Throughout the training we will be
showing several videos. Please be advised that some sections in
these videos can be a trigger to someone with a Gambling Disorder.
Feel free to skip the videos and take care of yourself when you
The Wisconsin Council on Problem
Gambling has a 24-hour Helpline: 1-800-GAMBLE-5,
Text for Help: 1-850-888-HOPE, and Chat line at
www.wi-problemgamblers.org that provides information and referrals
for gamblers. The Helpline also extends help to family members,
concerned friends or employers. The WCPG has a database of
qualified treatment providers, Gamblers Anonymous and Gam-Anon
chapters to which callers can be referred. Informational packets of
literature can also be mailed to callers.
The Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling provides
resources, public awareness, and education on gambling disorders
while maintaining strict neutrality on the issue of legalized
The Wisconsin Council on
Problem Gambling, an affiliate of the National Council on
Problem Gambling, is a non-profit organization created in 1993. The
primary mission of the WCPG is to educate and promote public
understanding of problem gambling and the disorder of compulsive
gambling. WCPG maintains neutrality on the issue of legalized
gambling. Its efforts are focused on:
WCPG was formed in 1993 by a group of
counselors, recovering compulsive gamblers, educators, and
concerned citizens. While it is located in Green Bay, it has a
statewide membership, a statewide Board of Directors, and a
statewide mission. In January 1994, WCPG became one of 35 councils
currently affiliated with the National Council on Problem Gambling,
Inc. of Washington, D.C.
In 1995, WCPG received a one-time
$25,000 challenge grant from the Cornerstone Foundation in Green
Bay to help pay costs of establishing and operating a statewide,
toll-free 1-800 Helpline for problem gamblers and their families.
Callers to the Helpline can receive printed gambling specific
information and can be referred to area Gamblers Anonymous Meetings
and referred to area providers that are trained specifically in
treating the addiction of compulsive gambling.
During 1996, training programs were
developed to train professionals in the treatment of compulsive
gambling and to enable them to become a referral source for the
WCPG Helpline. The year 1997 showed an increasing need for the
services provided by the Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling.
Calls to the Helpline increased as well as the requests for public
speaking and educational trainings.
The State of Wisconsin provided the
Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling a grant in 1998 to implement
a public awareness campaign on the issue of compulsive
gambling. The WCPG continues its compulsive gambilng awareness
is the only organization in the state of Wisconsin that is
dedicated solely to helping those impacted by problem gambling.
Compulsive gambling, also called
gambling disorder, is the uncontrollable urge to keep gambling
despite the toll it takes on your life. Gambling means that you're
willing to risk something you value in the hope of getting
something of even greater value in return.
Gambling can stimulate the brain's
reward system much like drugs or alcohol can, leading to addiction.
If you have a problem with compulsive gambling, you may continually
chase bets that lead to losses, hide your behavior, deplete
savings, accumulate debt, or even resort to theft or fraud to
support your addiction.
Compulsive gambling is a serious
condition that can destroy lives. Although treating compulsive
gambling can be challenging, many people who struggle with
compulsive gambling have found help through professional treatment.
- Mayo Clinic
The compulsive gambler can be a male
or female of any age, race, income or religion. He or she may
gamble on dog races, card games, slots and dice, sports events,
lotteries, bingo, the stock market, or any situation which provides
the gambler with "action".
Doubling Down: From jackpot to compulsive gambler
Some ways to
Often referred to as a "hidden
illness" gambling addiction has no obvious physical signs
or symptoms that can be quickly or easily spotted. Problem
gamblers often go unnoticed for many years before the signs of the
addiction finally become evident even to close friends and family
members. In fact, because many gambling addicts are able to control
their behaviors the majority of the time, it could be very
difficult to spot a gambling addiction unless you physically go
with the gambler into a situation in which they are actually
gambling; then you may quickly realize that they are out of
control. - addictions.com
Signs of Problem
Start the Conversation Voices
Three Different Types of
Three Phases of
The First Stage: The Winning
The gambler may experience a winning streak and begin to feel
invincible. "Winning" creates the
illusion that the outcome of the game is influenced by one's own
action instead of by sheer luck. Losing is explained as the result
of natural or external causes: "had bad
luck" or "the slot system is
wrong." During the transition from recreational to
problem gambling, a gambler spends too much money and begins to
borrow small amounts to continue playing. At this stage, the
gambler will pay off debts with winnings, gamble the rest away and
try to borrow again to get back in the action. All the loans have
only one purpose: to continue playing. The gambler who borrows to
play is no longer a recreational gambler.
The Second Stage: The
The next step occurs when the gambler's financial situation is
compromised by involvement in the gambling. Personal resources are
often completely exhausted and borrowing money becomes the norm.
Money is borrowed from the bank or withdrawn from the gambler's
business. Loans are often hidden from partners, parents, spouses,
other relatives and friends. To cut losses and pay back loans, the
gambler spends more and more time on gambling. Normal daily
activities become a burden and a gambler's performance at work
suffers from carelessness and neglect. When the gambler borrows
even more money from friends and family, the isolation and secrecy
increase and the gambler's social circle begins to collapse. As
this gambling obsession increases, the losses become heavier. It
becomes more and more difficult to return to recreational gambling
or to stop. The gambler is now "chasing their losses." This is one
of the most obvious signs of problem gambling.
The gambler is now looking for the "big win" to
recover all losses and does not recognize the futility of this
effort. At this point, the gambling problem not only leaves a mark
on the daily life of the gambler, but the gambler's family as well.
In this stage, the gambler still assumes that they can pay
everything back. Again and again, the gambler promises to stop
gambling. Confrontations on this promise lead to regular domestic
and professional conflicts, particularly when the gambler is found
to have resumed gambling. A gambler can lose a job because of
absenteeism, embezzlement or other fraudulent behavior. Some
problem gamblers begin to move from job to job in search of one
which allows more time to gamble. In this losing phase, a problem
gambler begins to think of gambling as a solution to an increasing
variety of personal, professional and financial problems.
The Third Stage: The
In the third stage, the gambler becomes desperate. Gambling
ultimately becomes a full-time activity. Partners or parents react
by showing their contempt. Families also become desperate at this
point. They try to enlist the aid of other people, because they
find that all their own efforts to help have failed. The gambler
will perform a job with increasing carelessness, finding it more
and more difficult to concentrate or focus on work. If the job
means working for an employer where money is handled, they are at
an increased risk for embezzlement to occur. If the problem gambler
owns a business, it can become the source of funds which can lead
It is at this point that the gambler's
optimism for that big win finally fades. If a gambler has reached
this point, and has moved outside the law to support his/her
addiction, restlessness sets in. The gambler will be quick to anger
and very nervous. Sleep disorders may also become apparent. Even
food loses its appeal as the gambler watches the joy of living
disappear. In this stage, the gambler may have a winning streak,
but this leads to even heavier gambling and greater losses.
In the desperation phase, the gambler
becomes a physical and emotional wreck--desperate and helpless.
Creditors, threatening letters and financial crises become a fact
of life. A compulsive gambler will react physically and emotionally
in much the same way as an alcohol or drug addict. The problem
gambler may become completely isolated from family and friends.
Divorce and broken relations often result. Heavy attacks of
In this final stage, gamblers
often see only four solutions:
- This information was made available
from Casino Regina in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Consequences of Problem
Problem gambling behavior exists in 6-20% of the adolescent
population. In fact adolescents are 2 to 4 times more likely than
adults to have this problem. Because social gambling quickly moves
to problem gambling, and wagering is thought of as an adult
privilege, adolescents are more susceptible to developing this
behavior. Approximately 2 out of 3 adolescents gamble.
There are two types of women gamblers--those seeking escape and
those seeking excitement. Those seeking escape are able to enter a
"dissociative state" when gambling, and therefore
temporarily avoid unpleasant circumstances or even become a
different person. There is a high incidence of depression among
women who gamble compulsively, and distress over relationships
seems to be an equally common factor. Problem gamblers have 2 to 3
times higher incident rate of substance misuse than other women,
and may substitute one problem for another. - "Women and Problem
Gambling." The Women's Addiction Foundation
Many adults begin gambling more frequently later in life. It is
important to know the difference between social and problem
gambling. It becomes a problem when it has a negative effect on
one's life and the lives of people close to them. Not all gambling
is problem gambling. It may be merely an occasional social
activity. However, this may lead to problem gambling. Gambling may
also be used as a coping mechanism. Older adults are often widowed
and frequently suffer losses of lifelong friends; may be
geographically separated from loved ones; or may be simply bored or
unhappy with retirement. Many older adults are unaware of the
problems excessive gambling may cause and the potential for
Article to Read: The Gambler
Adam Resnick grew up well-off in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and says his
parents took him to his first casino when he was six. At 14,
he says he got his first real gambler's rush while on a family
cruise. Playing blackjack at the ship's casino, he turned a $500
holiday gift into nearly $8,000.
Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling has created a statewide
database of qualified Treatment
Anonymous and Gam-Anon chapters
to which callers can be referred. Written information on problem
gambling is also sent on request.
Library is open to the General Public! The Council has a
variety of books and videos that can be loaned out for up to two
weeks at a time FREE of charge. The topics vary from educational to
biographical. There is something for every age group!
you a compulsive gambler? Gamblers Anonymous 20
Questions. Most compulsive gamblers will answer yes to at
least 7 of these questions. If you answered yes to 7 or more, you
may want to seek help for a gambling problem. Call
1-800-GAMBLE-5 or Text 1-920-888-HELP or Chat www.wi-problemgamblers.org
Gamblers Anonymous is
a fellowship of men and women who share their experiences, strength
and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem
and help others to recover from a gambling problem.
The only requirement for membership is
a desire to stop gambling. There are no dues or fees for Gamblers
Anonymous membership; we are self-supporting through our own
contributions. Gamblers Anonymous is not allied with any sect,
denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish
to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any
cause. Our primary purpose is to stop gambling and to help other
compulsive gamblers do the same.
Gam-Anon? The self-help organization of Gam-Anon
is a life-saving instrument for the spouse, family or close friends
of compulsive gamblers.
It is hoped that the program will help
In Gam-Anon, participants hear about
appropriate ways of relating to the gambler as an equal rather than
as a caretaker. The heavy load of responsibility for the gambling
problem is lifted and the agonizing guilt in regards to failures is
gradually alleviated. The energy wasted in attempts to stop loved
ones from gambling can be channeled into more useful methods of
problem solving. They are shown how to deal with the anger and
resentment that builds after having dealt with a compulsive
gambler. Gam-Anon groups are warmly accepting and offer members the
opportunity to express their feelings and understand them.
Remember, like other addictions, gambling is treatable.
-Copyrighted info reprinted with permission of
the Gam-Anon International Service Office Inc. PO Box 157,
Whitestone, NY 11357, 718-352-1671, fax 718-746-2571.
This training is for informational
purposes only. It is not designed for those counselors who are or
plan to be working with problem gamblers and their families in a
clinical setting. For more information about the Wisconsin Council
on Problem Gambling Training/Conference opportunities, visit our
website at www.wi-problemgamblers.org.
We would appreciate your feedback!
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WCPG For Teens
The Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling provides resources,
public awareness, and education on gambling disorders while
maintaining strict neutrality on the issue of legalized