March 2015 (Vol. 18, Iss. 1)

Get Involved — and Bring a Friend!

In this issue, you’ll find a lot of information about how you can get involved with NCPG, our state Affiliates, and both responsible gaming and problem gambling. We know you are a Member, since you are receiving this newsletter—but feel free to share it with others and invite them to join you in participating in these important programs—not least of which is Problem Gambling Awareness Month! But they might be equally interested in becoming a member, getting some responsible gaming training, or attending the National Conference on Problem Gambling, coming up soon in July in Baltimore, Maryland. We’re excited by the many programs and many opportunities to engage with you and other stakeholders, and we’re always looking for new friends with which to Have the Conversation!

PGAM Logo 350x225px

March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM)!

As you know, problem gambling is a public health issue affecting relationships, families, businesses and communities. During the month of March, we work especially hard to raise awareness about problem gambling. The goal of this campaign is to educate the public and healthcare professionals about the warning signs of problem gambling and promote the availability of help and hope both locally and nationally. PGAM is a grassroots effort and NCPG State Affiliates are the driving force of the campaign. There are many ways to participate in PGAM and NCPG is here to help you make the most of it.

NCPG encourages all stakeholders to Have the Conversation. Most adults gamble or know someone who gambles, and therefore could benefit from programs to prevent gambling addiction. We believe that many who suffer in silence do so because they don’t know why they developed a problem, what gambling addiction is, or where to get help. PGAM helps answer these questions and provides information on what to do next.

President’s Message

From the President
From the Executive Director
Next Generation Helpline
PGAM Grassroots
PGAM – New Look
PGAM Resources
Harm Reduction Strategies
Counselor’s Corner
Gambling Disorder Has No Border
Regulatory Agencies & Problem Gambling
Book Bag
NCPG Staff
Changes in NJ
Organizational Members
NCPG President Maureen Greeley

To See the World in a Grain of Sand…

Grassroots Advocacy May Start Out Small, But It Can Be One of the Greatest Tools for Change

March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month. What does that mean? Do we need an Awareness Month?

Well, there are plenty of awareness months and days on our calendars – Autism Awareness Month, National Guide Dog Month, LGBT Pride Month, National Ice Cream Month (it’s in July – I’m all for participating while we are at the NCPG National Conference in Baltimore), National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, National Fire Prevention Month… umm, shouldn’t we always try to prevent fires?

And, shouldn’t we always be trying to raise awareness of the issues surrounding problem gambling? Of course, the answer is yes. But the purpose of a special awareness day, or month, is to help harness the energy of myriad grassroots advocacy efforts to shine a focused spotlight on raising awareness of important humanitarian, cultural, social, and political issues across the country or around the world. This takes an ocean of people (each tiny grain of sand) coming together in a grassroots advocacy movement in their your corner of the world to create a movement around an issue they you feel is not being addressed appropriately by government officials and other entities with the power to determine the response to the issue.

So, if grassroots efforts are at the state or local level, what is NCPG’s role in Problem Gambling Awareness Month?

Organizing with others can increase the power of grassroots movements by creating a united group of concerned people – one grain of sand in your shoe can get your attention, but an entire beachfront – now that is hard to ignore. In fact, it will likely draw attention and, we can hope, action. NCPG can play an important role in advocacy at the Federal level, for sure, and can add clout to the numerous grassroots efforts of Affiliates, Members, Supporters, Voices of Recovery, and more. Successful advocacy takes great communication, organization, and leadership – we look to NCPG to help our local, state, and regional efforts in this way.

Just think, if EVERY NCPG Member, Supporter, Organizational Partner, and every State Council Member, Supporter, Organizational Partner, participated in Problem Gambling Awareness Month this year – what might we achieve? It takes every one of us in our unique roles to find success, just as it takes a variety of elements like quartz grains, limestone, coral, and gypsum to make a beautiful beach. Don’t ever feel that your role isn’t crucial.

So, how can you participate in Problem Gambling Awareness Month this year? Have the Conversation!

If communication is the key, think about who you can Have the Conversation with in your home, in your workplace, in your son’s school, on your daughter’s team, at your next appointment. Who needs to hear about the effects of problem gambling? Who could play a role in helping someone who is affected by problem gambling? Who can help with prevention efforts that help others make healthy choices? Who can help employers and employees understand the meaning of responsible gambling?

Have the conversation with students and their teachers, counselors, coaches, and school nurse. Have the conversation with your own physician or physician’s assistant, your friends, your minister, and your financial advisor. Have the conversation with policy makers, legislators, lawyers, judges, patrol and probation officers. Let’s continue and expand our efforts to reach out to treatment providers, whether marriage and family counselors, substance abuse and mental health counselors, or clinical social workers. Let’s continue and expand our efforts to reach out to the gaming industry members in our states. Hey, let’s reach out to our neighbors and friends – one of the best conversations to raise awareness of problem gambling issues for me was in the grocery line when the Lotto jackpot was high.

Wherever you Have the Conversation, do it because you believe it is important; because you are passionate about making a difference; because you can see a new world in that grain of sand. Then, share what you say, what you hear, and what you learn. Because Problem Gambling Awareness Month is a start – it is a banner to proclaim the work we all do, year in and year out. It is the time to communicate your successes and challenges with the rest of your NCPG colleagues and family. We can learn from each other. We can support each other.

That’s what grassroots efforts are all about.

Maureen Greeley, President, NCPG Board of Directors

Executive Director’s Letter

NCPG Executive Director Keith Whyte

Thank You

If you’re reading this, you’re a member of NCPG. You may be a certified gambling counselor. Perhaps you or a family member had a gambling problem. You could be working in a university setting, helping to unlock the mysteries of this addiction. Maybe you represent a state Affiliate Council. Or you work in the gaming industry—whether for a tribal government, a state lottery or a casino corporation.

No other organization in the problem gambling or gambling field has such a diverse membership as NCPG. We truly bring together all stakeholders. I would like to thank you for being a member. Membership supports our vital programs and also provides an opportunity for individuals and organizations to share information, discuss and debate issues and hopefully find common ground. March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month — one of our biggest and most important programs that provides an opportunity for every member to participate and that we ask every member to support.

In her letter (above), NCPG President Maureen Greeley talks about why a Problem Gambling Awareness Month matters and what grassroots efforts mean for our Affiliates and Members from her perspective as an Executive Director of an Affiliate Council. NCPG Program Administrator Amy Feinberg and the PGAM Committee chaired by Jeff Beck have done an exceptional job in putting together a wide range of materials, available free of charge. But these materials are just a starting point, a template, a means to an end. We challenge you to find innovative ways to use these materials to Have the Conversation in your families, workplaces and communities.

But all such grassroots efforts start with a small seed. They start with a dedicated group of members whose commitment and generosity supports and sustains our programs and services. Your membership contribution is multiplied many times, over as the seed we planted together ten years ago has grown deep roots—the PGAM campaign is now flourishing and touches people across America.

Thank you for being a member. We hope you participate in PGAM and that you are proud of the national program you help provide.

—Keith Whyte

Next Generation Helpline

In 2015, we’re enhancing the National Problem Gambling Helpline (800.522.4700) to include Text and Chat services. These new features will enable those who are gambling online or on their mobile phones to access help the same way they play. By adding text and chat alongside the existing voice network, NCPG will increase accessibility and provide greater privacy. The new text and chat services will be integrated into our existing distributed network of state and regional call centers that cover the entire country — one call, chat or text to get problem gambling help anywhere in the US 24/7. The National Problem Gambling Helpline is our national “911” safety net for problem gamblers and their loved ones. This enhanced program also includes partnering with a 24/7 online peer support forum. The next generation of gambling help and hope is coming to NCPG!

PGAM: Grassroots Media Outreach

By Kristin West, Evergreen Council on Problem Gambling and PR Newswire

March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month. Each year, NCPG provides logos, press releases, kits, discussion topics and more. But what should each State Affiliate do with this information? A great way to increase awareness of problem gambling is to get a news story in your local paper or on a popular blog. Contacting the media isn’t as daunting as it may seem, but there are ways to make it easier to ensure you get coverage. Also, sometimes other media outlets will pick up and re-distribute the story, reaching an even wider audience for no extra work! A little bit of effort can have a BIG impact.

News Icon - 2015 Mar NCPG Newsletter

Here’s what to do:
· Email or call reporters directly at local news outlets to “pitch” your story
On the website or in the physical paper of a newspaper, there will be a list of the staff with their names, emails and phone numbers—in print ,it’s referred to as the “masthead.” Make sure you’re addressing the appropriate person! For example, if Joe Smith covers crime and Betty June covers local news, you would want to contact Betty directly, bypassing Joe. Your message may be ignored if it’s not directed to the appropriate person – don’t expect them to forward it for you.
Triple-check the spelling of all names! There’s nothing more offensive to a potential ally than having his or her name misspelled.

· Be persistent!
If at first you don’t hear back, try, try again. Just like everyone else, reporters are busy people – in fact, with the budget cuts of most newspapers and media outlets, they’re busier than ever before. This can also work in your favor, though. Media needs content in order to survive, which brings us to…

· Package it for the press
NCPG’s press releases help with this step. You don’t want to create extra work for the person you’re working with. Most stories will cover the basic “who, what, where, when, why and how;” and the press releases from NCPG give media personnel enough information to work in to a story.

· Pictures, pictures, pictures!
While not every publication is going to have the space for photos, if they can use them, make sure you have something ready and that you are the copyright holder. Additionally, images should be large and high-resolution, ideally 300 dpi. (If you’re not sure about working with images some quick online searches can help.)

· Utilize people in recovery who are willing to talk to media
“Feature” stories cover topics in-depth and try to have an emotional and personal angle to them, rather than just reporting the news and facts. If you know someone in recovery who is willing to share their story, pitching that as a human interest piece will be a lot more interesting to the media and to readers than facts and statistics. Also, they may be willing to publish a story where the person speaks on the condition of anonymity – I once did a feature on a recovering food addict, and it ended up on the front page of the Sunday paper, without her name or face being used.

PGAM – New Look, Shorter Name

This year, NCPG and our PGAM Committee launched a shorter name for the campaign – we dropped the word ‘National’ – and created a new PGAM logo, which features an awareness ribbon and a new theme “Have the Conversation,” a versatile phrase that can be used as an icebreaker in many different situations that surround this difficult addiction—kudos to the Northeast Affiliates group on the slogan!

There are many ways to Have the Conversation and we challenge all our Members to participate: explore the suggestions below, come up with your own initiatives, and share what you do.

Some suggestions:

Hold a training or conference on problem gambling and/or responsible gaming.
Issue press releases or run public service announcements.
Encourage healthcare providers to include gambling screens in their patient assessments. See the template letter for addiction counselors to help you get started reaching your area providers.
Seek a state proclamation in honor of PGAM from your governor or state legislature.

PGAM Resources on NCPG’s Website

How are you observing PGAM this year? How are you having the conversation about problem gambling?

Problem Gambling
Awareness Month


Email: . Please share what you’re doing, including photos, art files, news stories, or anything else you want!

This is a visual representation of some interesting facts in an eye-catching layout which you can post on your website. See a preview of it further below in Affiliate News.

Resource Guide
This is a printable resource to have at events and is accessible for all audiences.

Sample Proclamation
Contact the office of your governor or state legislator and ask them to issue a proclamation in support of Problem Gambling Awareness Month. Attach the sample text to make it easy for them to say yes!

Press Releases
NCPG will publish press releases in February and March. They will be posted to the NCPG website on the day they are released (February 19, March 3, March 12) and State Affiliates are welcome to sign on to the releases or re- use them once they are posted.

Grassroots Media Outreach
Need help contacting the media? Find tips on working with media below, in the Grassroots Media Outreach article.

Email Amy at for design files for the new logo.

Counselor’s Corner

Harm Reduction Strategies for Continued Gambling

By Michael Mooney, Choices Counseling Center

Since January 2014, I have been utilizing a “Harm Reduction” worksheet that I designed when counseling some of the problem gamblers that I see in a clinical setting. I have found it to be of particular value when working with casino gamblers who score mild to moderate on the DSM-5 criteria for a Gambling Disorder diagnosis, which is typically in the 3 to 6 “yes” endorsement range. In therapy, we discuss the client’s ability to maintain strict adherence to this plan, as being a factor in their continued gambling. If the client finds it a struggle to stay within their self-determined boundaries, a plan of gambling abstinence is then suggested. This worksheet can be updated at every therapy session.

Harm Reduction Strategies for Continued Gambling

Lessen frequency of trips to the casino. Predetermine how often you can gamble without causing problems. Remember that “loss of time” can be as problematic as loss of money. (Note: Most non-problem gamblers do not gamble more than once or twice per month).
I feel that it is safe for me to gamble______ day(s) per week; or_______ days per month.

Set boundaries of playing time. Prior to gambling, first establish an exit time, example; “win or lose, I will leave at ?? o’clock.” Many non-problem gamblers leave the casino after three to four hours of play.
I will limit my gambling to _______ hours per trip to the casino.

Only bring CASH that you can easily afford to lose. Do not bring ATM cards, credit cards, check books, etc.
I will only bring $_________ cash to the casino and leave if I lose this amount.

Pay all household bills/expenses before going to the casino. Determine what money is left to gamble with after first taking care of normal weekly/monthly expenditures.
I will only use money left over from normal expenditures (see #3).

Do not fall into a practice of “cashing in” on all free play/dinner comps that the casinos offer.
I will not automatically respond to every casino offer (see #1).

Ask someone (friend, family member) who is aware of your need to limit your playing time and/or losses to accompany you and allow them to hold you accountable to the above Harm Reduction Strategies.
I will ask ______________.

Remove all casino winnings from gaming; do not re-circulate winnings back into play.
If I do win, I will not re-play this money. I will adhere to my gaming plan.

Members are invited to submit articles for the next newsletter. Limit: 500 words. NCPG reserves the right to edit for length and clarity. Please send your article to . Deadline: March 26, 2015. Thank you!

Addiction Counselors Need Awareness of Gambling Disorders

By Jeff Beck, JD, CCGC (NJ)

Most addiction counselors are aware of signs and symptoms of drugs and alcohol disorders. They can smell the alcohol, they can see the track marks, they can observe client behavior suggestive of a problem. However, many addiction counselors are not as educated about gambling disorders. Gambling is often thought of as an invisible addiction: blood tests, urine screens and hair follicles cannot detect gambling behavior. Gambling disorders are now listed in DSM-5 as an addiction, the first time a behavior without ingestion of substances is recognized as an addiction.

March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month and this year’s theme is “Have the Conversation.” This is an especially appropriate message for addiction counselors. If we think of recovery as a holistic experience, encompassing all parts of a client’s life, it is imperative that addiction professionals talk to their clients about gambling.

Research tells us that approximately 30% of individuals in treatment for drug and alcohol issues have gambling problems, and 50% of gamblers in treatment have drug and alcohol issues. Whether or not you believe in the addictive personality, it is clear that having one addiction increases the risk for a second addiction.

Substitution or switching of addictions is a real phenomenon. Often a person will stop drinking or drugging but then seek another way to get the same feeling. They may turn to gambling to replace the arousal or escape that had previously been provided by the drugs or alcohol. Often this is done without awareness of the compensatory behavior.

Gambling can also be a trigger for relapse. A client is 60 days off alcohol and decides to go to the casino — free drinks are available and we know this “testing or tempting” can be a relapse trigger. If we think of addiction as a learned response — a way to celebrate good fortune or commiserate over negative events — a gambling win or loss can thus act as a catalyst for a return to drug or alcohol use.

There are gambling screens that can be used as part of an assessment. However, it is my experience that many clients will not bring up gambling issues as they do not see that as a major focus. Engaging in a conversation about gambling in a non-judgmental, matter-of-fact way can help encourage disclosure and honesty. March is a great time to have the conversation. Knowledge about a gambling disorder can be reflected within a treatment plan. The National Council on Problem Gambling or one of its State Affiliates can provide you with the necessary information and support to recognize gambling disorders and make it a part of the treatment process. This allows for better service to the client, and after all, our goal is to help the client access the recovery path.

Jeff Beck is a Certified Compulsive Gambling Counselor and Assistant Director of Clinical Services, Research and Treatment at the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, and serves on NCPG’s Board of Directors.

Gambling Disorder Has No Border in 2015!

Sharing Resources and Creating Opportunities with Northeast Partners

By Krystle Kelly, Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling

In an effort to share resources and learn more about programs, organizations from Rhode Island to Maine have created a Northeast Consortium on Problem Gambling which meets twice a year for one full day of updates and discussion. This group of leaders includes Councils from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island; stakeholder organizations from Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont; and key members of public health and mental health agencies, lotteries and gaming commissions, and other organizations in these states.

This partnership has launched innovative ideas in an effort to synchronize Council messaging for Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM). There are many reasons that partnership is an important tool for the Northeast region. With limited resources, these meetings and programs allow us to host planning sessions with combined funds, appeal to the media as an informed unit with many different experiences based on years of legalized gambling in each state, allow us to share important speakers with vast knowledge about disordered gambling, and focus on providing staff assistance to small Councils that are still in their infancy and are struggling to secure funding.

While people experiencing gambling problems easily cross state lines to gamble, and often contact multiple Councils for assistance, we too should create a shared approach with consistent messaging throughout the month of March to highlight awareness and resources.

With this plan in mind, the Consortium members have produced a number of activities throughout the month of March including;

–A press conference on March 2nd at 10am in Springfield, MA, near the site of the MGM casino to launch PGAM. The Consortium will invite key legislators and the media to discuss our continuum of care across borders.

–A social media calendar with designated conversations and shared posts throughout the month including the tagline ‘Have the Conversation’ and #havetheconvo. These posts are coordinated by committee members with shared content from all Councils, including videos addressing the families of problem gamblers from Connecticut, outreach around veterans’ issues from New York, and a March Madness specific PSA from Massachusetts. Each week of March will include a different focus for each post (in order of appearance): Prevention, Intervention, Treatment, and Recovery.

–A private Facebook group page for family members and friends of problem gamblers run by clinicians and Council participants from multiple states that will lead the conversation between members and upload helpful resources.

–Creating New England-region focused press releases that charge readers with the power to ‘Have the Conversation’ with their friends and family members.

–Co-hosting a community forum to gather stakeholders and impacted people.

Our goal is to create a team of support across our region to help us address our individual challenges and enhance our effectiveness. Together we are stronger than the sum of our parts and we hope to be a stronger team of leaders for our communities.

For more information about the Northeast Consortium on Problem Gambling or any of these strategies, please contact Krystle at .


Next Affiliates Committee meeting: Thursday, March 19, 2015. Contact Wiley Harwell or Janet Miller for access information via .

Regulatory Agencies: A Key Piece in the Puzzle of Addressing Problem Gambling

By Liz Lanza, Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board

A united approach to combatting the perils of problem gambling is a necessity. It is crucial for every piece of the puzzle to fit properly in order for each recovering problem gambler to see the full picture. Treatment providers are needed to maintain personal contact with each client, to ensure they are receiving the best treatment program for their recovery. Problem gambling activists, like the National Council and each state affiliate, are needed to raise awareness of the issues of problem gambling that touch millions of people’s lives. Health and mental welfare departments are another important puzzle piece that includes prevention programs and often the funding for these and other programs.   Even the gambling industry holds an invaluable position when donating funds for problem gambling studies and education efforts. With all of these pieces coming together, it appears that all aspects of problem gambling treatment, awareness, prevent-ion and research are covered.

Yet, there is another group that is, unfortunately, often missing. I write this article today to challenge those who make up this piece to take part in and help to complete the problem gambling puzzle.

Gaming regulatory bodies make up this key piece that is frequently absent. What can regulators bring to the table in terms of problem gambling? Why should regulators be a part of the problem gambling community?

In 2006, the Pennsylvania Gambling Control Board (PGCB) created the Office of Compulsive and Problem Gambling (OCPG) under the purview of a director. The PGCB took its role as a regulatory body and a decision-making board quite seriously. The board members recognized that while they had a licensing guru, an enforcement authority and a slew of legal gaming specialists, they also needed a dedicated professional who understood the depths of problem gambling. The board selected Nan Horner to fill the newly created director role. She was already well versed in gaming law and proceeded to immerse herself in studies and research papers, picked the brains of problem gambling experts and traveled near and far to gain the most comprehensive understanding of the disease. The creation of Pennsylvania’s Self-Exclusion Program, mandating Compulsive and Problem Gambling Plans and participating in National Problem Gambling Awareness Week or NPGAW (now PGAM) events are a few of the OCPG’s accomplish-ments since its inception, which continue to this day.

As regulators, we have a duty to protect citizens, including every patron at every casino within our jurisdiction. Programs like self-exclusion are necessary, but so is commitment to the “big picture.” Regulators need to become involved with other key players in the problem gambling realm. By doing so, it will become clear how our decisions and directives can affect and help people who are experiencing a gambling problem.

I am proud to say that the PGCB is the first ever gaming regulatory body to become an Organizational Member of the National Council on Problem Gambling. If you are a regulator, I challenge you to become an active member of the NCPG. Let us come together to show the nation that, as regulators, we not only care about our job of gaming oversight, but we take an interest in those who are affected by the decisions we make.

Liz Lanza is the Director of the   Office of Compulsive and Problem Gambling at the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

Book Bag

By Keith Whyte

· Wild Game by Blayne Davis. Self Published, pp. 507 (2013)
· The Big Fix: The Hunt For Match Fixers Bringing Down Soccer by Brett Forrest. William Morrow, pp. 288 (2014)
· All Bets Are Off by Arnie & Sheila Wexler with Steve Jacobson. Central Recovery Press, pp. 167 (2014)

This issue’s Book Bag focuses on sports betting. Sports and gambling have always co-existed, and when money is bet on the outcome of a game the potential for corruption is never far behind. These books provide very different perspectives on how gambling on sports—whether driven by greed or gambling addiction—affect institutions and individuals.

Wild Game - 2015 Mar NCPG Newsletter

Wild Game is a lurid thriller about sports betting and match fixing filled with exotic locales, slick spies, exclusive nightclubs, expensive suits, dramatic betrayals and vast sums of money. An array of cops, con-men, and coaches intersect with Triads, the Mafia and the Vatican Bank. The protagonist starts Advanced Quantitative Sports Research after befriending a mobster in jail while serving a prison sentence for insider-trading. AQSR uses both sophisticated computers and old-fashioned extortion to “predict” the outcomes of games around the world, then touts and sells the picks to gamblers. Hidden at the heart of the story but ringing true are the often desperate gamblers who pay outrageous sums for the information—characters like Dr. Dwight Sloan:

“The morning ritual of gamblers was to narrate last night’s play to themselves – the specific bad cards they were dealt, and of course how close they were to hitting the number straight up, no less than ten times while playing roulette. All those memories cut through the fogginess of his mind as he neatly stacked and counted the chips, finally securing them with today’s plan of attack on how he would not only get back his losses but also would dominate and destroy Vegas in the process. Yes, that was the plan of attack that was currently being contemplated by tens of thousands of people waking up in casino rooms around the world.”

Big Fix - 2015 Mar NCPG Newsletter

Brett Forrest, a contributing writer for ESPN, investigates the real world of international match fixing in The Big Fix, focusing on the career of Wilson Raj Perumal. Despite being pursued by Interpol and FIFA, Permual couldn’t stop as his gambling addiction meant the money was flowing out faster than it came in. He describes himself:

“A gambler takes risks.   When you have no more chips to push, you will find a way. You have to lie. Gamblers are like drug addicts. We will bullshit. We will take ten dollars out from your pocket. Because this is an addiction.”

Perumal fixed hundreds of soccer matches as part of a loosely organized international ring based in Singapore with deep connections to Asian organized crime. The ring relied on corrupt players, referees and soccer federations to fix games and at times even fabricate entire matches. There is so much money at stake that occasionally the truth in the Big Fix seems stranger than the fiction of Wild Game.

All Bets Are Off - 2015 Mar NCPG Newsletter

I have to disclose that Arnie and Sheila are friends, so I may well be biased but I really appreciated All Bets Are Off. It is an honest and unflinching look at the impact of gambling addiction on the gambler and their loved ones. Ably assisted by longtime writer Steve Jacobson, the book reveals aspects of Arnie’s story that I wasn’t familiar with and Sheila’s perspective in each chapter is extremely important and powerful. Arnie was primarily a sports bettor, and he captures so well the agony and ecstasy of chasing that win. By sharing the lessons they’ve painfully and painstakingly learned over the years, Arnie and Sheila remind us that stopping gambling is merely the first step on a long and hard road to recovery.

NCPG Staff Announcement

Please welcome NCPG’s new Operations Manager, Lissa Cobetto.


Lissa joined NCPG in a consultant position as Conference Manager in 2014—you may have met her in Orlando at last year’s conference.  She became our full-time Operations Manager in January 2015. In addition to Conference Management, she  will collaborate on and produce Membership initiatives to foster  an increase in membership engagement and satisfaction. She will also work in the administration    of NCPG’s new verification programs (iCAP and NASPL).

Prior to NCPG, Lissa was the Executive Director of the American Conservation Film Festival and the Business Manager of the Contemporary American Theater Festival.  She has a strong background in non-profit administration and event management. Lissa holds a Master’s Degree in Interactive Telecommunications from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and an undergraduate degree in Theater and Business from Allegheny College in Meadville, PA.  She worked in theater and film in Pittsburgh, PA and multimedia in New York City, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Washington, DC.

Exciting Changes Happening in New Jersey

By Jeff Beck, JD, CCGC (NJ)

NJ Council logo - 2015 Mar NCPG Newsletter

The New Jersey Council on Compulsive Gambling has seen some major changes within the personnel  at the Council. Shirley Ray, who was with the Council since its inception in 1982 has retired. Shirley was the face and soul of our organization, and she will be sorely missed.

The Council has hired two prevention specialists and a program specialist  and formed several consulting arrangements.  Internet gambling licensees are required to pay the state an annual $250,000 problem gambling fee and the Council received a bulk of that money for prevention and awareness services, which finances these new employees.

The Council has also embarked on a major advertising campaign through a public relations and advertising firm. This entails daily Facebook entries, daily tweets, billboards, cable TV commercials and other measures designed to increase awareness of problem gambling. We have promoted chat and text functions to go alongside the helpline calls.

The Council has conducted training on Internet Gambling for a new Internet gambling provider, and this is repeated whenever they hire new employees.

The Council has spearheaded a Responsible Gaming Workgroup, made up of all stakeholders in the gambling process including gambling industry, gambling regulators, educators, public policy proponents, counselors and gamblers. This is designed to create a responsible gaming plan for New Jersey and reflects the spirit of cooperation we believe is vital for responsible gaming to flourish.


The 29th National Conference on Problem Gambling will be held at the Baltimore Hilton Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Maryland — bring the family! Hosted by the Maryland Council on Problem Gambling and the Maryland Center of Excellence on Problem Gambling, Univ. of Maryland School of Medicine.

  • Pre-Conference July 8-9
  • NCPG Members Annual Meeting July 9
  • Opening Reception July 9
  • Main Conference July 10-11

Online registration will open in early April. Early-bird registration deadline is May 18— NCPG members receive a discount, so join now at!

Organizational Members

Organizational Membership is for corporations and other businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies, including Tribal entities.

There are three levels. Nonprofits and government agencies may participate using substantially discounted rates. Depending on the level chosen, a number of staff or Board members are entitled to Individual Memberships as part of the benefits of the Organizational Membership. For details, visit

Organizational members play an important role in supporting NCPG — thank you!


AGEM Michigan Lottery The Rational Group
Georgia Lottery Corporation Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino
Global Cash Access Vantiv Gaming Solutions
GTECH Wind Creek Hospitality
Las Vegas Sands Corporation



Caesars Entertainment New York Gaming Association
Delaware North Companies Penn National Gaming
eBet Online, Inc Potawatomi Bingo Casino
IGT The Racing Channel, Inc.
Minnesota Lottery San Manuel Band of Mission Indians
Mohegan Sun Scientific Games International
National Football League Stronach Group
NeoPollard Interactive LLC Twin River Casino



Casino City Press Oregon Lottery
Connecticut Lottery Pala Interactive*
DC Lottery Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board*
Empire Resorts Pennsylvania Lottery
First Choice Health Systems Project Turnabout
GTECH Indiana Responsible Gaming Association of NM
Interactive Communications Rhode Island Lottery
Kentucky Lottery Secure Trading, Inc.
Linq3 Technologies Sightline Payments LLC
Lottovate United States, Inc.* Southland Gaming of the Virgin Islands
Maine Office of Substance Abuse, DHHS Texas Lottery Commission
Maryland Center of Excellence
on Problem Gambling
United Way of Rhode Island
Maryland Lottery Vermont Association for Mental Health and Addiction Recovery*
Ohio Department of Mental Health
& Addiction Services
Virgin Islands Casino Control Commission
Virginia Lottery

Current members as of February 27, 2015
*New members since last newsletter.

NCPG logo

730 11th Street, NW Suite 601
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-547-9204 Fax: 202-547-9206 E-mail:

Staff: Keith Whyte, Exec. Dir.; Barbara Rollins; Juan Lopez; Lissa Cobetto; Amy Feinberg; and Melissa Eckenrode.

Help and hope for all affected by problem gambling.

Advocacy, professional development, and networking in responsible gaming and problem gambling.

National Helpline 1-800-522-4700.

The purpose of the National Council on Problem Gambling is to serve as the national advocate for programs and services to assist problem gamblers and their families. Our vision is to improve health and wellness by reducing the personal, social and economic costs of problem gambling. Our mission is to lead state and national stakeholders in the development of comprehensive policy and programs for all those affected by problem gambling.

NCPG is neither for nor against legalized gambling. Our primary concern is to help problem gamblers and their families.

NCPG is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Contributions are tax-deductible in accordance with the law. Tax ID #51-0141872.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call the National Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-522-4700 for confidential help, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from anywhere in the United States.

Save the Date!

29th National Conference on Problem Gambling

New Challenges – Creative Solutions

July 10-11, 2015

Pre-Conference July 8 – 9, 2015

Hilton Baltimore Inner Harbor

Next to Camden Yards Stadium (Baltimore Orioles baseball!)

Hosted by the
Maryland Council on Problem Gambling and
the Maryland Center of Excellence on Problem Gambling
(University of Maryland School of Medicine)