June 2015 (Vol. 18, Iss. 2)


Spring Forward—To Summer!

It has been a busy spring, with lots of activity all around the country for our annual Problem Gambling Awareness Month and an increased pace in planning for the summer and the National Conference on Problem Gambling. Read on for news about multi-year Membership options, new Helpline services in Text and Chat and other developments from the field.

President’s Message

From the President
From the Executive Director
Conference Keynote and Plenary Speakers
Selected Sessions
Networking Events
Message on Baltimore
Helpline Text & Chat
Counselor’s Corner
Responsible Gaming
Maine Collaboration
3-year and Lifetime Membership Options
Organizational Members
NCPG President Maureen Greeley

To Inspire and Be Inspired –
Coming Together with a Purpose

In the past few months, I’ve had the great opportunity to participate in problem gambling treatment, training, and awareness efforts across the country. From work with youth programs in Tribal schools to site visits at several residential treatment facilities; from meetings with State and Federal Legislators in my home state of Washington and at the Capitol in that other Washington (D.C.); from training conferences for
treatment providers in Montana to symposia for Lottery representatives (and a great Strikes for Responsible Gaming event to support NCPG); from guest lecturing at college addictions studies programs, to meeting with NCPG Board and staff in Baltimore, and more. As my term as President for NCPG comes to a close, all of these fantastic opportunities to represent our Mission and goals across the country mean so much to me. They remind me, too, of just why it is so important for us to come together each year – NCPG Members, Affiliates, Volunteers, Partners at the Corporate, State and Federal Agency, and Nonprofit arena. The opportunity to share experiences and knowledge, to celebrate successes and help each other work through challenges, and to enjoy time together is crucial to our success in helping others.

NCPG’s National Conference on Problem Gambling, the 29th annual conference this year, is the perfect place for all of us to come together. Just a sampling of the topics offered this year points out the breadth and depth of what will be presented and what will help open important dialogue:

  • Emerging Issues in Problem Gambling Prevention
  • Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling
  • Gambling is at Your Fingertips: How About Treatment?
  • Sports Wagering: What Do We Know, Should We Be Concerned, and Does it Matter?

With a nod to Baltimore and the fact that our 29th National Conference will meet in a hotel that actually overlooks Oriole Park at Camden Yards, I was inspired by Cal Ripken, Jr. and his philosophy of teaching young players the value of good, fun, healthy, sports training. It’s a philosophy that translates well to what NCPG wants to accomplish at our annual conference:

  • Inspire through remarkable experiences – the Ripken Way (is also the NCPG Way).
  • The Ripken Way (NCPG Way) is about perseverance, integrity and the unwavering commitment to be, and do, our best.
  • Purpose drives the human spirit (us).
  • Celebrate the Individual: Fuel their willpower to succeed.
  • Have Fun: Joy shatters the limits of what we can achieve – the game is supposed to be fun.

So, let me take this moment now to invite you to attend the National Conference in Baltimore in July. Come prepared to inspire and be inspired; to do your best; to be driven by a strong purpose; to celebrate every individual you meet, learn from, share with, and get to know; and to have fun.

Let’s share our strengths and our joys so that, together, we can find ways that will shatter any limits on what we can achieve in our field.

See you in “Balmer” this summer!

~Maureen Greeley President
NCPG Board of Directors Executive Director
Evergreen Council on Problem Gambling

Executive Director’s Letter

NCPG Executive Director Keith Whyte


With a nod to David Bowie’s classic song, change is a constant. Two recent changes are likely to be particularly significant for the problem gambling field.

The first are state funding cuts. This spring Arkansas completely eliminated their public funding for problem gambling programs. The state only provided $200,000 per year to begin with, which was never enough to develop a robust system. Especially troubling were statements made by the bill’s Senate sponsor, who dismissed any ethical or economic responsibility on the part of state government to help people with gambling problems, even when the money was coming from unclaimed prizes at the state’s own lottery. Over- whelming majorities of the Arkansas Senate and House voted for the bill, and efforts to restore any public funds have not been successful. The public funding, which was touted during the campaign to legalize the state lottery in 2008, lasted only seven years.

The second change is the recent approval of variable payback slots by the Nevada Gaming Commission and Legislature. The base game will still have a fixed payback rate, but bonus games could increase that percentage, and under the new proposal these games could have skill -based elements, such as a video road racing game. Interestingly, such “hybrid” games could include other non-random factors such as frequency of play, membership in a casino loyalty program, use of a loyalty card or even linkage to social networks. While games based on these new rules will likely take a while to hit the floor, the impacts may be substantial. A lot of prevention, education and responsible gaming material will need to be revised, as a theme of much of this material is that slot machines are random and there is nothing players can do to influence the outcome of the game.

Of course, there are lots of games on the casino floor with variable payback — not just table games but video poker machines. And we know that distorted thinking about the ability to influence the odds through strategy, skill or more mystical means has helped lead some gamblers into serious trouble. And a problem gambler might find it even more difficult to walk away from a machine that has his last $200 dollars when he believes that the longer you play, the better you get, and that “mastering” the bonus level means you are able to drive the payback percentage close to 100%? Trying to explain odds, randomness and regression to the mean is difficult enough as it is.

The ripple effects of these changes are just as important. Legislators from other states in desperate need of non-tax revenue may look to Arkansas as an example. Problem gambling funds are a particularly easy target as many of the social costs are hidden, so the effect of the cuts may not be very visible. In fact, one of the more cynical legislative motivations may be that without help programs there are no reports, few statistics and thus little evidence of the impacts of gambling addiction. Which lets the state off the hook. As the advocate for problem gamblers and their families, NCPG fought the cuts — though without an Affiliate Chapter in the state, our efforts were hindered. We rallied stakeholders and continue to work with them to identify support for responsible gaming. Through the National Problem Gambling Helpline we will continue to ensure that information and referral resources are provided to callers from Arkansas. Since the introduction of the lottery in 2009 we’ve received more than 55,000 calls from the state.

We need your help to stand up for the 48,000 people experiencing a gambling problem (and their families) in Arkansas, as well as the hundreds of thousands more in other states without funding for gambling addiction programs. We need your help to stay abreast of developments in gaming technology and regulation. Our unique mission to lead stakeholders in the development of policy and programs for all those affected by problem gambling means we must, as Bowie says, “turn and face the strain.” At times the changes and resulting challenges may seem overwhelming. Your membership commitment inspires others and sustains our programs and services. Thank you.

—Keith Whyte

Renowned Speakers to Lead Conference


DAVID MEE-LEE, MD, our keynote speaker, is a board-certified psychiatrist and is certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine. Based in Davis, California, he trains and consults both nationally and internationally. Dr. Mee-Lee is Chief Editor of the American Society of Addiction Medicine’s Criteria for the Treatment of Addictive, Substance-Related, and Co-Occurring Conditions and is Senior Vice President of The Change Companies. He is also a Senior Fellow, Justice Programs Office of the School of Public Affairs at American University in Washington, DC. Dr. Mee-Lee has over thirty years’ experience in person-centered treatment and program development for people with co-occurring mental health and substance use conditions.


ALEX BLASZCZYNSKI, PhD is a Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Sydney, where he is Director of the Gambling Treatment Clinic and the Responsible Gambling Research Group. He is a researcher and clinical psychologist with a long history of involvement in treatment and clinical research covering a range of impulse
control disorders, in particular, pathological gambling. He is a founding member of the Australian National Council for Problem Gambling and of the National Association for Gambling Studies. He is the editor of International Gambling Studies and a regional assistant editor of Addictions. In 2014, he received the NCPG Lifetime Award for Research.


CAROL O’HARE has been advocating for problem gamblers since her own recovery journey began in Las Vegas, Nevada in January 1991. As Executive Director of the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling since 1996, Ms. O’Hare provides leadership to carry out the organization’s mission of awareness, education and advocacy.Through collaborative efforts with industry and community stakeholders, she has contributed to the development of industry responsible gaming initiatives and groundbreaking public policy to reduce the impact of problem gambling in Nevada. Ms. O’Hare currently serves as the Chair of the State Advisory Committee on Problem Gambling and in 2014 she was awarded the prestigious Monsignor Joseph Dunne Life- time Award for Advocacy by the National Council on Problem Gambling.


National Conference on Problem Gambling Featured Presentations—NCPG Board Members

Nanette Horner (Board Member); Josh Ercole; Jennifer Shatley
Industry Employee Responsible Gaming Training Programs—Promoting Customer Assistance or Amateur Diagnosis?

Legislation and Regulation in many states require gaming facilities to develop or adopt an employee Responsible Gaming training program. However, there is little guidance on the requirements, or even the goals, of such training. The panel will discuss the components and goals of their respective training programs. The panel will also discuss and debate issues such as: by whom should the training materials be developed so that employees can understand the materials; by whom should the training materials be reviewed/approved; whether there should be an outline or model for such training materials (and if so, by whom should it be developed); and whether providing training will assist the employee in providing customer assistance or if it unintentionally empowers employees to make an amateur diagnosis.

Marc Potenza (Board Member); Rani Hoff; Rebecca Fortgang
Mental Health and Gambling Problems: Veterans, Severe Mental Illness and Incident Disorders

This panel will consider relationships between mental health and gambling problems from several perspectives using data from the Veteran Administration Healthcare System, clinical samples, and community samples. Implications for treatment and recovery will be discussed. In the US military, problem gambling is treated more harshly than other mental health problems. The number of veterans diagnosed with gambling problems has been rising but is likely to be underestimated. Implications for treating gambling problems, including how the existing health care structure may be modified to address gambling problems, will be discussed. Gambling problems are frequent and often go undetected in individuals with schizophrenia. In a treatment-engaged sample, lottery gambling was frequent and social forms of gambling and substance abuse, particularly involving poly-substance use, were linked with gambling problems. In a community sample, at-risk/problem-gambling (ARPG) status in 2001-2002 was prospectively associated at in 2004-2005 with: 1) incident nicotine dependence in women; 2) incident alcohol-use disorders in men; 3) incident anxiety and substance-use disorders and cardiovascular concerns in older adults. The findings raise questions regarding how problem-gambling severity may lead to these conditions and what interventions might be helpful with respect to reducing the potential negative impact of ARPG in potentially vulnerable groups.

Thomas Larkin; Maureen Greeley (Board Member); Steve Ramey
Integrating Gambling Treatment and Drug Court: Challenges and Solutions

A three-person panel will discuss the primary challenges of integrating a gambling component within an existing drug court treatment program through a collaboration of the superior court, a dedicated treatment provider and the state-contracted coordinator for problem gambling. Over the past two years, the Pierce County (WA) Superior Court incorporated a “gambling track” within its well-established drug court treatment program to address a significant rate of problem gambling identified within its target population of persons with substance use dependency, to include a large number of veterans with PTSD and TBI and others suffering from mental health disorders. The primary challenge was to develop a process to address gambling in parallel with a well-established substance use disorder and mental health treatment regimen. Expanding the “therapeutic team” to include gambling counselors entailed educating drug court team members on what constitutes problem gambling while gaining their individual insight and support in undertaking the additional issues in a manner that supports the individual client’s long-term recovery. A second challenge was related to the recruitment of clients with a gambling problem. Because many are reluctant to “sign on” to a treatment regimen of a year or more, those with gambling problems are doubly reluctant to undertake additional sessions to address them. Counselors must employ motivational interviewing techniques to help each client understand that their gambling issues are integral to their substance use issues, and assure them that both can be dealt with concurrently without adding additional weeks to their treatment program.

Todd Maki; Don Feeney (Board Member)
Gambling and Seniors: The Minnesota Experience

The Minnesota gambling survey has tracked the gambling behaviors and attitudes of Minnesotans since 1995. It provides a one-of-a-kind window into the gambling behaviors of a wide range of populations, including senior citizens. The survey demonstrates the considerable changes that have taken place in senior gambling over a 20-year period, as it has evolved from a morally questionable activity to a preferred form of entertainment. The presentation will discuss what types of gambling are preferred, how attitudes towards gambling policy have changed, and what seniors believe about gambling problems. The session will end with a discussion of implications for effective prevention, awareness, and treatment efforts.

About our Conference Co-Hosts

The Maryland Council on Problem Gambling (MD-CPG) is a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation. Its mission is primarily one of advocacy for those affected by gambling problems, working to increase public awareness about problem gambling and advocate for treatment, education, prevention and research for those adversely affected by gambling and for the community at large. Now in partnership with the Maryland Center of Excellence on Problem Gambling, the MCPG contracts with the Center to administer the Helpline and offer training and education programs and materials statewide.

The Maryland Center of Excellence on Problem Gambling, a program of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, has been established to address gambling problems. Its mission includes providing a free and confidential 24- hour helpline; maintaining a problem gambling counselor referral list and developing a network of problem gambling capable treatment providers; training counselors, educators, prevention specialists, and other health care and social service providers and developing new training approaches; developing and implementing prevention and community outreach programs; engaging in evaluation and research; and educating the citizens of Maryland about problem gambling through public awareness campaigns.



A Message from the Maryland Council on Problem Gambling

An Update on Baltimore and the 29th National Conference on Problem Gambling from our Affiliate Co-Host

As you are aware, protests recently took place in Baltimore. While the need for social justice is not unique to this city, the events that transpired in our region have helped ignite a critical national discussion on these vital concerns. Cities across the country must carefully
examine and address the issues that have led to inequality.

Your background and training gives you special insight on the importance of helping those in need. Here in Baltimore, we are committed to being a part of the solution and we sincerely appreciate your support and understanding.

It should be noted that problems reported in the media were not reflective of the overall situation across the city. While some protest activities took place in the downtown tourist area, those were generally peaceful.

In fact, conventions continued to take place at the Convention Center. The Hilton (below) and the Baltimore Inner Harbor area will welcome thousands of visitors each day this summer to enjoy the many family-oriented entertainment opportunities.

We are looking forward to you joining us for what we expect to be the largest and most ambitious National Conference on Problem Gambling ever.

If you have any questions, or we can assist you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact me. See you soon!

Michael Hundt
Executive Director
Maryland Council on Problem Gambling

National Helpline Adds Text and Chat Services

Since the launch of text and chat access to the National Problem Gambling Helpline on March 2, a total of 228 individuals have utilized the service; 110 via text and 118 via chat. During the first phase of this project all texts and chats are handled by the Louisiana Problem Gamblers Helpline staff. The second phase commences in June and involves connecting additional call centers to the text & chat network so they will handle contacts from their states directly. Affiliates and call centers on the Helpline Network will receive additional information shortly. We will also reach out to partners in the gaming industry to ask them to update their webpages and responsible gaming materials with information on—and where possible, direct links to—the text and chat programs.

While data on individuals who text and chat is very limited, the transcripts of the conversations are illuminating, and often heartbreaking. Interestingly, more than two-thirds of the calls came in afterhours. One recurring theme was that they did not want to talk to someone face-to-face. It does seem that we are reaching a new group of help seekers who do not use traditional helplines. Selected excerpts of these contacts are below. Snippets of these contacts below:

[this is the very first text we received]

SMS1757 12:27 AM: I’m having a big urge of going to the casino tonight. And my checking is already on the negative
Mary 12:28 AM: I can offer gambling counselor also GA support group meetings , would you like that information?
SMS1757 12:30 AM: No thank you. I thought I can just relief [sic] my urges by talking to a counselor through text message.
SMS2335 3:46 AM: I’m concerned on how to pay off the debt that I have. I don’t know how I can afford it
Grace 3:47 AM: We offer resources like gambler’s anonymous meetings and counseling. Would you like me to find resources for you in your area?
SMS2335 3:48 AM: Is there anything near xxxxxx, MA
Grace 3:49 AM: I’m sending you the number for the Massachusetts Problem Gamblers Helpline that has all of your local information.
Grace 3:50 AM: There’s also an online support site called Gamtalk.
SMS2335 3:52 AM: I’m looking at gamtalk now thank you
xxx 6:17 AM: Hi. Just feeling a bit stressed and trying to fight the urge to go gambling

If you’d like more information about Helpline Text and Chat, contact Amy Feinberg at

Counselor’s Corner

Silent Infiltrator

By Patricia Riehl (PA)

How does a young child feel growing up in a home with addiction? The treatment field addresses alcohol, drugs and even eating disorders. Mental illness is in the forefront and we often hear of children with parents who suffer from schizophrenia or manic depression. But what of the youngster who has a father or mother who is a compulsive gambler and gambles away the family’s security?

Alcohol, drug addiction, and mental illness can be more obvious than compulsive gambling, which can be a silent infiltrator. Not only does it rob the finances but also takes the family member away from the home. Picture the mother who spends the household money on slot machines, rub-offs or even horse racing. She is not only absent physically but also mentally and emotionally. A son or daughter comes home from school to an empty house and does not know why. There is no drunken stupor or unwanted guest “doing drugs.” Or imagine the father who never communicates or does not find time to do family outings and parties because he is too busy concentrating on sports betting. Even if he is in attendance, he is absent – checking his phone or watching the TV.

What does that young person learn? Escape is the answer – playing cards, shooting craps, buying rub- offs. But there are more modern solutions to avoidance. With the invention of computers came a new level in the age of technology. Children no longer go to play in the outdoors – they go home from school and play on the computer. Even homework is done on the computer.

Internet gambling can attract young people as well as adults. It is advertised for over the age of 18, but it is a sure thing that teenagers can find a way to gamble on the computer. Not to mention the serious ramifications of a more intense isolation – one does not even have to leave the house. A young person might be susceptible to becoming a compulsive gambler if utilizing the Internet to play games.

One of the ramifications of the addiction of a family member is that children begin using coping skills in the form of roles that make it tolerable to live in the situation. These roles, if untreated, then begin to develop the child’s personality, which can manifest in other problems later. These roles are exactly the same as the ones mentioned in all the alcohol literature, especially in the writings of Claudia Black, Sharon Wegscheider, Janet Wotitz and more recently Robert J. Ackerman, who has expanded the effects of these roles. Family therapy is a very tall order in these situations, it requires looking at some behaviors that are deep rooted and not always obvious.

If this cycle continues it can be brought into generation after generation – but with education the information can be presented and there is an opportunity for knowledge if the problem is admitted.

It is time for educators, counselors and the general public to begin to look more seriously at addiction, especially gambling. We speak to a worry about legalizing marijuana, we run ads on smoking cessation, we are willing to lock up drug addicts; but we rarely mention gambling as family problem which can be passed on to our children. It does not matter who in the family has an addiction problem – it affects all the family members. It is time to provide information and treatment for this Silent Infiltrator.

Gambling Addiction Certification for Clergy and Lay Ministers

Prevention / Education / Awareness and Spiritual Outreach Care

By Rev. Janet Jacobs (IN) and Jeffrey M. Beck, JD (MD)

The American Compulsive Gambling Counselor Certification Board (ACGCCB) now provides a process for recognizing and certifying clergy and other faith-based workers who are proficient in gambling addiction prevention, education, awareness, and supportive outreach, non-clinical care. With specialized training leading to national certification, knowledgeable clergy/faith-based workers can offer guidance, educational materials, support, hope, spiritual care, and other resources and help lead people to certified gambling counselors and recovery support groups.

The ACGCCB Clergy / Lay Ministers Certification is designed to provide basic knowledge about gambling addiction, treatment, and recovery resources to enhance the clergyperson’s skills at recognizing compulsive gambling and to provide information for the gambler’s family on dealing with their loved one’s addiction.

Already, the initial pilot training has been implemented in New Jersey; and training is now in progress in Kentucky. In addition, plans are currently in the works for Alabama training sessions this spring. Certification fees have been waived through 12/31/15 (with only a $50 administrative fee to be paid) and those wishing to enter the process are encouraged to enroll during the present year.

The specialized 24-hour Training for Clergy and Lay Ministers leads to ACGCCB Certification (Non-Clinical). The Core Curriculum includes the following areas of study:

  • the dynamics and psychology of addiction
  • problem gambling defined and described; disordered gambling defined and described; the scope of
    problem gambling in American society
  • the impact of problem gambling on families; the components of effective support for the loved ones of gamblers
  • the financial issues that gamblers and their families/members of the problem face
  • the goals of problem gambling treatment; the options for treatment
  • spirituality and its significant role within the recovery process; the spiritual issues commonly encountered by disordered gamblers and their loved ones
  • the unique role of certified clergy within the recovery care process
  • problem gambling support groups: GA; Gam-Anon; Celebrate Recovery; others

Note: the clergy certification process does not train clergy to be therapists; rather, clergy will learn about treatment and what individuals in treatment may encounter as they go through the recovery process.

For more information on the training schedules and registration, contact the American Compulsive Gambling Counselor Certification Board: (609) 588 – 9338 or email

Responsible Gaming

Northstar Lottery Group develops a WINternshipTM

By Tammi Barlow (RI)

Northstar Illinois partnered with the National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG) and University of Chicago (U. of C.) in the fall of 2014 to give students a winning opportunity –real world experience through a paid internship that goes beyond the usual parameters. The WINternshipTM program is an investment in their future through career guidance and mentoring with a particular focus on responsible gaming. The challenge was to create a public
awareness campaign on responsible gaming for their peers.

The concept of a student internship evolved from research compiled during the accreditation process for World Lottery Association level three certification. The research showed that college students are unaware of responsible gaming practices. The complexities involved in reaching the millennials’ demographic, coupled with the statistics that 3 of 4 college students have gambled in the past year, led us to the WINternshipTM. Engrossed in smart phones, life experiences and a desire to give back, millennials have erected a barrier that many companies struggle to breach. The WINternshipTM program was created to break through the barrier and reach millennials through peer-to-peer contact that opens the conversation about responsible gaming.

Four U. of C. undergraduates with a variety of majors, experiences and interests were selected for the a 16- week internship. Their campaign – which consisted of social media, guerilla-style promotional events and public relations – was titled “Bet On U.” Using research and statistical data provided by NCRG, their premise was to highlight the fact that 75 percent of college students have gambled in the past year, yet only 22 percent of colleges and universities have written policies on gambling.

In the second phase of the program, the interns worked to improve results from a September pre-launch survey. Their objective shifted to peer education on what constitutes gambling and responsible gaming behavior.

The program concluded with a culminating event during Problem Gambling Awareness Month in March. There will be much to reflect upon and many lessons learned regarding: millennials’ views on the gaming industry, students’ perception of responsible gambling and the overall need for a national model on responsible gaming education. As an IGT subsidiary, Northstar and the WINternshipTM. program reflect IGT’s strong corporate commitment to promoting responsible gaming behavior and support of the treatment provider community.

Free Online Financial Course in Indiana

By Katie Carlson, GTECH Indiana

Sometimes great ideas evolve into even better partner- ships. The Hoosier Lottery recently collaborated with Ivy Tech Community College, the largest community college in the United States, on a new offering for its players: an online money management course for both players and winners. The benefits would be many while also better aligning the Hoosier Lottery with individual fiscal responsibility and corporate responsibility.

The financial literacy course was a collaborative effort between the Hoosier Lottery, Ivy Tech Community College, and Key Bank. The course was developed as a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), an educational experience that uses vignettes and interactive testing to cover a wide range of topics from budgeting money and managing credit to investment and retirement. A free course about basic financial principles,, is open to any adult. Like a traditional class or training, a certificate is generated upon completion of the course. The MOOC was publicly unveiled in late February as a kickoff to the Hoosier Lottery’s campaign for Problem Gambling Awareness Month.

“I am pleased the Hoosier Lottery and Ivy Tech now offer this financial tool to Ivy Tech students and adults throughout the State,” said Hoosier Lottery Executive Director Sarah Taylor.

“The initial financial investment to produce the MOOC exemplifies GTECH Indiana’s commitment to highlight corporate social responsibility and to give back to the community,” said GTECH Indiana COO and General Manager Colin Hadden. “Partnering with the Hoosier Lottery to provide Ivy Tech students with a free resource on financial literacy is a win for our students,” said Ivy Tech Provost and Senior Vice President Dr. Mary Ostrye. “I am confident participants seeking to understand the basics of financial literacy will find the content useful upon completion of the course.”

The MOOC was produced with financial literacy guidance from senior-level Key Bank officials. Upfront production costs were capitalized by GTECH Indiana, the company that manages the day-to-day operations of the Hoosier Lottery and its core functions.

GTECH Indiana is an Organizational Member of NCPG.


Legislative Briefing & Advocacy Visits on Capitol Hill on the Impact of Gambling Addiction on Military Personnel & Veterans

On March 25 and 26, members of the NCPG Board of Directors and staff met with Congressional members and their staff. NCPG and the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling also co-hosted a legislative briefing to bring attention to the issue of problem gambling among veterans and active-duty military personnel. In advance of our visit to ‘the Hill,’ NCPG staff and state Affiliate chapters contacted every Senate office and most House offices. We succeeded in setting up nine meetings over two days, and also attended three hearings.

NCPG Board members and staff met with Senators and Representatives from their respective home states. Marlene Warner met with Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) and with Ian Wilhite, Legislative Correspondent for Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA). She was accompanied by Keith Whyte. Judge Mark Farrell met with Chris Collins (R-NY) and the Military Legislative Assistant for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). Don Feeney met with Sgt. Maj. Hawkins, Defense Fellow for Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN). Keith Whyte attended a meeting with staff from Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) office, which was arranged by Kandace Blanchard of the New Mexico Council on Problem Gambling. Maureen Greeley and Ty Lostutter met with Maj. Charlie Toth, Defense Fellow for Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). Jerry Bauerkemper met with Commander Eddie Pilcher, Defense Fellow for Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL). Keith Whyte ccompanied board members on most visits.

On March 26, NCPG held a Legislative Briefing in the Senate Visitor Center. Over 25 individuals attended the meeting, hosted by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) at the request of NCPG’s affiliate chapter, the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling. Executive Director Marlene Warner thanked the hosts, welcomed the attendees, introduced the panelists and provided information on a soon-to-be-released study in Massachusetts that found high rates of gambling problems among veterans in the state. Judge Mark Farrell, USAF (Ret) discussed how his experiences as a JAG lawyer and justice influenced his decision to start a therapeutic justice gambling court and veterans’ court and described their remarkable success.

An excerpt of the award-winning video He’s Not the Same was also shown. The story centers on a young veteran who gambles to cope with the transition into civilian life. By the time we meet him, he’s deeply in debt, living with his mom and college-age sister, and has recently split with his fiancée. His family does all they can but continually fails to reach him. Ultimately, he seeks help after hearing a family friend’s tragic story about her veteran son’s gambling addiction.

To watch He’s Not the Same, visit or simply go to YouTube and search for the title.

Army veteran David Yeager discussed the debilitating gambling addiction he developed while stationed in Korea and the lack of help resources that led to the loss of his career, family and home; and how he eventually found a treatment program though the VA and is now in long-term recovery. He told his story in order to help others understand the need for dedicated problem gambling services for active-duty personnel. After the briefing, Yeager also visited his Congressman, Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA) and met with Legislative Assistant Josh Althouse.

These advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill were very successful and we look forward to working with supporters in the House and Senate to introduce legislation that directs the Department of Defense to develop comprehensive programs for active-duty military personnel as well as veterans to prevent and treat the threats to health and safety presented by gambling addiction.

NCPG is the national advocate for programs and services to assist problem gamblers and their families. For more information on NCPG legislative priorities, including a fact sheet on Gambling in the Military, go to

Maine Collaboration on PG and RG

By Christine Theriault, Maine Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services

A unique collaboration of organizations and businesses in Maine are focused on raising awareness about problem gambling and on promoting responsible gaming across the state.

The Maine Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHS), in collaboration with the Gambling Control Board, Maine’s casinos, and the Maine Council on Problem Gambling, hosted the state’s Annual Conference on Gambling Awareness on March 11 at Maple Hill Farms in Hallowell. The conference was attended by prevention and treatment providers as well as staff from one of Maine’s casinos and the Gambling Control Board. The conference included a key note address by Dr. Greggus Yahr, who gave an overview of the similarities and differences between gambling addiction and substance addiction. In addition, some collaborative partners from the states of Connecticut and Massachusetts gave presentations on the recovery perspective and understanding the impact on affected others.

In addition to the annual conference, the Maine Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services has recently implemented a gambling treatment reimbursement network that will provide an opportunity for treatment providers to get reimbursed for services for affected others and those with a gambling addiction who have no other means to pay. SAMHS also has a pilot project including self- exclusion sites across the state, expanding the sites from just self-exclusion at a casino to now fourteen additional sites across the state where people can go to self- exclude. While Maine does not have a high self-exclusion rate, there are individuals who have utilized this program.

Another initiative by SAMHS is the development of a youth-focused prevention campaign. Focus groups with youth in the state were completed recently to gather data and information about gambling/gaming patterns and behaviors that will help to guide the state in developing youth prevention messages.

With these efforts, there continue to be many legislative bills pending that would expand gambling opportunities in Maine — and SAMHS is advocating for increased funding if these bills do pass. Per Maine statute, SAMHS receives only a limited amount of funding to implement gambling prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery services.

The Maine Council on Problem Gambling achieved non -profit status at the beginning of 2015 and has been a strong collaborative partner with SAMHS. The Council is in the process of recruiting board members and doing strategic planning for the coming year.

The Maine Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services is an Organizational Member.


Announcing New Options for NCPG Individual Memberships

You asked and we heard you! Now it’s easier than ever to maintain your membership with NCPG! Individual Members have two new options:

Three-year Membership
Equivalent to three years of the current Individual or Individual Plus membership, with a 10% discount. This is especially convenient for certified counselors—simply join or renew at the same time that you complete your certification and the renewal for both NCGC and membership will come up at the same time.

Individual: 3 years $225.00 $202.50
Individual Plus: 3 years $300.00 $270.00

Lifetime Individual Member
Make an extraordinary commitment to stay involved with NCPG and having a voice in Washington. You’ll never again have to wonder if you renewed your membership, and your rate will never go up. Equivalent to twenty years of the current Individual Member rate, with a 10% discount.

Individual: =20 years $1,500.00 $1,350.00

See for full details and to sign up—get your conference registration discount now!


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!


Georgia Lottery Corporation Global Cash Access
IGT Las Vegas Sands Corporation
Michigan Lottery The Rational Group
TLF Publications, Inc.* Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino
Vantiv Gaming Solutions Wind Creek Hospitality



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



Casino City Press Connecticut Lottery
DC Lottery Empire Resorts
First Choice Health Systems GTECH Indiana
Illinois Lottery* Interactive Communications
Kangwon Land (Korea) Kentucky Lottery
Linq3 Technologies Lottointeractive
Maine Office of Substance Abuse, DHHS Maryland Center of Excellence
on Problem Gambling
Missouri Lottery* Maryland Lottery
Nebraska Commission on Problem Gambling North Carolina Education Lottery
Ohio Department of Mental Health
& Addiction Services
Rhode Island Lottery
Secure Trading, Inc. Sightline Payments LLC
Southland Gaming of the Virgin Islands Texas Lottery Commission
United Way of Rhode Island Vermont Association for Mental Health
and Addiction Recovery*
Virgin Islands Casino Control Commission Virginia Lottery

Current members as of June 1, 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 Problem Gambling Helpline
Call & Text: 1-800-522-4700


Our purpose: To serve as the national advocate for programs and services to assist all affected by problem gambling.
Our vision: To improve health and wellness by reducing the personal, social and economic costs of problem gambling.
Our mission: 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.

Register Now!
July 10-11, 2015

Hilton Inner Harbor, Baltimore, MD

Pre-conference Workshops: July 8-9
Opening Reception:Thursday evening, July 9
Main Conference: July 10-11

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