Happy Sping

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

March was a busy month for the WCPG.  March was Problem Gambling Awareness Month. During March, we tried to raise awareness in a variety of ways. We sent posters, bookmarks and letters to all of the libraries in the state of Wisconsin. This was a good way to bring awareness about gambling disorders to a variety of people.  Many libraries requested additional bookmarks which was our hope.  We also sent out press releases about PGAM.  Additionally, we tried to increase awareness of gambling disorders through Facebook, twitter, and linked in.  As March comes to a close and PGAM finishes it is important for us to remember that gambling disorders can be a problem every day of the year. So please remember to be aware that someone you know or work with may have a gambling problem and may be dealing with the serious consequences of that disorder daily.  WCPG provides education, awareness and resources, 365 days a year.

Our 18th Annual Problem Gambling Awareness Conference was held on March 23-24, 2017 at the Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake. There were 120 participants at this year's conference.  Some of the topics covered were Internet Gambling and Fantasy Sports, Generational Differences, Motivational Interviewing, Ethics, Groups for Problem Gamblers, Process Addictions and many more. Next year's 19th annual conference will be held on March 15-16, 2018 at the Milwaukee Marriot West. Mark your calendars to join us.

During the month of March, we presented to several High Schools in Wisconsin. The school programming provides education about gambling disorders.  We talk about the risks involved in gambling and the warning signs. As we know, many teens use gambling as the "gateway" activity, thus leading to more risky behavior. Social gambling can quickly move to problem gambling. A gambling disorder is just as serious as a drug addiction. Our hope is that by reaching out to adolescents, we can prevent some of the negative statistics associated with gambling disorders.

The 24-hour Helpline continues to receive an average of 1200 calls a month. In addition, the number of contacts through our chat line is available on our website at wi-problemgamblers.org continues to increase. We recently implemented our text line. People can text for help at 920-888-HELP (4357).

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WCPG Outreach Program

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Hello from the WCPG's Outreach Coordinator!

This fall has been very busy for the outreach program. In the month of October, we presented to 5 schools which included almost 900 students! November 2016 is on track to be our busiest month EVER; expecting to reach almost 1,100 students!

You might be wondering, "Why do students really need to learn about problem gambling? Aren't they too young to participate?" Over the past 2 years, I have asked students in the classrooms I visit, "how many of you have placed a bet?" The majority of students report participation in some type of gambling. The most common forms of gambling reported are lottery tickets, raffles, poker, fantasy sports, and personal wagers. Our youth ARE gambling.

We teach our teenagers and young adults about the risks associated with drugs and alcohol, but often, we do not think about educating them about the risk of problem gambling. Left untreated the end result of any addiction can lead to prison, insanity, or death. This can be true of alcohol, drugs, AND gambling.

The Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling offers classroom presentations FREE to schools in Wisconsin. These presentations can be tailored to fit the specific needs of your classroom. Presentations are interactive and FUN! If you have questions about our programming options, or would like to schedule a presentation for your classroom, please contact outreach@wi-problemgamblers.org

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WCPG Partnering with Concordia University WI with offering the WCPG’s Gambling Disorder Training Program/Course

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling (WCPG) is pleased to be partnering with Concordia University Wisconsin with offering the WCPG's Gambling Disorder Training Program/Course. Concordia University Wisconsin will be offering professional development credit as an option (1 credit available for phases 1 & 2 and 1 credit available for phases 3 & 4). CUW Counseling students, faculty, and alumni may attend free of charge!

The trainer for the Mequon program is Doug LaBelle, LCSW, CEAT, CAI, NCGC-II, Resources for Change, Lake Bluff, IL and Kenosha, WI. Doug LaBelle is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Illinois and Wisconsin with over 29 years of experience working with individuals and families impacted by chemical and process addictions, a National Certified Gambling Counselor II, a trainer with the Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling, a Certified ARISE Interventionist and an ARISE Senior Trainer with Linking Human Systems. Currently in full-time private practice, Resources for Change, LTD., in Lake Bluff, Illinois and Kenosha, Wisconsin as a psychotherapist, EAP Consultant and Interventionist.

The WCPG has applied for Continuing Education Units for 15 hours each phase with the following: Wisconsin Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, NASW, EACC, National Gambling Counselor Certification Board, and the WI Department of Safety and Professional Services. Certificate of attendance will be provided by the Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling, Inc.

Training dates:

October 20-21, 2016 (Phase 1)
November 10-11, 2016 (Phase 2)
January 19-20, 2017 (Phase 3)
February 9-10, 2017 (Phase 4)


Concordia University Wisconsin
12800 N. Lake Shore Drive
Mequon, WI 53097
Luptak Terrace Room (AL 114)

Download Brochure


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Riding the Riptide of Change through Gambling and Co-Occurring Disorders

Monday, March 28, 2016

The WCPG recently held its 17th annual statewide gambling awareness conference "Riding the Riptide of Change through Gambling and Co-Occurring Disorders". 135 participants had the opportunity to earn up to 21 CEU's during the pre-conference and the two-day conference.  Fifteen presenters provided workshops on a variety of topics including: Gambling Addiction treatment and Financial Capability, Ethics, Supervision, Therapeutic Gambling Treatment in the Criminal Justice System, Problem Gambling and domestic abuse, Mindfulness and addiction as well as many others.  It was a great networking opportunity for presenters and attendees.

At the Annual Awards Banquet, four awards were given to people who have gone above and beyond in helping problem gamblers in the state of Wisconsin and helping the Council fulfill its mission of providing resources for anyone affected by gambling disorders. We look forward to presenting the 18th Annual Conference on March 23-24, 2017 at the Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake. We hope you can join us.

Rose Gruber, Executive Director

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WCPG Outreach Program

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The WCPG Outreach Program has been traveling all across the state this school year. During the 2015-16 school year we have reached over 4,000 students and 1,100 educators already!

Students enjoy learning about gambling and problem gambling. Through games and group activities, youth are able to learn the warning signs and resources available for those struggling with problem gambling and gambling disorders. Students have the opportunity to create artwork that is featured regularly on the WCPG website.

We hear often from educators that problem gambling is not something they find in their students' textbooks. Gambling Disorder is recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as an addiction. It is categorized the same as alcohol and drugs. Education about gambling disorders is an easy fit into most existing AODA/AOTA curriculums.

To request a speaker for your school or classroom, please fill out our speaker request form or contact us directly at 920-437-8888 or outreach@wi-problemgamblers.org

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The Conference is underway!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Seventeenth Annaul Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling Statewide Conference is  underway. The presenters are picked, the brochure is out and registrations are coming in. The name of this years conference is "Riding the Riptide of Change Through Gambling and Co-Occurring Disorders", You can earn up to 21.25 CEUs at the conference. This includes a 4 hour Ethics training and a 6 hour Clinical Supervision Track. There will be special entertainment following the Awards Banquest. For more information, see the conference tab on our website or call us at 920-437-8888..

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Adolescents are a high-risk group for developing gambling problems

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

By Andrea Rathsack

Adolescents ages 12-19 are a high-risk group for developing gambling problems. It is often very difficult to discover. Because they are not legally old enough to gamble, and there are no visible signs as there are for other addictions, youth gambling can go unnoticed. While the majority of students will not become problem gamblers, knowing about gambling disorder and the warning signs will help them make good choices and provide support to friends and family as they enter their later teen and adult years, including college.

The WCPG offers schools, classrooms, and parent organizations presentations on problem gambling, absolutely free. Presentations are interactive and educational.

Between September 2014 and September 2015, the WCPG has reached over 1360 youth through classroom presentations and youth exhibits.

These presentations have been well received by both educators and students with many comments like the following, "I really enjoyed the presentation, I learned a lot of things about gambling and addiction. I think it really put into perspective how easy it can be together addicted to gambling. It definitely makes me want to be cautious for when I begin to be old enough to start gambling for fun (which is not that far away). Now that I know it's an actual disorder, I will take it more seriously."

Through the end of the year, WCPG is scheduled to reach an additional 1130 students through classroom presentations. That number continues to rise as new requests are received each week. Please help spread the word that presentations are available statewide! Contact Andrea for more information: outreach@wi-problemgamblers.org

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Gambling? Not MY Child!

Monday, August 17, 2015

by Doug LaBelle, LCSW, CEAP, NCGC II
Resources for Change, Ltd.

Lottery tickets can't be sold to anyone under 18 - right?  Well, MY Child is under 18!
Casinos can't allow anyone under 21 to gamble - right?  Well, MY Child is under 21!
Online gambling is not allowed for anyone under 21- right?  Well, MY Child is under 21!
So, MY Child can't gamble - RIGHT ? !

By definition, gambling involves the betting of money or something of value with the possibility/hope/expectation to gain more money or more things of value.

While many parents truly believe that gambling is an adult activity and that their children just don't gamble, facts and realities provide a different picture.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes gambling as a problem among children and has produced a pamphlet about this issue titled "Gambling: Not a Safe Thrill."

Teen gambling seldom involves casinos or race tracks.  Rather, teen gambling can involve:

  • Poker, other card games and dice in basements and other hangouts
  • Betting on sporting events of all kinds
  • Lottery tickets including Scratch Offs
  • Games of "skill" including video games and other types of online games
  • Online gambling including poker, keno, slots, etc.

Research has shown that gambling most commonly begins around the age of 14 and that by 19, 78% of teens are gambling in some form.  In addition, problem gambling increases consistently during teen years going from 1.3% of teens ages 14-15 to 3.4% of teens ages 18-19.

In fact, National U.S. surveys have consistently shown that gambling involvement increases throughout the teenage years, becomes prevalent at a much earlier age than drinking and that more teens gamble than drink.

While most parents are aware that their teens are online and involved with Social Media, the reality of this involvement is somewhat amazing - 92% of teens report going online daily - including 24% who say they go online "almost constantly," according to a new study from Pew Research Center.

While most of this online activity does not involve gambling, it can be a risk factor for teenage gambling.

Recent studies show that simulated gambling is common among teens and can include various online games such as Grand Theft Auto V, Pokemon, Zynga Poker and Slotomania.

Research has also shown that monthly use of online gambling sites increased for both high school age male students (2.7% in 2008 to 6.2% in 2010) and college age male students (4.4 % in 2008 to 16% in 2010).

Other risk factors include having parents with gambling problems, an earlier age of first gambling activity, greater impulsivity and various maladaptive coping strategies.

Parents can play a vital role in reducing some of the risk factors associated with teen problem gambling by using standard, yet important, parenting techniques.  These include maintaining an appropriate level of parental monitoring of teen activity and behavior, including financial and online behavior, and consistently setting and holding to limits and boundaries.

Kids do gamble and parents can do something about it - Be Caring, Supportive and Informed Parents about Gambling and Your Child!

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Meet the newest team member to the WCPG

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Hello there, my name is René Pringle and I started working full-time here at the Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling in late March of this year as the Conference Coordinator/Administrative Assistant. I was the part-time bookkeeper at the WCPG since 2010 and have known some of the outstanding people here over the last few years, who I now am lucky enough to work with on a daily basis. I look forward to meeting even more of the wonderful people who help make the council such a great organization raising awareness about problem gambling and who help to give support and services to those affected by gambling disorders.

This last year has been quite exciting for me, I married my incredible husband in June of 2014, a few months after that we purchased, with my brother, the cabin that has been in our family for over 60 years in the north woods of Wisconsin to make new lasting memories with our growing family. Then started this adventure of becoming the Conference Coordinator here at the WCPG. I am thrilled and up to the challenge to be a part of next year's conference in March of 2016. I have been learning a lot the last few months and I know there is more ahead of me on this great journey.

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WCPG Outreach Program

Friday, May 29, 2015

My name is Andrea and I am the Outreach Coordinator here at WCPG. This position was created in August of 2014. It has been an exciting journey so far, building our Outreach program. I have met some really great students throughout the state as well as many teachers who are dedicated to giving the absolute best to their students and helping to prepare them to be successful young adults.

Did you know, adolescents ages 12-19 are at a high risk of developing gambling problems? Because they are not legally old enough to gamble, and there are no visible signs, as there are with other addictions, youth gambling can often go unnoticed.

We are dedicated to increasing awareness of the issue of teen gambling with students as well as educators. Since August, I have presented to 668 students and 18 educators. These students participated in a fun new program that encourages learning the facts about both gambling and gambling disorder.

We have recently created a new Facebook page, targeted to teens and young adults. Be sure to "like" us!

Please check out our Outreach tab and discover all that we have to offer!

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