December 2014 (Vol. 17, Iss. 4)
When the winter months embrace us, the season of giving begins, and for NCPG, giving has as many facets as the holidays. Conference planning is underway, we are planning our awareness messaging for National Problem Gambling Awareness Month (NPGAM), our Holiday Lottery Campaign is in full swing, and the National Problem Gambling Helpline is running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. In our continued work, we are giving—and encouraging giving— in many ways. We are working to give the gift of awareness of problem gambling and giving those with gambling issues a chance to be heard and to be helped.
In turn, our donors and stakeholders are giving as well, by supporting our Year-End Appeal, renewing memberships, and allowing NCPG to continue giving back by offering these critical programs. You can support this important work with your gift at www.ncpgambling.org/support-us. Thank you!
|INSIDE THIS ISSUE:|
|From the President|
|From the Executive Director|
|Stuff Stockings Responsibly|
|Holiday Lottery Campaign|
|Affiliate-Sponsored Conferences in 2015|
|Michigan’s Move to
Text and Chat Help
As 2014 rushes forward to meet a New Year, and many of us celebrate time with family and friends, I think about the many friends I’ve been fortunate to make over the past seventeen years of working with NCPG and with our State Affiliate in Washington. And, thanks to my involvement with the NCPG Board, Committees, Affiliates, and work with NCPG Staff, I’m reminded just how much we are a family of sorts – perhaps an extended family. There may be no simple definition for family but I know, for me, it goes beyond legal bonds, ancestry, or clan. For a true “family” supports each other through important things such as…
• Shared values, beliefs, and traditions
• Common experiences and activities
• Unconditional, non-judgmental support
Through NCPG and its important Mission, we share strong values. Through our Annual Conference, Grassroots Advocacy Efforts, National Problem Gambling Awareness Month, and more, we share common experiences and activities. Through our daily efforts to provide programs and services that help those experiencing problems with a gambling disorder, there is no doubt that we offer unconditional, non-judgmental support.
Thank you, for everything you do to make this possible and to make a difference for so many. It is a great honor to work with you and for you, and to share with you some of the goals that the NCPG Staff and Board have agreed on to guide our work in 2015. You can find the full list of Goals and Key Performance Indicators on the NCPG Website at www.ncpgambling.org; here are some of the highlights.
Increase Public Awareness of Problem Gambling
Increase Accessibility and Quality of Problem Gambling Services
Conduct and Support Advocacy at the State and Federal Levels
Maintain and oversee Financial and Organizational Health
I hope these highlights will inspire you to continue, and even increase, your work with and through the National Council on Problem Gambling. And, as you consider your goals and the gifts you will give as 2014 comes to a close, I hope you will keep NCPG, and all the great work we do together to lead state and national stakeholders in the development of comprehensive policy and programs for all those affected by problem gambling, in mind. Your contribution, of any amount, will make a big difference.
Wishing you all a wonderful New Year filled with Joy, Love, Laughter, and PEACE.
As the holiday season is upon us, it is a great time to look back and review our performance this year and preview our goals for next year and the subsequent five years.
Our four major annual goals are:
—To increase public awareness of problem gambling;
—To increase the accessibility and quality of problem gambling services;
—To conduct and support advocacy at the national and state levels; and
—To maintain the financial health of NCPG.
These goals are further divided into many measurable objectives. Public awareness includes programs like Problem Gambling Awareness Month and the Holiday Lottery Campaign as well as communications and responsible gaming initiatives. Running the annual National Conference on Problem Gambling is a major aspect of our goal to improve problem gambling services, as is our contract to administer counselor certification. While we help out at the state level by testifying upon request (this year in Albany, NY and Harrisburg, PA), our major focus is in Washington, DC. We met numerous times with SAMHSA, monitored internet gambling legislation, and our proposed language for a Senate bill to require the military to develop programs to prevent and treat gambling addiction was in play until the final days of the Congressional session in December.
Major new initiatives in 2014 included the development of regional groups to facilitate Affiliate communication and partnerships, releasing the first publication on the implications for problem gambling in the Affordable Care Act and developing certification programs for lotteries and internet gambling sites.
We are also at the end of our current Strategic Plan. When we created it in 2007, NCPG faced some significant challenges, many centering on our governance and membership structure. The plan paved the way for a major reorganization of the Board plus a clearer delineation of membership roles and responsibilities. Staff and members embraced the vision for a more advocacy-focused organization. I’m pleased to report the Plan was a resounding success. We accomplished a majority of the goals but more importantly, through the unglamorous but essential work of revising Bylaws, implementing a new comprehensive Association Management System (AMS) for database functions, designing and implementing a new website, revising staffing plans and generally strengthening our internal structure, we prepared ourselves to focus more on external goals over the next five years.
The 2015-2020 Strategic Plan emphasizes a strategic view of problem gambling as a serious public health issue and more clearly defines our guiding principles:
Purpose—to serve as the national advocate for programs and services to assist problem gamblers and their families.
Vision—to improve health and wellness by reducing the personal, social and economic costs of problem gambling.
Mission—to lead state and national stakeholders in the development of comprehensive policy and programs for all those affected by problem gambling.
The 2015-2020 Strategic Plan provides a set of overarching principles and core values, along with five broad goals and specific strategies, tactics and outcomes for each. The plan focuses on comprehensive prevention, education, treatment, enforcement, research, responsible gaming and recovery efforts as the means to reduce the harm from problem gambling. It enhances our work as the leader in the development of comprehensive standards in these areas. Further, the plan is intended not only to direct the work of NCPG, but to assist all who work on behalf of those affected by problem gambling. We look forward to collaborating with you, our members and stakeholders, to accomplish these goals in 2015 and beyond.
By Amy Feinberg
Since 2008, NCPG has joined with the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors at McGill University to encourage lotteries to promote responsible gaming during the holiday season. As you know, lottery tickets are popular “stocking stuffers” and many lotteries actively market special Christmas-themed tickets around the holidays. These tickets may be given to children, and we know that the lottery is one of the most popular and accessible forms of gambling for kids. We also know that adolescents who receive lottery tickets as gifts tend to begin gambling earlier in life – a possible risk factor for more severe gambling problems.
This information, along with the growing concern about adolescent problem gambling, has prompted U.S. National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) as well as lottery corporations around the globe to collaborate in the annual Holiday Lottery Campaign (HLC) aimed at increasing public awareness about the impact of gifting lottery products to underage minors. The campaign offers a unified graphic, press release and other language that can be used for free by participating organizations.
NCPG Executive Director Keith Whyte said, “The campaign is a way to remind people that they can keep the fun in gifting lottery tickets during the holidays by giving responsibly to adults.”
“We welcome the collaborative efforts of lottery corporations worldwide to help raise awareness about this issue; together we can make a difference in preventing underage gambling and gambling problems,” said Jeffrey Derevensky, Director of the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors at McGill University.
Last year, the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL) unanimously approved a resolution encouraging participation by its members in the Holiday Lottery Campaign. This year, the European Lottery Association (EL) has similarly endorsed the Holiday Lottery Campaign, increasing the global reach of this important initiative. Whyte said, “We believe responsible gaming is a positive approach to minimizing gambling-related harm and therefore maximizing public benefit. We are proud to work with NASPL and the EL and look forward to the growing momentum of this important awareness campaign.”
|HLC materials from participating organizations. Left: North Carolina Education Lottery. Right: California Lottery.|
|UNITED STATESArizona Lottery
District of Columbia Lottery and Charitable Games
Hoosier (Indiana) Lottery
Maryland Lottery & Gaming Control Agency
Massachusetts State Lottery Commission
New York Gaming Commission – Lottery Division
North Carolina Education Lottery
South Dakota Lottery
Rhode Island Lottery
|INTERNATIONALAB Svenska Spel (Sweden)
Hrvatska Lutrija d.o.o. (Croatia)CANADAAlberta Gaming and Liquor Commission
British Columbia Lottery Corporation
Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries
Nova Scotia Provincial Lotteries and
Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation
Not listed here? Please let us know that your organization participated! Contact Amy Feinberg, Program Administrator, at 202-547-9204 or . Press releases and graphics welcome!
The campaign is free and offers four different ways to participate. Organizations can:
Over 30 lotteries are supporting the campaign this year, and we welcome health and community organizations of all kinds. Find out if your state is participating at the URL above — link with others or start your own — please join this grassroots effort! www.ncpgambling.org/holiday
Please send information about your events to – deadline to be included in the next newsletter: January 26, 2015. Education providers offering CEUs approved by NCPG will also be featured on our Continuing Education web page when details are sent with at least two weeks’ notice to Amy Feinberg, Program Administrator, at .
|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.
Online registration will open in early April. Early-bird registration deadline is May 18— NCPG members receive a discount, so join now at www.ncpgambling.org/joinnow!
Submitted by Lori Mello, Michigan
On October 17, 2014, the Michigan Lottery went “live” with sales of online lottery tickets. The idea of “i-Lottery” was certainly not a new phenomenon; however the challenge was to find ways to reach out to those individuals who, in an ever-increasing number, were playing the game over the internet and also wanted help for problem gambling. Many, especially younger players, are seeking help via online chat and even text messaging. As the “new wave” of outreach, the Michigan Lottery was considering how to reach out to those gambling online who feel that their gambling is out of control. For those who need help to get into treatment, there had to be another way beyond the telephone Helpline to make help available.
As the provider of problem gambling helpline and treatment services for the State of Michigan, Health Management Systems of America began a meaningful partnership with the Michigan Lottery and the communications system iCarol to provide chat and text availability as part of our helpline services to those who want to discuss a gambling problem.
Beginning this process was a challenge; however it was exciting as well. The idea of chat or text counseling is something that is being offered more and more but offering this to problem gamblers was very new. Phone conversations with problem gamblers can be tentative at best and trying to engage and encourage them to get into treatment was definitely a concern with the use of this technology. How would they respond? Would using this technology create a barrier between helpline counselor and potential client? How would our words be interpreted without the benefit of voice intonation and timing?
Once we set up our initial shifts on the chat/text line and developed some responses to anticipated questions, it was time to practice! Our trained clinicians assembled to try out the system. All of our clinicians met this challenge head on and were motivated to learn what it was like to provide counseling assistance through these media. What counselors found most challenging in practice was the timing issue; that is, waiting for the person on the other end to respond. How to keep up the momentum of the conversation was something we all had to work through. Over a brief period of time and through practice, we began developing a script of questions and responses that included all NODS (NORC Diagnostic Screen) assessment questions, introductory phrases to engage that potential client, and words of encouragement and support. You’d be surprised how much time is saved having those messages already written and available! It also helps to keep the counselor on track.
It was a rather slow start and the first week we thought there was no one out there. But gradually the Michigan public began to utilize this benefit of a different mode of communication. Over the past few weeks we have had a wonderful opportunity to provide information, referral, and support to those in need and it has been a fascinating journey!
By Gary Lange, PhD, BACC, California
Families of people with gambling or other addictions often want their loved one to be fixed immediately. If he is not rid of the addiction pronto, they want to move on…Hasta la vista, baby! They often view a “broken relationship” like a broken coffee maker that’s no longer brewing — just get rid of it because it is so easy to get a new one. But this loved one has a brain illness called addiction and it will take time for the addicted brain to heal and for him to make behavioral changes.
Unfortunately there is no quick fix for addictions. Even Alcoholics Anonymous’ Big Book says that cravings can last a long time. Just as the cocaine addict is safer when she is not around other users, it is better for newly recovering people to stay away from the old “playgrounds” where they used their addictions. It is best for gamblers to stay away from lottery tickets, casinos, online betting games, or any kind of wagering.
|“…when family members are involved… chances of recovery are doubled…”|
Can the family get them to stop? We intuitively know that they can’t, yet families and friends can help. Statistics show that when the family members are involved in the gambler’s treatment program, her chances of recovery are doubled. Positive encouragement, better choices and behaviors are crucial. Assistance with decisions can help interrupt the cravings. Addictive urges can be overwhelming, but family support, compassion and patience can help with the impulsive urges. Professional counseling helps with decision making, communication and dealing with unresolved feelings. Making healthy, safe and positive choices in early recovery builds confidence. When a gambler has a child, pet or supportive family to come home to, it is a great incentive for him to come straight home rather than stop at the old hangout.
Human beings survive and function better with the help of others. From an evolutionary standpoint, we survived because supportive humans, for example, helped fight off the lion or other threat. A support group empathizes with human pain and can offer a safe and nurturing place to deal with feelings and issues. Many who successfully find abstinence utilize 12-step programs. Both support groups and 12-step programs have higher goals than a quick fix. As the saying goes, addiction is a “temporary fix for a permanent problem,” and often the person will return to the addiction if the underlying problem isn’t dealt with.
So, how can family or friends help? They can be part of the support system, even down to limiting their love one’s access to finances in the early stages to prevent relapse. Family members can keep themselves sane and centered with their own support group, practicing self-care and mindfully staying in the present, focusing on what is improving, and practicing relaxation so they themselves can function properly. GamAnon, AlAnon, Codependents Anonymous, Celebrate Recovery and Smart Recovery are all groups to help family members. This will in turn help them to be better able to offer a listening ear, compassion and support to their loved one in treatment and recovery.
Please do not throw out the gambling addict like a coffee maker that isn’t brewing good coffee. It takes years to develop relationships and blood family members will always feel emotional ties. In my psychotherapy practice, not a day passes when someone doesn’t talk about heartache with a family member. The challenge is to become healthier people so we can carry the message of recovery to a spouse, neighbor or even an acquaintance.
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 www.ncpgambling.org/joinnow.
Organizational members play an important role in supporting NCPG — thank you!
|Georgia Lottery Corporation||The Rational Group|
|Global Cash Access||Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino|
|GTECH||Vantiv Gaming Solutions*|
|Las Vegas Sands Corporation||Wind Creek Hospitality|
|AGEM||Penn National Gaming|
|Caesars Entertainment||Pinnacle Entertainment|
|Delaware North Companies*||Potawatomi Bingo Casino|
|eBet Online, Inc||The Racing Channel, Inc.|
|IGT||San Manuel Band of Mission Indians|
|Minnesota Lottery||Scientific Games|
|Mohegan Sun||Sightline Payments LLC|
|National Football League||Stronach Group|
|NeoPollard Interactive LLC*||Twin River Casino|
|New York Gaming Association|
|Casino City Press||Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board*|
|Empire Resorts||Pennsylvania Lottery|
|First Choice Health Systems||Responsible Gaming Association of NM|
|Kentucky Lottery||Rhode Island Lottery|
|Linq3 Technologies||Secure Trading, Inc.|
|Maine Office of Substance Abuse, DHHS||Southland Gaming of the Virgin Islands|
|Maryland Center of Excellence
on Problem Gambling
|Texas Lottery Commission|
|Maryland Lottery||United Way of Rhode Island|
|Ohio Department of Mental Health
& Addiction Services
Current members as of December 20, 2014
*New members since last newsletter.
730 11th Street, NW Suite 601
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-547-9204 Fax: 202-547-9206
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.
Interested in submitting a presentation for the 2015 Conference?
Visit our Call for Presentations page.
Pre-Conference July 8 – 9, 2015
Next to Camden Yards Stadium (Baltimore Orioles baseball!)