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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


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

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Help for Professionals


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

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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 Margot Cahoon, Communications Director, The Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling 

Last week, I had the opportunity to travel to Orlando, Florida to attend the National Council on Problem Gambling’s 28th National Conference on Problem Gambling: Pathways to New Possibilities. The staff and volunteers from both the National Council and the Florida Council were wonderful. They were professional, well-organized and accommodating, all helping to make for a top notch experience.

Upcoming Events

  • Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling Training Institute

    The Mass. Council on Compulsive Gambling Training Institute’s goals are to increase the number of service providers in the treatment and service of gambling disorders; increase the community’s access to comprehensive and competent care; increase service and treatment delivery; to improve treatment outcomes.  The Mass. Council on Compulsive Gambling Training Institute provides a comprehensive delivery of gambling-specific trainings for social services providers in order to build the capacity of knowledge in the area of gambling disorders. The Training Institute meets from 3pm-7pm, once per week, for the following right Thursdays: Thursday, September 11, 2014, 3pm-7pm Thursday, September 18, 2014, 3pm-7pm Thursday, September 25, 2014, 3pm-7pm Thursday, October 2, 2014, 3pm-7pm Thursday, October 9, 2014, 3pm-7pm Thursday, October 16, 2014, 3pm-7pm Thursday, October 23, 2014, 3pm-7pm Thursday, October 30, 2014, 3pm-7pm At the conclusion of the eight-week training process, individuals will meet the MA PGS training standards and earn the certificate training requirements. The cost of the Training Institute covers the cost of CEUs and the MA PGS Application. CEUs - 32
  • Treating the Problem Gambler: Learning Interview Techniques and How to Assess Risks (Part 1)

    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.
  • Research Luncheon: Using Advances in Addiction Science to Understand, Assess, and Treat Gambling Problems

    Presenter: Sarah Nelson, Ph D, Associate Director of Research, Division on Addiction, Cambridge Health Alliance, Harvard Medical School In this training, Dr. Nelson will challenge the conventional wisdoms about addiction, gambling and gambling problems which will help participants to gain an understanding of how disordered gambling relates to other commonly used expressions of addiction.  Participants will learn about the strengths and weaknesses of different tools to screen and assess gambling problems and will be able to apply this knowledge to the treatment of gambling disorders. CEUs: 2