SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Now that sports betting is officially legal in the Commonwealth, the state’s gaming commission is encouraging responsible gambling.

There are plenty of resources available to help keep gambling safe and fun. From the state’s gaming commission programs to community support groups, problem gamblers don’t have to struggle alone. 22News spoke with Mark Vander Linden of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, who explained how their Voluntary Self-Exclusion program works.

“It’s basically an agreement between them and the operator that states that they will not come on to the gaming floor, go to the sports book or when mobile becomes live that they won’t be able to log into any of the mobile operators,” said Linden.

Signs and symptoms of a gambling problem may include:

• Felt that you needed to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired excitement?
• Felt restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling?
• Made repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop gambling?
• Often felt preoccupied with gambling (e.g., having persistent thoughts of reliving past gambling experiences, handicapping or planning the next venture, thinking of ways to get money with which to gamble)?
• Often gambled when feeling distressed (e.g., helpless, guilty, anxious, depressed)?
• After losing money gambling, often returned another day to get even (“chasing” one’s losses)?
• Often lied to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling?
• Jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, or educational or career opportunity because of gambling?
• Had to rely on others to provide money to relieve desperate financial situations caused by gambling?

If you’ve answered yes to one of the questions above, you may want to look into your gambling more closely.

The gaming commission’s Game Sense program addresses myths surrounding gambling and is a major source for gaming education. Individuals who struggle to gamble responsibly are also encouraged to call the Massachusetts Problem Gambling Helpline at 800-327-5050 or visit https://gamblinghelplinema.org to speak with a trained Specialist to receive support.