Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling 2016 Year in Review

The year 2016 was the 18th year of our Compulsive Gambling Public Awareness Campaign. It was our 23nd year in operation and the 21st year of the 24-hour Helpline. The Council continued to see tremendous growth during the past year.

The Public Awareness Campaign contains six different project areas used to enhance the awareness of Problem and Compulsive Gambling.  These areas include the 24-hour Helpline, Mini-grants for Community-Based Activities, High School Educational Curriculum, Statewide Compulsive Gambling Awareness Conference, our Public Relations Media Awareness Campaign, and the Training of Human Service Professionals.

24 Hour Helpline

The Helpline received 13,081 calls in 2016 with the highest month of calls being January with 1,468 calls.  We continue to receive many hits to our website annually. We received 8621 web hits in 2016.  The highest month was July with 1,142 hits.  The average debt amount of calls to the Helpline was $38,090.  However, many people refuse to divulge this information and are confused about their indebtedness.  Area code 414 received the most calls.  During the year 2016, 958 referrals were made and 97 packets of information were sent.  The chat line received 31 chats. A text line 920-799-4080 was started.

Outreach Program

The WCPG provides an Outreach Program. This program provides educational sessions to high schools students around the state. The goal of the program is to provide education and awareness on gambling disorders. Students learn the definitions of gambling, the risks associated with gambling, the warning signs and how to get help for themselves or others.    Presentations in schools throughout the state continue. WCPG hired a part-time Outreach Coordinator to increase awareness in schools throughout Wisconsin. The Outreach program reached 5725 students and 436 adults in 2016.

State Wide Compulsive Gambling Conference

The WCPG hosted its 17th Annual Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling Statewide Conference on March 10-11, 2016, at the Milwaukee Mariott West in Milwaukee, WI. One hundred thirty-five people attended the two day conference.

Training of Human Service Professionals

We have been able to provide one Phase I through Phase IV training sessions throughout the state during 2016. One Phase I and II was held at Concordia University. A DOC training was held in Racine.  One hundred nine training units were provided through our training sessions. Approximate 250 attendees participated in other trainings/conferences and workshops throughout 2016.

WCPG will be hosting several intro trainings and Phase I-IV during 2017.

We continue to develop a list of all persons/agencies within the state of Wisconsin qualified to provide training, education, treatment or public information at various levels, for use by such groups as Employee Assistance Programs, human resource personnel, AODA personnel, school counselors, treatment providers and civic and church groups

Public Relations/Media Campaign

As part of the media awareness campaign, the following has been accomplished or continues:

  • Planning, development, and implementation of the public awareness campaign-- phase sixteen.
  • WCPG continues to develop a list within the State of Wisconsin with persons/agencies qualified to provide training, education, treatment or public information at various levels on the issue of compulsive gambling.
  • Continued distribution of twelve different posters.
  • WCPG increased its Social Media presence through Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
  • One-on-one media interviews in the state's five main media markets.
  • More than 450 media contacts including newspapers, radio, and television.
  • Many press releases regarding the WCPG effort were distributed.
  • Continued distribution of "Is Gambling Affecting Your Life?" (Approximately 165,000 have been distributed)
  • Exterior bus signage continues in several cities throughout Wisconsin, as well as posters for bus interiors.
  • Bathroom ads in Wisconsin Casinos.
  • Exhibits at a variety of conferences and programs throughout the state.
  • Tokens, magnets, pens, pencils, note clips, back scratchers, calendars, oven sticks, and computer dusters, etc. are being distributed in a variety of ways throughout Wisconsin. These public awareness "tools" are an excellent opportunity to get the 800-Helpline number out to thousands of people.  People will pick up a pen, which has the 800 number on it, more likely than they would pick up a pamphlet.
  • Continued partnership with the Wisconsin Lottery.
  • Increased materials in our resource library.
  • Continues distribution of WCPG brochures including "special population" brochures.
  • Continues distribution of membership brochure.
  • Continues development of a data collection process for a book of experts.
  • Reached an estimated 26,000 people through contacts at exhibits, workshops and conferences.
  • WCPG continues to speak to a variety of groups-EAP, social service departments, counselors, people working with the elderly, Dept. of Corrections, etc. to provide education and awareness on the compulsive gambling addiction.
  • WCPG continues to distribute our quarterly newsletter to distributed.
  • A workplace brochure continues to be distributed to generate more awareness in the workplace environment.
  • A legislative newsletter is distributed quarterly to all legislators in Wisconsin.
  • A brochure geared towards parents continues to be distributed.


The mini-grant program continues.  Mini-grants help to enhance the Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling public awareness programs. There was one mini-grant awarded in 2014-15. The grant was awarded to Educational Television Productions of Northeast Wisconsin (ETP-NEW).  The main goal of this grant is to work collaboratively with the WCPG to raise awareness about problem gambling.  The ETP-NEW-produced video series would demonstrate the repercussions of problem gambling, identify the warning signs and direct individuals to resources. No mini-grants were awarded in 2015-16.

The mini-grant information has been placed on our website so more organizations can become aware of the program.

Potawatomi Bingo Casino Sponsorship

Through the Potawatomi Bingo Casino Sponsorship we were able to provide Phase I through Phase IV in the Milwaukee area.   The Potawatomi funding also provides assistance for the operation of the 24-hour Helpline and conference 2016 sponsorship.

WCPG had a very challenging and productive 2016.  We will continue to move forward in all of our endeavors and we look forward to continuing and expanding our programs in the year 2017.