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Gaming can have impact on us

When does gaming cross the line from recreational relaxation to problematic behavior? How do video games and gambling relate? What resources are available for those who find themselves struggling to control their relationship with video games and gambling?

These are just a few of the key questions that will be answered during an upcoming community forum on “The Impact of the Games We Play.” To be hosted at the NyE Communities Coalition, this discussion is open to the entire community, regardless of age, and the information to be shared will help arm area residents against the possibility of gaming/gambling addiction.

“Whether you are a parent, a teacher or a student of any age who likes to play video games on a console or your phone, this presentation is for you!” Aaron Thompson with the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling announced. “We’ll discuss the relationship between video games and gambling, the particular features that may put one at higher risk for developing a video gaming or gambling disorder, how to keep your child’s or your own video game play in a health zone and resources to get help if it does become a problem.”

William “Ted” Hartwell will head up the presentation.

Hartwell holds a master’s degree in anthropology and spent over three decades with the Desert Research Institute. Following his retirement from DRI, Hartwell became the executive director for the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling.

“As a person in long-term recovery from gambling disorder himself, he has promoted awareness, prevention and treatment of problem gambling as a consultant to the NCPG for many years,” biographical information about Hartwell details. “He has served on the Nevada State Advisory Committee on Problem Gambling since 2012 and in 2014 received the Shannon L. Bybee Award for his continuing work on advocacy, outreach and research on the issue of problem gambling. In 2021, he was elected to the board of directors of the National Council on Problem Gambling.”

Thompson told the Pahrump Valley Times that gambling disorder, or gambling addiction, has been recognized as a diagnosable addictive disorder for more than a decade and several years ago, the World Health Organization recognized video gaming disorder as well.

“Increasingly, video games are incorporating gambling-like features into the game play that have the potential to impact the reward center of the brain in the same manner as gambling. While these features don’t necessarily need to be present to develop a video gaming disorder, research increasingly shows links between problematic gambling behaviors and problematic purchasing behavior in video games for those who engage in both,” Thompson explained.

“However, it is only within the past year that research has shown a clear migration effect for individuals who are engaging in certain types of micro-transaction purchases within video games to a greater likelihood of engaging in gambling activities in the near future as a result,” Thompson continued. “This is of particular concern for youth participation, since gambling as a child or adolescent is a risk factor for developing a gambling problem later in life.”

The Impact of the Games We Play discussion will take place Saturday, March 30 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the NyECC. Snacks and water will be provided at this free event.

For more information visit WhenTheFunStops.org

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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