolling in treatment during the weeks that other ads directed at problem gamblers aired, 26 women enrolled during a March week that the targeted ad aired. The number of men was stable at 18 in each week. Marotta said subsequent airings of the ad in April, May, and September continued to produce higher-than-normal call volume to the helpline. In the four-month period from March to June, 304 women entered treatment compared to 218 during the same period last year.


The toll-free problem-gambling helpline number is 1 (877) 2-STOP-NOW.


Marotta said that Connecticut has inquired about using the ad, and that the Oregon Lottery is preparing a related poster and brochure that it will provide lottery retailers to stock.


As a result of success with the women-oriented ad, Marotta said, he is now working with the Oregon Lottery on more targeted ads; the next one will be directed at young-adult problem gamblers.


When people call the problem-gambling helpline during normal business hours, a counselor can use three-way calling to connect the caller with one of 36 treatment sites across the state. About 1,200 Oregonians are in gambling treatment at any time, Marotta said.


Besides the 36 treatment sites and two crisis-respite sites in Grants Pass and St. Helens, Marotta said, the state has contracted for a pilot residential gambling treatment center scheduled to open in February 2006.

You can download a Windows Media version of the commercial here (Windows Media Player software required to view).