The year 2019 was the 21st year of our Compulsive Gambling Public Awareness Campaign. It was our 26th year in operation and the 23rd year of the 24-hour Helpline. The Council continued to see tremendous growth during the past year.
The Public Awareness Campaign contains six different project areas used to enhance the awareness of Problem and Compulsive Gambling. These areas include the 24-hour Helpline, Recovery Programming, High School Educational Curriculum, Statewide Compulsive Gambling Awareness Conference, our Public Relations Media Awareness Campaign, and the Training of Human Service Professionals.
The Helpline received 12,283 calls in 2019 with the highest months of calls being April and December with 1,150 calls. We continue to receive many hits to our website annually. We received 11,951 web hits in 2019. The highest month was March with 3,200 hits. The average debt amount of calls to the Helpline was $20,714. However, many people refuse to divulge this information and are confused about their indebtedness. Area code 414 received the most calls. During the year 2019, 359 referrals were made and 52 packets of information were sent. The chat line received 81chats and the text line received 8 texts.
The WCPG provides an Outreach Program. This program provides educational sessions to high school students around the state. The goal of the program is to provide education and awareness on gambling disorders. Students learn the definitions of gambling, the risks associated with gambling, the warning signs and how to get help for themselves or others. Presentations in schools throughout the state continue. WCPG hired a part-time Outreach Coordinator to increase awareness in schools throughout Wisconsin. The Outreach program reached 1807 students and 34 staff through 69 classes in 2019.
The WCPG hosted its 20th Annual Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling Statewide Conference on March 14-15, 2019 at the Blue Harbor Resort in Sheboygan, WI One hundred-thirty-eight people attended the two day conference.
We have been able to provide two Phase I and Phase II training sessions during 2019. One intro training was held in Green Bay. Sixty six training units were provided through our training sessions. Approximately 300 attendees participated in other trainings and workshops throughout 2019. A Department of Corrections training was held. There were 45 participants. WCPG will be hosting several intro trainings and Phase I-IV during 2020.
We continue to develop a list of all persons/agencies within the state of Wisconsin qualified to provide training, education, treatment or public information at various levels, for use by such groups as Employee Assistance Programs, human resource personnel, AODA personnel, school counselors, treatment providers and civic and church groups.
WCPG is in the process of developing a Recovery Outreach program. A committee has been formed.
Through the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino Sponsorship we were able to provide Phase I through Phase IV in the Milwaukee area. The Potawatomi funding also provides assistance for the operation of the 24-hour Helpline and Conference 2019 sponsorship.
WCPG had a very challenging and productive 2019. We will continue to move forward in all of our endeavors and we look forward to continuing and expanding our programs in the year 2020.