An art contest is underway for New Mexico students in grades 6 through 12 to help educate their peers about the risks of underage gambling and the potential for harm. According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, between 60 to 80 percent of high school students report having gambled for money in the past year and 4-6% meet the criteria of a problem gambler.

The contest is sponsored by the Responsible Gaming Association of New Mexico (RGANM), a collaboration of the state’s Native American-owned tribal casinos. Submitted artwork will be evaluated for use in a student planner booklet that RGANM will print and distribute for the 2024-2025 school year. Thirteen submissions will be chosen for the planner’s cover and 12 months; the winning cover design will receive a $100 gift card and each winner for a monthly page will receive a $50 gift card.

“The student planner includes broader information in addition to advocating against underage gambling,” said Shannon Dictson, president of RGANM and coordinator of the Mescalero Responsible Gaming Program. “Information is also included about suicide prevention, obesity, vaping, underage drinking, and issues relevant to teens and young adults.”

She says the planner is a way to help spread the message that gambling is a form of entertainment to be enjoyed in moderation by adults and should only use disposable income. “This is a way to share information to help students and encourage them to not participate in addictive or potentially harmful activities,” she said.

Artwork should be on 8.5×11 white paper, either horizontal or vertical. It should illustrate a message such as:

  • Set a dollar limit and stick with it
  • There are times when people should not gamble
  • Free counseling is available for anyone with a gambling problem
  • Gambling is not essential for having fun
  • Don’t let gambling interfere with family, friends or work.
  • Kids are 2-3 times the risk of adults for developing a gambling problem
  • The Problem Gambling Helpline in New Mexico is 1-888-696-2440

The student’s name, grade level and school should be included in the artwork itself, as well as a valid phone number and email. Submissions can be made to For more information, call 575- 464-7106. The deadline for submissions is April 15, 2024.

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