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Welcome to the the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling
We understand the problem. We can help.

We are a private, non-profit health agency
dedicated to reducing the social, financial, and emotional costs of problem gambling.

 

Help for a gambling disorder

HELP FOR YOU

Do you feel that gambling may be a problem for you?

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Help for Professionals

HELP FOR PROFESSIONALS

Do you feel that gambling could be a problem for someone you’re helping?

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Help for Families

HELP FOR FAMILIES

Do you feel someone you love might be gambling too much?

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Quick Gambling Facts

Gambling: 1a) to play a game for money or property, 1b) to bet on an uncertain outcome 2) to stake something on a contingency: take a chance
Gambling Disorder: or gambling addiction (formerly known as pathological gambling), is a persistent and recurrent problematic gambling behavior that causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning
Recent research has estimated the number of U.S. citizens who gamble, the number who met the criteria for having a clinical gambling disorder and also for those who have a gambling disorder but have not met the diagnostic criteria that would be considered "sub-clinical" or "problem gamblers."
  • Gambling rate: research has estimated that nearly 80% of the U.S. population has gambled during their lifetime.
  • Disordered Gambler rate: research has estimated that approximately 1% of the U.S. population have met the disordered gambler clinical criteria in their lifetime.
  • Problem gambler rate: research has estimated that approximately 2% have experienced sub-clinical problem gambling in their lifetimes. The Mass. Council recognizes that approximately 2-3% of the population has experienced disordered gambling in their lifetimes.
  • Disordered gambling in Massachusetts: based on national estimates, between 150,000 and 200,000 Massachusetts residents likely have experienced disordered gambling during their lifetimes.
Anyone can develop a problem with gambling, regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, or socio-economic status. Though disordered gambling does not discriminate, research has shown that the following groups are more susceptible to the addiction of the disorder.
Higher Frequency of Gambling Disorder
  • Males
  • Single adults
  • Those exposed to gambling environments (friends and family who gamble)
  • Those who started to gamble at a younger age
  • Excitement-seeking personality traits
  • Childhood maltreatment
  • Parental gambling involvement
  • Gamblers who smoke cigarettes
  • Gamblers with alcohol or drug dependence
  • Gamblers with obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Gamblers with higher anxiety or depression
  • Gamblers with higher impulsivity and antisocial personality traits
  • Gamblers who report gambling on electronic gambling machines (e.g. slot machines)
  • College Students
  • In adults, frequency of online gambling has been associated with gambling problems
  • Internet gambling has also been associated with heavy alcohol consumption in adults.
  • Data suggest that internet gambling may be strongly associated with disordered gambling and other adverse measures in adults.
  • Adolescent Internet gamblers are more likely to exhibit at-risk disordered gambling behavior than non-Internet adolescent gamblers
Help for people experiencing problems with gambling, their family members, and the greater community is available:
  • The Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling operates a free, confidential Helpline (800-426-1234), and online chat.
  • The Mass. Council also provides a website geared towards teenagers: teensknowyourlimits.org
  • The Mass. Council trains clinicians and maintains a list of professionals who have earned their Massachusetts Problem Gambling Specialist Certificate (MA PGS).
  • The Massachusetts Department of Public Health funds treatment centers throughout the state.
  • Many people experiencing problems with gambling join Gamblers Anonymous (GA) or Bettors Anonymous (BA).
  • Spouses, significant others, and family members of people experiencing problems with gambling can attend Gam-Anon, a fellowship that meets to share experiences about living with a disordered gambler.
  • For more information or to have a packet of materials sent to you, please call the Mass. Council Helpline (800-426-1234), the business line (617-426-4554), e-mail the Council at info@masscompulsivegambling.org, or visit 190 High Street, Suite 5, Boston, MA 02110-3031

Latest News and Blog Posts

by Jodie Nealley, Intervention and Recovery Support Coordinator, Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling and Amanda Poggenburg, Prevention Specialist

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.” Viktor Frankl (1946)

Human beings are not all the same. This realization, of course, is nothing new, but it is good to keep in mind when thinking of treatment for those afflicted with gambling disorders. The MA Council’s 24/7 Helpline Specialists generally recommend a combination of one-on-one counseling, either in an Outpatient setting or with a private practitioner trained in gambling disorders, AND a group setting, either a group therapy meeting (Thursday nights at Mt Auburn Hospital in Cambridge) or a group such as Gamblers Anonymous, Bettors Anonymous, or Smart Recovery.

Upcoming Events

  • Community Listening Session – Holyoke

     

    Sessions are free of charge and open to the public. 

    The Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission invite you to voice your opinions about the impact of casinos, problem gambling and problem gambling services in your communities. The goal of the sessions is to gather information and opinions to inform future gambling research and the creation and content of a Public Health Gambling Services Strategic Plan. For more information, please contact Alicia Barron, Intervention and Treatment Support Manager, Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling at 617.426.4554 or alicia@masscompulsivegambling.org.        
  • Community Listening Session – Plainville

     

    Sessions are free of charge and open to the public. 

    The Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission invite you to voice your opinions about the impact of casinos, problem gambling and problem gambling services in your communities. The goal of the sessions is to gather information and opinions to inform future gambling research and the creation and content of a Public Health Gambling Services Strategic Plan. For more information, please contact Alicia Barron, Intervention and Treatment Support Manager, Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling at 617.426.4554 or alicia@masscompulsivegambling.org.
  • Treating the Problem Gambler: Learning Interview Techniques and How to Assess Risks

    This training will explore effective engagement strategies in the clinical practice of gambling disorders. It will review interview techniques that allow for the establishment of a therapeutic alliance. This training will explore suicidal ideation and its relationship to gambling disorders as well as review treatment models. A case review and discussion will provide practical clinical insight into treating individuals experiencing gambling disorder.