MIssion & History

Founded in 1983, the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling is a private, non-profit health agency dedicated to providing leadership to reduce the social, financial, and emotional costs of problem gambling, and to promote a continuum of prevention and intervention strategies including: information and public awareness, community education and professional training, advocacy and referral services for problem gamblers, their loved ones and the greater community.


In 1983, Thomas N. Cummings, along with a small group of others affected by struggles related to gambling, identified a need for statewide gambling disorder services.

“Don’t seek serenity. Accept who and what you are and serenity will seek you.” — Thomas N. Cummings

Due to Tom’s leadership, vision, and perseverance, the Council has been helping people experiencing problems with gambling, their loved ones, and the professionals who serve them since 1983.

We continue to grow as a leader in providing gambling disorder education, trainings and events. Through our efforts, there is a greater awareness of gambling disorder in Massachusetts.

About the Founder

tom1Thomas N. Cummings

The Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling was founded in 1983 by Thomas N. Cummings, fondly known as Tom. Tom’s passion for helping others experiencing problems with gambling grew from his own suffering. For much of his life, Tom experienced the financial and emotional destruction of a gambling disorder. In the end, Tom conquered his addiction, and dedicated his last 15 years to helping others overcome theirs.

Due to the lack of funding when we opened our doors, our organization started in Tom’s kitchen. It was there that the helpline was born. Tom took calls daily from people experiencing problems with gambling, and their loved ones. In 1987, we moved out of the kitchen into an office in Boston, where we continue to reside today.

Despite deteriorating health toward the end of 1997, Tom toiled literally until the last moment that he could. He collapsed in downtown Boston while walking to a Department of Public Health meeting of clinicians from the state’s recently opened gambling treatment centers. He died five days later at Mass. General Hospital.

Ultimately, Tom did not allow his gambling disorder to ruin his life. He said, “I turned my problem into helping others.”

We carry Tom’s spirit, passion, and dedication with us as we continue to be a leader in advocating for those who are experiencing struggles with gambling, their loved ones, and the professionals that serve them.