Sandra Adell, PhD is a literature professor in the Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of “Confessions of a Slot Machine Queen: A Memoir.” She is a nationally recognized spokesperson on the negative effects of casino gambling on the Black community and currently is working on a book titled “Black Women Speak Out About Casino Gambling.”
Wen Li Anthony PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the Rutgers School of Social Work and affiliated with Center for Gambling Studies. Dr. Anthony’s research centers on addictions, with a focus gaming disorder, problem Internet use, Internet gambling, and other problematic behaviors related to technology use. Specifically, her research explores the etiology and risk mechanisms of problem Internet and video game use, develops and validates measures for these problems, and develops and evaluates interventions that can ameliorate these problems among adolescents and young adults. Her research interest stems from her practice and research experience with youth and young adults in China and the U.S. Her past and current studies have examined characteristics of problematic Internet use and video gaming behaviors among Chinese and U.S. young adults. She has also adapted and pilot tested mindfulness-based intervention and cognitive-behavioral-based intervention for these problems among youth and young adults. She currently studies an emerging area connecting video games and gambling – social casino game use.
Amanda Ayers has been working in the field of public health for over 20 years and has expertise in strategic planning, evidence-based prevention, coalition development, capacity building, organizational effectiveness, and sustainability. Her work on Community Health Improvement Plans and Strategic Implementation Plans across the country has broadened her skills in working with both large and small
communities, health departments, non-profit hospitals, and community-based organizations. Amanda has experience helping organizations incorporate health and racial equity into their planning and organizational development processes. She oversees the Project Build Up (PBU) and Massachusetts Technical Assistance Center for Problem Gambling Treatment (M-TAC) which provide capacity building and technical assistance services for treatment and recovery programs and providers across the Commonwealth. Ms. Ayers has an MPH from the University of Connecticut.
Long Banh is the Program Manager in the Office of Research and Program Gambling for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC). In this role, he works collaboratively with casino operators and other stakeholders on a range of casino and community-based initiatives to build a sustainable and socially responsible industry in the state. Long is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) with clinical experience in community-based and acute settings with addiction, HIV/AIDS issues, and mental health.
Caryl Banks serves as the Manager of the Professional Athletes Foundation helping players through the Players Assistance Trust (PAT) application process while also providing support and resources the player may need beyond the PAT. Originally from West Virginia, Caryl is a clinically licensed social worker with over 17 years experience in the field. She currently resides in Bowie, MD, and is a proud mom to PFC Banks, Dominick U.S. Marine.
Tom Bartlett is Co-Founder and President of 20 Degrees. 20 Degrees helps nonprofits, social enterprises and child care providers build financial resilience and new forms of revenue, equipping leaders with the tools necessary to navigate the future. 20 Degrees’ products and services allow organizations to combine earned income, traditional fundraising and other cutting-edge ways to fund change, diversifying their sources of revenue. Having built his career at a top Fortune 50 company, he is a recognized corporate social responsibility (CSR) social change leader with over fifteen years’ experience developing funding models, managing teams and deploying community investments.
Kristen Beall LCSW-C, ICGC-I, is Clinical Manager with the Maryland Center of Excellence on Problem Gambling (the Center), University of Maryland School of Medicine. Kristen provides consultation and technical assistance to organizations and private practitioners integrating Problem Gambling screening and assessment into their current treatment paradigms. With 19 years of experience in behavioral health counseling, Kristen works closely with the Center’s Certified Peer Recovery Specialists and helpline staff connecting help seekers to problem gambling resources. Kristen is dedicated to assisting helping professionals throughout Maryland understand the importance of asking questions about gambling and incorporating these conversations into their clinical practice.
Jody Bechtold, ICGC-II, BACC is a highly regarded gambling addiction expert working extensively across the globe with individuals, organizations, and associations. She is the CEO of The Better Institute, a group practice located in Pittsburgh. She is the co-author of The Gambling Disorder Treatment Handbook: A Guide for Mental Health Professionals and 2 chapters in the Social Work Desk Reference v 4 on Gambling and Gaming Disorders, published in 2021. She serves as the Vice President of the board for the International Gambling Counselor Certification Board (IGCCB). Jody holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work and has certifications as a Board-Approved Clinical Consultant (BACC) and Internationally Certified Gambling Counselor Level II (ICGC-II) with the IGCCB. When Jody isn’t working, you can find her providing pet therapy with her dog, Hanna, and supporting her husband’s business, Pittsburgh Guitars.
Cassandra Belton is an educational professional, who once struggled with compulsive gambling since her mid-twenties. Currently, she is in recovery for compulsive gambling. She has recently started a weekly online fellowship group for Black women who also struggle with compulsive gambling. She is also a survivor of domestic violence. Additionally, it was through her recovery in gambling that she was able to get to her safety planning.
Shawna Black the loved one of a U.S. Army Soldier, has prior experience as a Family Readiness Group (FRG) leader. Shawna currently serves as a Program Manager for the New York City Problem Gambling Resource Center (PGRC), a program of the NY Council on Problem Gambling.
Cory Brown is a Certified Prevention Specialist and serves as the Manager of Problem Gambling Services at the Ohio Casino Control Commission. As a part of his role, Cory also serves on the Board of Directors for the Ohio Problem Gambling Advisory Board where he co-chairs the Workforce Development Committee. Cory is currently attending Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service in the Master of Public Administration program.
Jim Brown is Head of Integrity Services & Harm Prevention in North America for Sportradar. Brown brings to Sportradar two decades of experience in risk management, as well as strategy development, business process evaluation and design, and sports wagering risk mitigation. For the past eight years Brown served in various risk management roles at the NCAA, most recently as the Managing Director of Enterprise Risk Management. During his tenure, Brown was influential in leading the organization’s approach to sports wagering risk mitigation. This entailed collaborating on the development of a comprehensive program featuring the integrity-related monitoring of 12,500 games annually; the well-being education of 550,000 student-athletes; and enhancing the background check and review measures of 19,000 game officials.
Kaitlin Brown ICGC II, IGDC, BACC is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor, Internationally Certified Gambling Counselor, holds an International Gaming Disorder Certificate and Board Approved Clinical Consultant with the International Gambling Counselor Certification Board. In her role as Director of Programs and Services for the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling, Kaitlin oversees the statewide problem gambling helpline, education, and prevention initiatives. Kaitlin has dedicated her career to increasing community awareness of the impact of gambling problems. In 2021, Kaitlin was honored with the NCPG Jim Wuelfing Prevention Award for her work in helping advance the field of problem gambling prevention.
Raquel Buari, JD, holds a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies with a minor in Political Science from Ball State University. Raquel holds her Juris Doctor from Valparaiso University School of Law and is licensed to practice law in the state of Michigan. Raquel is the Vice President of Compliance – the chief compliance and ethics position for Four Winds Casinos, a tribal gaming operator operating four locations in Michigan and Indiana as well as an internet-based gaming platform in Michigan. Raquel has been in legal affairs/compliance for Four Winds for 14 years and has spearheaded their responsible gaming program and efforts for eight years. Raquel is on the Board of Directors for the National Council on Problem Gambling, the Indiana Council on Problem Gambling, and the Michigan Association on Problem Gambling. Raquel is a lifetime resident of South Bend, IN, and currently resides in the area with her husband and four children.
Michael Buzzelli is the Associate Director of the Problem Gambling Network of Ohio and Co-Chair of the Prevention Committee for NCPG. Buzzelli manages the Warm Transfer Program linking Helpline callers to clinicians 24/7 and Integration Rounds in which he assists agencies in service-integration. He also works extensively with colleges and universities on policy and education. Buzzelli received his bachelor’s degree in Public Health from Slippery Rock University and his Master of Public Health from Kent State. He continued his education at Case Western Reserve University where he received a Master’s in Bioethics.
Abraham Caballero is a recent graduate from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a Bachelor of Science in psychobiology. He worked for UCLA’s Gambling Studies Program as a student and continues to do so as a research assistant after graduation.
Hannah Carliner, PhD is a Director of Research & Evaluation at Health Resources in Action. She led the 2021 Statewide Assessment of Gambling and Problem Gambling in Illinois and works on other assessment and evaluation research related to substance use, health and racial equity, and public health more broadly. Dr. Carliner completed a post-doctoral fellowship in substance use epidemiology at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. She received her Doctor of Science in Social and Behavioral Sciences from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, her Master’s in Public Health from Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health.
Heather Chapman, PhD, ICGC II, BACC, is Director of the Brecksville/Cleveland Gambling Treatment Program, and Deputy Director of the Veterans Addiction Recovery Center, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, and Associate Professor of Psychiatry Case Western Reserve University. A clinical psychologist, she specialized in the assessment, treatment, teaching supervision, and research of problem gambling since 1997. Dr. Chapman is a ICGC-II, BACC, and a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers. Her work includes developing psychological interventions specifically designed to enhance change for those struggling with problem gambling. Her current research interests include treatment retention, cultural factors, and PTSD.
Kelly Chroback is a doctoral candidate in the Addictive Disorders and Recovery Studies program at Texas Tech University. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Community, Family, and Addiction Sciences in 2016 from Texas Tech University. She then received her master’s degree in Social Work in 2018 from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests include adversity in childhood and maladaptive adult health outcomes, such as mental health conditions and substance use disorders. Upon graduation, Kelly plans to conduct research and teach at a university.
Jacob Coin brings more than 25 years of experience in intergovernmental affairs, communications and public policy to his role as Vice President and Executive Advisor supporting San Manuel Chairman Ken Ramirez. From birth, Jacob was taught the fundamentals of Seven Generations leadership from his Native Hopi Tribe which nurtured his interest in a career serving Tribal governments.
Jacob began his career as a lobbyist for the Hopi Tribe in Washington, D.C. where he strengthened his understanding of issues affecting American Indian tribes, tribal sovereignty, economic development, tribal gaming and Indian policy.
He served as founder and executive director of the Arizona Indian Gaming Association before becoming Executive Director of the National Indian Gaming Association back in D.C. Following his work with NIGA, he served as the Executive Director of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association. Today, in addition to his responsibilities with San Manuel, he serves as a member of the UNLV Gaming Law Advisory Board.
Mia Colby has experience working on problem gambling in the Asian community around Boston. She has been a part of the Asian CARES research since 2019 and DPH Everett Community Level Health Project, serving as a research manager. Ms. Colby graduated from the Tufts University School of Medicine with a master’s degree in public health, where her master’s project focused on developing culturally appropriate social marketing messaging targeted toward problem gambling in Asian communities. She holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Bowdoin College
Adela Colhon, General Manager of National and Provincial Programs, is responsible for a variety of programs both National and Provincial in scope, including Youth Gambling Awareness Program and Youth for Youth Gambling Education. Adela has studied Management at the Schulich School of Business, York University.
Christina Cook experienced gambling hard for 7+ years, Christina is now a woman in long-term recovery. It is her values, matched by her ongoing behavior, to be a voice for others who are battling this silent addiction. We are not alone, and we are all worthy of the hope and healing recovery brings.
Jaime Costello joined the National Council on Problem Gambling in April 2022 as the Director of Programs. In this position, she will oversee the planning, development and evaluation of NCPG programs, support strategic planning efforts through consistent monitoring, and serve as a spokesperson for national problem gambling efforts. Jaime is an experienced addiction and public health professional with nearly fifteen years of experience working in the problem gambling field. In her last position as Bureau Director of Prevention and Training at the New York Council on Problem Gambling, she played an integral role in the development and growth of the Problem Gambling Resource Centers ensuring that professionals, individuals, families and communities have access to prevention and support services throughout the state. She has also spearheaded professional training efforts, prevention programs and coalition development for a variety of causes. Jaime is passionate about engaging the community in change efforts and emphasizing the need for interdisciplinary work among fields to address behavioral and physical health concerns. Jaime received her Master of Public Health from the University of New England, and lives with her family in the Adirondack Park.
Jonathan Crandall served eight years in the United States Marine Corps. Crandall served as a Team Leader for the Scout/Sniper Platoon of Third Battalion, Sixth Marines (3/6). Following his time with 3/6, Crandall was assigned to the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) training unit as their Chief Instructor for the Designated Marksman Course. After his 4th MEB assignment, Crandall returned home to Syracuse, NY, where he served with Echo Company, 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) Battalion. While in service, Crandall earned the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, Combat Action Ribbon, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, and Armed Forces Service Medal, among others. Upon completing his military obligation, Crandall continued service in Iraq as a Private Military Contractor for the U.S. State Department, providing protective security for diplomats working as Provincial Reconstruction Teams.
Following his time overseas, Crandall worked as a Corrections Officer before determining that his life direction was not following his moral compass nor of the standard, he wished to uphold. Crandall graduated with his bachelor’s degree in Social Work and now lives a purpose-driven life as the Veteran Outreach Coordinator at the New York Council on Problem Gambling (NYCPG) and the co-chair of the military committee for the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG).
Chris Davis is the Government Relations and Responsible Gaming Manager for the Connecticut Lottery Corporation. In this role, Chris manages CT Lottery’s responsible gambling initiatives, programs, strategy, and trainings, and works closely with the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling and the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to advance responsible gambling messaging and resources for players across the state. Prior to joining CT Lottery, Chris was elected to five terms in the Connecticut House of Representatives, serving as Assistant Minority Leader and Ranking Member of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee, overseeing tax and gaming revenue policies for the state.
Joseph Deckro, LICSW, MA PGS, is a clinical social worker at VA Bedford Healthcare System, practicing in both the Behavioral Addictions Clinic and Domiciliary Residential Program. Within the Behavioral Addictions Clinic, he provides treatment to Veterans struggling with compulsive behaviors, as well as clinical supervision to trainees from a variety of disciplines. His interests include the intersection of research and clinical intervention, and the development of treatment modalities to address behavioral addictions.
Jeffrey L. Derevensky, PhD, is James McGill Professor and Director of Clinical Training in School/Applied Child Psychology, Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology; and Professor, Department of Psychiatry at McGill University. Dr. Derevensky has published widely in the field of gambling, adolescence, behavioral addictions and developmental psychopathology for over 30 years. He has held numerous research and training grants from international institutions and government agencies. He has been the recipient of multiple international awards for his research, clinical and training work including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Council on Problem Gambling and the National Center for Responsible Gaming.
Stephanie Diez-Morel, Ph.D., LCSW, MCAP, IGDC, BACC, (pronouns are she/her) is an assistant professor of graduate social work at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Diez-Morel is the co-lead for the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM Gaming Disorder Taskforce. She has authored numerous scientific presentations and journal articles, as well as appeared in the media on a variety of radio, podcasts, and news outlets to discuss the topic of addictions, gaming disorder and other technology-based addictions.
In 2013, Dr. Diez-Morel founded Reboot & Recover, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing education, prevention, treatment, and research on gaming disorder and other technology-based addictions. Dr. Diez-Morel earned her Ph.D. from Florida International University where she was awarded a student scholar in Health Disparities Research Fellowship offered through the Center for Research on US Latino HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse (CRUSADA) funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). As a C-SALUD Student Scholar in Health Disparities Research Fellow, Dr. Diez-Morel’s research contributed to the reduction and prevention of health disparities affecting the Latinx populations in the United States. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Dr. Diez-Morel has worked within nonprofit community organizations and in community hospitals providing direct clinical services to children, families, and adults experiencing addiction. In addition, she has provided education and consultation to address addictions among various communities including medical professionals, educators, caregivers, and school aged children.
Dr. Diez-Morel has received numerous awards in recognition of her work
including the Most Next Award for Innovation awarded by the AICP Foundation in
recognition of her problematic gaming prevention work with Reboot & Recover
and the New York University NIH Visiting Mentor Development Award for
Brianne Doura-Schawohl is the founder and CEO of Doura-Schawohl Consulting LLC. She most recently served as Vice President of US Policy and Strategic Development for EPIC Risk Management, a global harm prevention consultancy, conducting work in over 24 countries. Prior to her role at EPIC, Brianne served as Legislative Director for the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG). Her experience includes a decade of leadership in advocacy, public policy, government affairs, and communications. Her practice spans a wide range of work with executive and legislative branch officials and private sector stakeholders at the international, federal, state, and local levels of government. She works with Congress and numerous state legislatures and regulators to provide expert advice on gambling policy. Additionally, she continued to be featured in numerous local, state, national, and international media, including CNBC, ESPN, and CBC.
Alison Drain is the NC Problem Gambling Youth Prevention and Treatment Specialist and manages over 60 statewide prevention and treatment grants and trains and provides technical support to school staff on, Stacked Deck, an evidence-based prevention curriculum. Over the last three years, Alison has been working with the Stacked Deck researchers to update the guidebook and enhance curriculum utilizing focus groups and data. This year, she launched a program evaluation of the updated Stacked Deck curriculum in a learning management system. Alison’s role has expanded over the last two years to include youth treatment program management. She has launched an adolescent treatment pilot program for those youth who are experiencing problems with gaming and gambling. She also spearheaded an initiate to create self-paced learning modules and a lunch-time webinar series on gambling disorder for clinicians who work with adolescents. Alison lives in Chapel Hill, NC with her nine-year-old daughter, husband, beagle mix, and golden retriever.
Odessa Dwarika has 25 years of experience as a public health professional working towards healthy and equitable communities. As Director of Programs and Services, Odessa oversees training, technical assistance, and capacity building efforts throughout the continuum of care for disordered gambling and gaming. She works to promote a trauma informed understanding of gaming and gambling problems, particularly in communities that have high exposure to racism, economic marginalization, institutionalization, and precarious immigration status. She is a graduate of Brandeis University, received her Master’s in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University in Cambridge MA. Odessa is a Certified Trauma and Resilience Practitioner.
Heather Eshleman is the Prevention Manager at the Maryland Center of Excellence on Problem Gambling. She currently oversees youth and special population underage and problem gambling Prevention grants. Heather served as the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention Supervisor at the Anne Arundel County Department of Health from 2006- March 2019, overseeing the Substance Abuse Prevention coalitions, the Opioid Misuse Prevention Program, the Strengthening Families Program, the Fatal Overdose Review Team, and Coordination of the Students Against Destructive Decisions Chapters. She was the grants administrator at Anne Arundel County Department of Health from 2002-2006.
Daniel Field, LCSW is a therapist specializing in gambling addiction treatment. He brings over ten years of experience working with problem gamblers and has served as Program Director for the largest publicly funded gambling addiction residential program in California. In addition to his clinical work, Dan serves as an adjunct professor at the USC School of Social Work, where he trains graduate-level social workers on addiction and mental health. He also provides clinical supervision for gambling addiction counselors through the UCLA Gambling Studies Program.
Don Feeney is a consultant on gambling policy and responsible gambling and president of the Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance, the Minnesota chapter of the National Council on Problem Gambling. He was co-founder of the Alliance and has served on its board since 2001. Mr. Feeney served on the Board of Directors of the National Council on Problem Gambling from 2002 to 2016 and was president from 2011 to 2013. From 1991 to 2017, he served as Research and Planning Director at the Minnesota Lottery. His research interests include public opinion and gambling policy, public awareness of problem gambling, and gambling and popular culture. Mr. Feeney holds master’s degrees in public policy from Harvard and in statistics from the University of Minnesota, and a bachelor of science degree in applied mathematics from Brown University.
In 2017, Mr Feeney received the National Council on Problem Gambling’s Monsignor Joseph A. Dunne award for lifetime achievement.
Tim Fong, MD is a Professor of Psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA and he is board certified in adult and addiction psychiatry. He is the Co-director of the UCLA Gambling Studies Program. The purpose of this program is to examine the underlying causes and clinical characteristics of gambling disorder in order to develop effective, evidence-based treatment strategies.
Dr. Fong is part of the Steering Committee of the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative whose mission is to address the most pressing questions related to the impact of cannabis legalization through rigorous scientific study and discourse across disciplines.
Maria Garner, ICGC-II, is a Licensed Social Worker (LSW) that provides counseling for individuals and groups with Gambling Disorder along with family, and friends that support them in recovery. She is a former Fellowship participant of the Cleveland VA’s program; supervised by Dr. Heather Chapman. She holds an International Certification for Gambling Disorder ICGC-II, and a Master’s Degree from The Ohio States University Social Work Program with a Bachelor’s degree from Capital University. She is a career social worker with a background in IDDT- Addiction Disorders case management, Crisis Stabilization, Emergency Response and has worked as a Health Safety Officer. She has worked in multiple community environments and Clinical settings and uses MI, CBT, and Mindfulness in regular practice with client populations. She embraces the framework that cultural humility is key to building sustained recovery for individuals and communities.
Linda Graves, PsyD, ICGC-II Linda Graves is the Executive Director of the Association of Problem Gambling Service Administrators, an association of state administrators who manage public funds to address problem gambling. Dr. Graves has worked in the field of problem gambling since 1996. She has been integral in setting up treatment and prevention services in both Delaware and in Washington State. A contractor and trainer with the CA Council on Problem Gambling for the past 8 years, she was the recipient of the 2017 CA Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2017 NCPG Dr. Robert Custer Lifetime Achievement Award for Direct Service.
Heather M. Gray, PhD is Director of Academic Affairs at the Division on Addiction, Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital, and an Instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She earned her PhD in social psychology from Harvard University in 2006 and completed a postdoctoral fellowship with the Boston University Health and Disability Research Institute. At the Division on Addiction, Dr. Gray studies the development of, and recovery from, addictive disorders. In particular, she has studied how social networks and personal identities relate to alcohol and other drug use behavior. She has led program evaluations for federally funded local substance use disorder recovery programs. In collaboration with Internet and land-based gambling operators in the United States and internationally, Dr. Gray studies how people gamble and respond to interventions designed to promote responsible gambling. Dr. Gray serves as the Division on Addiction’s Project Director for the Massachusetts Technical Assistance Center for Problem Gambling Treatment (M-TAC) and as Senior Editor of the Brief Addiction Science Information Source.
Becky Harris is the former Chairwoman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) and a former Nevada State Senator. Representing Nevada’s Ninth District, Becky Chaired the Senate Education Committee and was a member of the Senate Judiciary, Finance, Education, Commerce, Labor and Energy Committees. Becky is also a former member of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCGLS), an association of lawmakers from across the United States, and chaired the Responsible Gaming Committee, having served as Treasurer.
Becky is currently a Distinguished Fellow, Gaming & Leadership at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas International Gaming Institute (IGI). She teaches sports betting classes to regulators and other gaming industry stakeholders through the International Center for Gaming Regulation at the IGI. The IGI works with regulators and other stakeholders worldwide to ensure they have the latest information, knowledge, and tools they need to analyse and improve gaming policies and regulation in their jurisdictions. Becky also teaches Gaming Law and Policy at the Boyd School of Law at UNLV.
Becky received her LL.M. in Gaming Law and Regulation from the UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law.
Having worked for the Colorado Department of Revenue (DOR) in regulatory enforcement for over thirty years, Dan Hartman brought an extensive background when joining the Colorado Division of Gaming. As Director of Gaming, he was responsible for leading the efforts to stand up the state’s Sports Betting program. Under Dan’s guidance and leadership, the Colorado Sports Betting program is considered one of the best in the nation for its regulatory framework and industry growth.
Before coming to the Division of Gaming, Dan established the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division as the Division’s first director. Colorado was the first state to begin regulation of this newly legalized industry, which put him at the forefront of one of the nation’s more controversial issues. Dan was the first person to build a regulatory framework and take marijuana from its illegal environment to a legal one.
Dan began his career in regulatory law enforcement in 1992; he has worked as the Director of the Colorado Division of Gaming, Director of the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division, Director of the Racing Events Division, and acting Director of the Liquor Enforcement Division.
Also active nationally, Dan served as 2010 Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) and President of the North American Pari-Mutuel Regulators’ Association. He has received NAPRA’s Pacesetters Award (2003) and was an honored recipient of the RCI’s award for achievement and leadership: the Len Foote Award (2007).
Wiley Harwell is an LPC, an International Certified Gambling Counselor-level 2, and a Board Approved Clinical Consultant for gambling counselors. Wiley is the Ex. Dir. Of Oklahoma Association on Problem Gambling and Gaming. OAPGG is the official state affiliate for the National Council on Problem Gambling of which Wiley has been a board member for 6 years and the board president for two years. OAPGG offers advocacy for problem gambling clients and their family members, provides the problem gambling helpline, works with all the tribes for responsible gambling programs, and trains all the counselors in Oklahoma to become certified.
Deborah G. Haskins, Ph.D., LCPC, ACS, MAC, ICGC II, BACC, ICGSO, CGT, is a retired Counselor Educator (25 years) and received her Ph.D. in Pastoral Counseling (Loyola College, Maryland now Loyola University MD), a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, and an Approved Supervisor (MD). Dr. Haskins is an Internationally Certified Gambling Counselor- II, Board Approved Clinical Consultant, International Clergy Lay Problem Gambling and Spiritual Outreach, Master Addictions Counselor, and IGCCB Certified Gambling Trainer. She is President of the Maryland Council on Problem Gambling and is a recognized leader for over 20 years in disordered gambling. Dr. Haskins has trained mental health professionals in the U.S. and abroad to understand disordered gambling and provide culturally relevant services. Her expertise and publications include gambling disorders and cultural competency and social justice attuned mental health/wellness. She assists practitioners and faith and spiritual communities with incorporating “mental health delivery beyond traditional formats.” She previously served on the International Gambling Counselor Certification Board and the Maryland Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists. She received the National Council on Problem Gambling Monsignor Joseph Dunne Lifetime Award for Advocacy (2021), Lawson R. McElroy Engaged Learning Alumni Award from Rider University (2021), Achievement National Council on Problem Gambling 2017 Don Hulen Annual Award for advocacy leadership and the 2015 NAADAC Unsung Hero Award (MD). She serves on the Board of Ordained Ministry (Co-chair Psychological Review) and the Association for Spiritual, Ethical, and Religious Values in Counseling (ACA, 2019-2022). Her current efforts include developing online/virtual professional development and community wellness and equipping faith/spiritual communities to support disordered gambling and homicidal loss/trauma advocacy and trainings.
Mina Hazar is a prevention and education specialist. She is the Manager of National Provincial Programs at the YMCA of Greater Toronto. Providing leadership to Youth Gambling Awareness Program, Youth Cannabis Awareness program, and Youth 4 Youth Education Program, Mina has initiated and directed development of evidence-based interventions and collaborated on research. Mina holds a MA in Leadership Studies and a B.S in Engineering.
George Hicks is an Ohio-certified prevention consultant with over 35 years of experience working with “at-promise youth” and communities. George is a high-energy and seasoned professional with tremendous breadth and depth in program development. He coordinates programs both in schools and communities setting. George works to identify the prevention needs of target populations and works with the community to address those needs. He also facilitates a variety of presentations and training in community settings. He is an Ohio Adult Ally for youth-led programs and currently partnered with the City of Columbus Recreation and Parks, Maryhaven Gambling Intervention Program, Columbus City Schools, NAMI Franklin County, Columbus Health Department, Asian American Community Services (AACS), Lead the Way Learning Academy, Capital University, CI Art Institute, and Be the Village OHIO.
Ben Hires joined BCNC as CEO in June 2020. Ben has significant experience in nonprofit leadership and serving young people and families. He held leadership positions in programs, strategy, and external relations at the Boston Children’s Chorus and the Boston Public Library. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and Political Science, a Master of Theological Studies, and a Master of Science in Arts Administration all from Boston University.
Linh Ho began his career in the gaming industry in 2015 at Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, MA working in the Slots Department. Three years later he joined the GameSense team and helped open the GameSense Information Center (GSIC) at MGM in Springfield. In 2018, Linh was promoted to Senior GameSense Advisor and helped open the GSIC at Encore Boston Harbor. He also leads the team’s outreach efforts with the Asian community. Prior to working in gaming, Linh was a realtor and Vietnamese interpreter. He graduated from Mount Ida College with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management.
Shirley Hoak, JD, ICGC-II is an Internationally Certified Gambling Counselor II. She is currently the Peer Services Coordinator for Problem Gambling Services Rhode Island. She has worked in gambling-specific treatment programs for the past 10 years and is a person in long-term recovery. She brings a unique perspective of lived experience, treatment, and recovery to her work. She has presented at National, Regional and State Conferences. She maintains an individual caseload and facilitates early and long-term recovery groups and a first responders’ group.
Jamie Hummingbird served his tribe, the Cherokee Nation, for 29 years and as the Gaming Commission Director since 1998. Mr. Hummingbird was responsible for regulating the eleven (11) gaming facilities owned and operated by the Cherokee Nation, including over 7,000 gaming machines, 85 card/table games, and the licensing of over 3,200 employees. Mr. Hummingbird oversaw the daily activities of sixty-two (62) personnel employed by the Gaming Commission.
Mr. Hummingbird left the Cherokee Nation in 2020 and founded his gaming regulatory consulting company, Solvere, in 2021. It was along this same time that Mr. Hummingbird was appointed to the Buena Vista Gaming Commission, where he serves as a Gaming Commissioner. Later, Mr. Hummingbird would be appointed to the Seminole Nation Gaming Agency, serving as Chairman.
In addition to serving in these capacities, Mr. Hummingbird also serves as Chairman of the National Tribal Gaming Commissioners & Regulators Association, an organization dedicated to promoting the exchange of information and experiences and training of tribal gaming regulators, where he is currently in his eighth term.
Julie Hynes, MA, CPS, IGDC has focused the predominance of her career in problem gambling prevention and responsible gaming, with a current role as Senior Manager of Responsible Gaming at DraftKings. Prior roles include Executive Director of Oregon Council on Problem Gambling, Director of Responsible Gambling with Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health, faculty instructor at University of Oregon, problem gambling prevention coordinator with PreventionLane, and research and consulting roles. Julie has served on the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) board of directors (2016-18; 2019-21), and in 2012 was honored with the NCPG Wuelfing Award for Prevention.
Cathy Judd-Stein was appointed Chair of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission by Governor Charlie Baker in February 2019, after serving as his Deputy Chief Legal Counsel and as part of five successive gubernatorial administrations. She was Executive Director of Governor Deval Patrick’s Judicial Nominating Commission.
A graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School, Ms. Judd-Stein served at the Massachusetts State Lottery as Director of Policy and Special Counsel and General Counsel of the State Treasury. An expert in public ethics, she taught “Ethics and Public Policy” at UMass Boston’s McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies from 2007-2015.
Suzanne Koch Eckenrode, ICGC-II, has over 20 years of experience in the problem gambling field. In her private practice in Orange County, California, and anywhere with telehealth, she uses EMDR therapy to resolve underlying negative beliefs, trauma, gambling, other disorders, and relationship issues. Suzanne is the most prolific CalGETS provider, and has supervised, given presentations, trainings, and webinars, consulted, and delivered Expert Witness Testimony on PG. She serves as Training Director on the CCPG Board, received the CalGETS Achieving Success One Step at a Time award, and developed the Trauma Assessment for Partners of Disordered Gamblers (TAPDG).
Lorena Lama is an experienced public administrator working in the Office of Problem Gambling Services at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH). She is committed to promoting health and racial equity through her work at MDPH.
Ms. Lama has previously worked in program and operations management at Action for Boston Community Development, a nonprofit agency focused on providing families the tools and resources needed to transition from poverty to stability. She also served as Director of Welcome Services for Boston Public Schools, developing equitable policies aimed at helping families navigate enrollment and schooling in Boston.
Ms. Lama holds a BA in Anthropology from Harvard University and an MA in International Studies from the University of St Andrews. She has a certificate in Nonprofit Human Services Management from Suffolk University.
Debi A. LaPlante, Ph.D. is Director of the Division on Addiction, Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital, and an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School (HMS). She joined the Division in 2001 and has been involved with its diverse research, education, and outreach activities. With her colleagues, she developed the Syndrome Model of Addiction and engaged in a seminal 10-year research program on Internet gambling that was the first to use actual gambling records, rather than just self-report. She has authored dozens of book chapters, journal articles, and reports. More recently, she co-edited the two-volume Choice awarded APA Addiction Syndrome Handbook. Dr. LaPlante is the author of the e-book, Responsible Drinking for Women. Dr. LaPlante currently is involved in multiple federally funded and corporate research programs looking at a variety of mental health disorders.
David Ledgerwood, PhD is a clinical psychologist, Director of the Nicotine and Tobacco Research Division, and Professor in the Substance Abuse Research Division, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, MI. He has published several research articles on problem gambling focusing on co-occurring psychopathology, impulse control and executive function, treatment outreach, and treatment effectiveness. He is also past president of the Michigan Association on Problem Gambling.
Uibin Lee is a Doctoral student, in Addictive Disorder and Recovery Studies program at the Department of Community, Family, and Addiction Services, Texas Tech University -@Master of Psychology (Handong Global University) – Bachelor of Arts, Counseling Psychology and Social Welfare (Handong Global University).
Marc Lefkowitz, ICGC-II is a certified gambling counselor for over 20 years. He worked for the California Council on Problem Gambling as lead trainer and facilitated 30-hour gambling certification trainings. He worked for the UCLA Gambling Studies Program training and coordinating outreach for California treatment programs. He was an adjunct instructor teaching courses related to problem gambling. He was Program Director for an inpatient gambling treatment program and still develops gambling inpatient/outpatient programs. He currently works for Kindbridge – a gambling/gaming teletherapy company. Marc has over 38 years of recovery from gambling.
David Leong is a practicing Associate Clinical Social Worker, David Leong’s commitment to treating gambling addiction grew out of his own experiences with problem gambling. David started out playing and loving competitive sports, and his passion turned into a sports betting addiction. Like other compulsive gamblers, David thought he had an “edge” because of his in-depth sports knowledge. . He recently completed his Master of Social Work and received specialized training from the UCLA Gambling Studies Program. Combining clinical experience with empathy for the highs, lows, and despairs of gambling addiction, it’s David’s mission to help others find their way out of the
Kelly Leppard is a Certified Prevention Specialist and the Primary Prevention Services Coordinator for the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Problem Gambling Services. Kelly has been working in the prevention field on the local and state level since 2008. Kelly was formally a Prevention Coordinator for a Drug-Free Communities Coalition in Southington, CT, and is a Past-President of the Connecticut Association of Prevention Professionals. She has a BA from Western New England University and is currently pursuing a MPA from the University of Connecticut.
Jade Luchauer has worked in the responsible gaming and CSR field since 2014 as an operator and supplier. Prior to working in the industry, she worked in social services.
Jeff Marotta, PhD, ICGC-II received a PhD in Psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno, and specializes in the field of problem gambling and responsible gaming as a researcher, clinician, trainer, policy advisor, and government administrator. Beginning in 2001, Dr. Marotta designed and directed Oregon’s Problem Gambling Services then in 2007 founded Problem Gambling Solutions, Inc., where he focuses on providing research and consultation services related to problem gambling service improvement and responsible gaming policy and practice. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Oregon Council on Problem Gambling and lives in Portland with his wife.
Charlie McIntyre, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Lottery, past president of the North American State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL) and current Vice-President of the Multi-State Lottery Association. Previously, the Assistant Executive Director and General Counsel for the Massachusetts State Lottery, from 2003-2010. Before joining the Massachusetts Lottery in 2003, McIntyre was a senior prosecutor in Massachusetts, specializing in organized crime.
McIntyre received his undergraduate degree from Connecticut College and his law degree from Suffolk University. He is also a former competitive triathlete, completing three Ironman triathlons including the 2006 Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
Kitty Martz is the executive director of Voices of Problem Gambling Recovery in Portland, Oregon. She is the current chair of the NCPG state affiliate Oregon Council on Problem Gambling and, as a person with lived experience in gambling harm, a member of the National Council on Problem Gambling Recovery committee. Martz is a Certified Gambling Recovery Mentor, Certified Gambling Addiction Counselor II, Advanced Grief Recovery Specialist, and longstanding SMART Recovery facilitator. She oversees Oregon’s HOPE Peer Program, where she works directly with dozens of peers to promote gambling recovery, trains other peers, and establishes best practices/policies to share with other developing gambling peer programs. Her passion is participating in the evolution of legislative policies as they relate to mitigating gambling harm.
Devin Mills is an Assistant Professor within the Department of Community, Family, and Addiction Sciences at Texas Tech University. His research explores the development of behavioral addictions, specifically video gaming and gambling disorder, with the intention of identifying factors that facilitate sustained recovery across the lifespan.
Abdallah is a Jordanian journalist living in Columbus, Ohio since the end of 2017. Abdallah holds a master’s degree in journalism and new media. Before immigrating to the USA, he worked as a news editor, press reporter, writer, and trainer in media and academic institutions for many years.
Sheila Moran, MSW, LSW, ICGC-I is Director of Communications and Marketing for First Choice Services (FCS), a West Virginia-based non-profit that operates 14 helplines, most of which focus on behavioral health. She coordinates strategy and creative design for mass media campaigns, social media, and specializes in gaining earned media. Her efforts have resulted in FCS reaching over 100,000 help seekers per year. She enjoys presenting on topics related to mental health resources, problem gambling, and outreach strategies for social services organizations. She has a Master’s Degree in Social Work and is a Licensed Social Worker.
Danny Nam is the Senior Services and Special Programs Director at Asian American Community Services (AACS) in Columbus, Ohio. He currently oversees the Cambodian and Korean Senior Outreach Project (CKSOP), which serves 200 marginalized seniors in Central Ohio. In 2018, he founded the Asian Gambling Prevention Project (AGPP), which started as a research paper to identify Franklin County’s largest Asian populations and their gambling norms. Since then, the project has been presented at several state conferences, and is now in its third phase.
Jodie Nealley has BA from St. Lawrence University, a MS in Education from Indiana University & is a graduate of the UMass/Boston Addiction Counselor Education Program. Jodie joined the MA Council on Gaming & Health in the Fall of 2012 where she works as the VSE Recovery & Outreach Liaison. Her responsibilities include delivery of gambling-related trainings for providers, interacting with peer recovery centers to raise awareness about gambling disorder & serve as the liaison for voluntary self-exclusion follow-ups & the telephone recovery support program. In 2019 she received the NCPG Jeff Beck Recovery Ambassador award.
Lia Nower, JD, PhD, is a Rutgers University Professor and Director of its Center for Gambling Studies. She is currently Chair of the NCPG Research Committee and has served on several other committees. Nower is also Director of the Addiction Counselor Training Certificate Program in the Rutgers School of Social Work and a research affiliate with the Gambling Treatment Unit at the University of Sydney Brain and Mind Centre. She has co-authored several policy initiatives, including models for self-exclusion, responsible gambling programs, and problem gambling treatment service integration into state systems. Nower co-authored the Pathways Model and the Gambling Pathways Questionnaire (GPQ), which are used internationally in research and treatment, and currently heads the team evaluating play-by-play data for Internet gambling and sports wagering in the State of New Jersey. She served as a National Institute of Health (NIH) pre-doctoral fellow, a Fulbright fellow, and a research intern at the National Research Council at the National Academies.
Victor Ortiz is a social worker with over twenty-five years of experience in the development of programs and services in the area of addiction, youth development, child welfare, and behavioral health. He has worked extensively with a wide range of populations, especially in addressing health disparities, promoting equity and social justice. Victor has served in various professional positions aimed at improving access, and advocacy of care for individuals and families. In 2009, Victor received his BSW from Anna Maria College; He was recognized for academic excellence while serving as a mentor to many students seeking professional guidance.
John Parsons, PhD a nationally certified and state licensed athletic trainer, is the Managing Director of the NCAA Sport Science Institute, whose mission is to promote and develop safety, excellence, and wellness in college student-athletes, and to foster life-long physical and mental development. Dr. Parsons’ policy portfolio includes sports medicine, sport injury epidemiology, athletic health care administration, as well as oversight of data collection and technology initiatives. Prior to coming to the NCAA, he was a faculty member in the post-professional athletic training program at A.T. Still University in Mesa, Arizona for 17 years, the last five serving as the director of the program. Dr. Parsons currently serves on the editorial boards for the Journal of Sports Rehabilitation and the Athletic Training Education Journal. In 2016, he was recognized by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association with the Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer award.
Kendra Pugh, MA is a PhD student at the University of Massachusetts Boston and a Health Science Specialist with VISN 1 New England MIRECC at the Bedford VA Medical Center. Ms. Pugh’s research focuses on the impacts of demographic and structural features of neighborhoods on gambling behavior and gambling among special populations, including Veterans, those with mental health and substance abuse disorders, and unhoused individuals.
David L. Rebuck, JD was named by Governor Chris Christie in April 2011 to be Director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. Rebuck had served for 23 years as a Deputy Attorney General for New Jersey, specializing in policy guidance and regulatory reform. He was assigned to the Governor’s Office as a Senior Policy Advisor to Governor Christie in February 2010. During his tenure he has overseen numerous endeavors to modernize the regulation of gaming in New Jersey, including instituting regulatory reform initiatives, creating online casino gaming functionality and sports wagering options. Recognized by the International Masters of Gaming Law as their 2013 Regulator of the Year, Rebuck also is a trustee member of the International Association of Gaming Regulators. He is a member of the New Jersey Bar.
Karen Reddick is a 63-year-old African American woman with ten years of recovery from gambling addiction. Born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, Karen was first exposed to gambling in her teens through bowling tournaments and pot bowling. It was during a bowling tournament trip to Las Vegas, that she saw that gambling could be a problem. Over the next few years, Karen struggled with lottery and scratch-off tickets and sought out casinos during her travels for work and vacations. Her problems intensified after casinos were built in Pennsylvania. After confiding in a co-worker, Karen sought help, admitting that “my gambling was out of control, and I was powerless over gambling and sought help to put the broken pieces of myself and my life back together, one day at a time.”
Tammy Reiff, ICGC-II has been in the fields of mental health and addictions for 25 years. She has worked with those with gambling issues since 2005. Since that time, she has worked with men and women in the civilian populations as well as men and women who have served our great country in the military.
Jeremie Richard is a PhD Candidate in the Counselling Psychology program at McGill University. He holds an MA in Counselling Psychology from McGill University. His doctoral research focuses on understanding the developmental trajectories to behavioral and substance additions from childhood to early adulthood with an emphasis on internalizing and externalizing problems. Jeremie Richard currently works as a research assistant in the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors at McGill University under the supervision of Dr. Jeffrey Derevensky and Dr. Caroline Temcheff.
Barbara Rollins is the Deputy Director with the National Council on Problem Gambling where she works with the Board, staff and stakeholders to expand the Membership program and to seek increased funding for NCPG from individuals, foundations, and corporations, including conference sponsorships and program funding. She was instrumental in creating the new Agility Grants program, which offers groundbreaking national grants to support problem gambling prevention programs in communities across the country. Barbara also oversees business operations and communications for the organization and is an integral part of managing governance implementation.
Barbara previously worked in arts management as the Managing Director at the Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown, WV; as well as Imagination Stage and the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, MD. Earlier in her career, she was a professional stage manager at regional theatres, including ten years with Arena Stage in Washington, DC and other theatres in Utah, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maine and New Hampshire. She holds a MA in Arts Administration from Goucher College and a BA in Theatre from Dartmouth College as well as the Certified Fund Raising Executive professional credential. She joined NCPG in 2011.
Dr. Heang Leung Rubin is a national expert on stakeholder and community engagement whose work is informed by 25 years as a researcher, teacher, and advocate. She is a community engagement consultant working on Project RISE, an emotional wellness intervention targeting Chinese, Haitian, Portugese, and Latinx communities in Chinatown and Everett that is funded by Office of Problem Services at the Department of Public Health. She is the lead investigator on the MGC-funded Asian CARES project, a community engaged research project that looked at problem gambling in three cities in Boston in collaboration with four Asian American-serving community-based organization. She was the former Director of the ADAPT (Addressing Disparities in Asian Populations through Translational research), a project of the Tufts Clinical Translational Science Institute which built an authentic academic community research partnership between Tufts and Chinatown. Her diverse training in urban planning, education, and public health gives her a broad base to assess and address community-identified problems. As community storyteller and writer, she is committed to writing and amplifying authentic stories about the community that honor their histories, assets, and resilience.
Loreen Rugle, PhD, ICGC-II/BACC, Dr. Rugle brings 30 + years of experience in the field of problem and responsible gambling including treatment, prevention, research and responsible gambling to her current positions. She has managed problem gambling programs within the Veterans Administration, in the private sector, and within state systems. She has participated in research on brief screening for gambling problems, as well as a broad range of other problem gambling-related research projects. She has provided consultation and training on gambling disorder throughout the United States, for the military, and internationally. She is focusing her work on teaching, consulting, and supervision balanced with mindfulness practice.
Jesse Saccoccio is the Director of PlayCommand at IGT. Under his scope of responsibilities is development of responsible gaming functionality in the digital product and back-office management system.
Vena Schexnayder is with ARPG Council President and Chairman of the Board has over 10 years of marketing and business development experience in addiction recovery. She communicates with strategic stakeholders to create meaningful connections within various health care and governmental agencies. She has helped to develop strategic mental health campaigns through her use of impactful storytelling. She is a graduate of the University of Arkansas Little Rock and current graduate student at the Louisiana State University School of Social Work.
Andrew J. Schreier, ICGC-I is an Independent Clinical Supervisor, Clinical Substance Abuse Counselor, and Licensed Professional Counselor. He is a member of the Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling and is an International Certified Gambling Counselor – I. Mr. Schreier is a currently a Clinical Supervisor at Community Medical Services that provides medicated-assisted treatment for individuals with opioid dependency. He also works at New Life Resources, Inc. that provides individual counseling/therapy, children and adolescent services, and couples/marital counseling. Mr. Schreier is the host of Talking Addiction & Recovery Podcast.
Ala is a Jordanian pediatrician living in Columbus, Ohio since 2009. She trained at Nationwide Children’s Hospital where she currently works. Her career path in medicine aligns with her role in Ohio in Arabic as she genuinely values the human part of each interaction, cares deeply about humanity, and is committed to the missions of service and mentorship.
Jennifer Shatley, PhD, currently provides consulting services on all aspects of responsible gaming at UNLV’s International Gaming Institute (IGI). In this role, she leads the initiative to establish a Center for Gambling, Policy, and Health (subject to final university approvals), oversees the organization’s consulting and training efforts, and conducts policy sessions through the International Center for Gaming Regulations. Dr. Shatley has worked in gaming for 25-years with extensive leadership to support current and future goals surrounding the progression of gambling policy and compliance. As a thought leader in the gambling industry, she has been the catalyst for numerous “firsts.” Dr. Shatley conceptualized and led the development, implementation, and administration of first-of-its-kind Responsible Gaming Ambassador training in the US, developing the role to proactively engage customers to promote responsible play. Her innovation led to the development of the industry’s first patented responsible gaming IT application that leveraged technology to improve compliance and allow for tracking and implementation of policy and regulatory mandates.
Nathan Smith, PhD is the Executive Director of the Kindbridge Research Institute, the only organization in the US with the sole goal of improving telehealth treatment for people experiencing harm from gambling, gaming, and other behavioral addictions. He has worked in the field of gambling disorder research since 2009. Dr. Smith holds a PhD in Psychiatric Epidemiology from the University of Florida where his PhD mentor was Linda B. Cottler.
Jackie Stanmyre serves as Assistant Director of the Center for Gambling Studies in the Rutgers University School of Social Work. In this role, she is focused on research, managing grant-funded projects and clinical training activities within the CGS. Her research interests include evaluating play-by-play data of online and sports gamblers, sports wagering legalization implications, etiology and screening for problem gambling, and training and treatment for individuals with behavioral addictions.
Sasha Stark PhD is a Senior Researcher at the Responsible Gambling Coucil and RG+ in Toronto, Canada. Dr. Stark has more than a decade of gambling research experience in both academic and non-profit settings to guide her work. She has engaged both Canadian and international stakeholders in the responsible gambling space. Dr. Stark’s more recent projects focus on re–envisioning youth gambling prevention, developing, and evaluating responsible gambling training for various levels of staff, participating in community-based prevention programs, and exploring the implications of sports betting and cannabis expansion.
James Syphax serves as a Community Prevention Manager at Prevention Action Alliance, the state-level behavioral health prevention provider in Ohio. In addition to providing training and technical assistance to prevention coalitions across Ohio James also manages the agency’s problem gambling prevention activities. James is a member of Ohio’s Problem Gambling Advisory Board, is part of the team managing Ohio’s Before You Bet and Change the Game campaign and serves on NCPG’s prevention committee and emerging trends subcommittee. Prior to serving at Prevention Action Alliance James was a community coalition coordinator and school-based prevention specialist.
Richard L. Taylor, Jr. is the Responsible Gambling Program Manager for BetMGM where he oversees the company’s responsible gambling strategy, initiatives, and functions. Prior to his current role, Richard worked for MGM Resorts International as its Executive Director of Responsible Gaming and Military Affairs. Under his leadership, MGM Resorts received multiple awards from the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) for its work promoting responsible gambling with employees, guests, and the public.
In addition to his current role, Richard serves as the Chair of the NCPG’s Military Committee. Born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, he is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration.
Christian Teja is the Director of Communications at the Massachusetts State Lottery. Prior to joining the Lottery in 2014, Teja served as the Vice President of Marketing & Communications at Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston. In both of these capacities, he has played a leading role in the planning and execution of responsible gambling initiatives.
He began his professional career at the ESPN television network in Bristol, CT. He is a 1994 graduate of Boston College. He presently resides in Holbrook, MA.
Elizabeth Thielen is a Problem and Compulsive Gambling Counselor at Nicasa Behavioral Health Services in Lake County, Illinois with over 20 years in the addictions field. She is passionate about increasing awareness of gambling disorder in the community and among helping professionals. A former amateur athlete, Elizabeth is also committed to helping athletes avoid disordered gambling. Neutral on the subject of adult, regulated gambling, she collaborates with any interested party, including gambling establishments and regulators, community leaders and elected officials, individuals, educators and businesses, to prevent disordered gambling and help those already affected to access services and support.
Chrissy Thurmond is Director of Responsible Gaming at DraftKings Inc. She is responsible for providing employees and customers with education, safer play gaming information, tools and resources and developing and maintaining external stakeholder relationships. Before joining DraftKings, Chrissy was a senior business contributor at the Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health (MACGH) where she was instrumental in hiring the GameSense Advisors who are promoting responsible gaming and educating patrons on casino games in all Massachusetts casinos. Prior to her time with the MACGH, Chrissy worked at Harvard Medical School, where she served in various leadership positions.
Dan Trolaro is the VP of Prevention – US for EPIC Risk Management. He graduated from The College of New Jersey with a major in Finance and a concentration in Economics and spent 12 years in the world of Investment Banking. Despite a successful career, Dan had also been suffering in silence with a gambling disorder since high school. In 2013, and after a series of life events, he went on to receive his Master’s in Psychology to help educate others around the country on prevention, education, and emerging trends in the world of gambling.
Representative Paul Tucker has served the general public and the Commonwealth for over 30 years with a distinguished career as a police officer, a Police Chief, and later the State Representative in the city of Salem. During his service as a law enforcement officer, Representative Tucker held leadership positions on the executive board of the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs Association and the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council. Representative Tucker utilized his expertise as a former police Chief, in his service in the House of Representatives and was able to successfully help reform fentanyl and carfentanil trafficking laws. Additionally, Representative Tucker championed the rights and protections for transgendered individuals and has advocated for police education and training reforms. In 2021 State Representative Paul Tucker was appointed by Speaker of the House, Ronald Mariano to serve as the Vice-Chair of the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government for the 192nd Session. In addition to serving in this new leadership role in the House Representatives, Representative Tucker will continue to serve on the joint committees on Ways and Means, Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery, and the joint committee on Transportation. Lastly, this will be Representative’s last term in the House of Representatives; however, the Representative is campaigning to become the Essex County District Attorney this coming election.
Rachel Volberg, PhD has been involved in research on gambling and problem gambling since 1985. She has directed or consulted on numerous studies around the world, published extensively, and advised governments and private sector organizations on issues related to gambling legalization, the epidemiology of problem gambling, and public policy approaches to developing and refining services for problem gamblers and their families. Dr. Volberg is currently the Principal Investigator on two major studies funded by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission: The Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA) study and the Massachusetts Gambling Impact Cohort (MAGIC) study.
Heather Wardle is an academic specialising in the study of gambling behaviour, policy, and practice. She worked in gambling studies for 15 years, leading some of Britain’s most high-profile projects. She has recently published her first book Games without Frontiers? looking at the growing intersection between gaming and gambling. She is currently leading the Lancet Public Health Commission on Gambling.
Marlene Warner is the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health and has been with the Council since 2001. She is also a founding member of the Spectrum Safer Gaming Associates. She works to address player health and safer gaming domestically and internationally within land-based casinos, lotteries, sports betting operators, online gaming platforms, and racing venues. She received her M.A. from the George Washington University and B.A. from Gettysburg College. She lives in Salem, MA with her husband and three children.
Kevin Wensing is a leader in the military and veterans’ community advising organizations and companies following 30-years of service to America in the US Navy and the Pentagon. He works with various business and non-profit enterprises as a senior advisor on business development, fundraising. special events, media relations, crisis communications, and strategic planning. Planned & executed the U.S. Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Commemoration opening ceremony with the President of the United States, Vice President, and other national leaders, Veterans, and military families on Memorial Day 2012. He is a founding member of the Warrior Cup Invitational Golf Championships and served as Chair of the Military Committee for the 2017 PGA Senior Championships. He has also supported several Hollywood productions and appeared in the 2001 film “Pearl Harbor.”
Keith S. Whyte became the Executive Director of the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) in October 1998. NCPG is the national advocate for programs and services to assist problem gamblers and their families. NCPG was founded in 1972 and is the oldest and most objective organization on gambling issues.
Previously, Mr. Whyte served as Director of Research for the American Gaming Association where he was responsible for research and public policy issues, including problem gambling. His prior experience includes the American Bar Association’s Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities where he dealt with policy issues relating to civil rights, human rights, healthcare, and immigration law. He began his career working on healthcare policy in the office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Keith graduated from Hampden-Sydney College with a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Certificate in International Relations. He also studied at Leiden University, the Netherlands.
Mr. Whyte has presented in 39 US states and Austria, Bahamas, Canada, France, Greece, Hong Kong, Macau, Malawi, New Zealand, Spain, South Africa and the United Kingdom. He has written numerous articles, studies and book chapters on gaming issues. In addition, Keith has testified four times before the United States Congress on gambling-related legislation. He regularly discusses gaming issues in national and international print, radio and broadcast media, including appearances on ABC News, ABC News Nightline, CBS News, CBS Today Show, Dateline NBC, NBC Nightly News, Fox News, ESPN, CNN, CNN International, Voice of America and the BBC. Keith is an Editorial Board member of Gaming Law Review and Analysis of Gambling Behavior. He is a member of the International Masters in Gaming Law Responsible Gaming Committee. Keith also serves as a reviewer for the Journal of Gambling Issues and the Alberta Gaming Research Institute, and sits on the Advisory Boards of the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors at McGill University and the Center for Gambling Studies at Rutgers University. A longtime resident of Arlington, Virginia with his wife Stacey and son Ian, Keith is an appointed member of the Arlington Community Services Board, precinct captain for the Arlington County Democratic Committee, delegate to the Arlington Civic Federation and longtime volunteer for the Arlington Food Assistance Center. He is an avid cyclist who rides more than 3,000 miles per year and a passionate supporter of the D.C. United soccer team.
Amanda Winters is the Problem Gambling Program Administrator for the State of North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services. Amanda has worked in the field of Problem and Responsible Gambling for seven years, authoring a chapter for and participating in research with Harvard’s Division on Addiction, and overseeing prevention activities for the state. Prior to that, she worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention years as a public health advisor, serving the United State’s Insular Area, and is a graduate of the CDC’s PHAP fellowship program. Amanda recently completed a Certificate in Workplace Diversity Equity and Inclusion from the University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business, she holds Master’s degrees in Psychology, Social Work, and Public Health and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology as well as Social Work.
Yoyo Yau is the chief program officer at the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center and adjunct professor at Lesley University. She is a licensed mental health counselor with a background in mental health counseling, and brain injury recovery. She has worked with non-profits, hospital settings, and state agencies to provide assessment, treatment, and crisis intervention. She was selected as a member of Anna Faith Jones & Frieda Garcia Women of Color Leadership 2020. She has a bachelor’s degree in social work from Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and a master’s in expressive therapy from Lesley University.
David Yeager United States Army Veteran, Dave Yeager, has devoted his life to helping and advocating for those in recovery from problem gambling. He hosts the podcast “Fall In: The Problem Gambling Podcast for Military Service Members and Veterans.” He is also the author of “Be Happy with Crappy: A Journey Through Trauma, Addiction, Rock-Bottom, and Recovery.” As a member of the military committee for the National Council on Problem Gambling, the words that describe Dave are advocate, commitment, driven, and resilient.