2023 MNPGA Conference Connecting. Reflecting. Moving Forward. Prevention + Recovery = Hope — 2023

2023 MNPGA Conference Connecting. Reflecting. Moving Forward. Prevention + Recovery = Hope — 2023

The gambling landscape continues to shift with rapid expansion and responses to regulations that seem insufficient. Those working in prevention, treatment and research need to understand and be responsive to these changes.

The MNAPG conference will feature presenters from across the country and Canada sharing their perspectives as clinicians, financial advisors, people in recovery and researchers. It will be a great way to network with others committed to minimizing the harms caused by gambling disorder and to learn more about recent trends and new tools available for those who need help.

Who Should Attend?

The conference is appropriate for many people, including:

o Gambling, alcohol and drug addiction counselors and therapists

o Other health care and social service workers

o Law enforcement officers

o School and church leaders

o Lawyers and financial professionals

o People in recovery and their families

CEU credits are available from various Minnesota professional licensing boards.

Programs and Speakers

While conference details are still falling into place as of this writing, here are some of the programs and speakers that will be part of the conference:

o Resources and Tools for Financial Counseling in Gambling Disorder Treatment, presented by Cara Macksoud, CEO of Money Habitudes, and Alex De Marco, founder and CEO of MoneyStack, Inc. and GamFin.

o The All-In Podcast Comes to Minnesota!, presented by Brian Hatch, peer recovery specialist for Bettor Choice, and Jeff Wasserman, MPA, JD, ICGC-I, CPRS, judicial outreach and development director for the Delaware Council on Gambling Problems.

o Using Affordability Guidelines as a Tool for Player Protection Online in a North American Context, presented by Lia Nower, J.D., Ph.D., a distinguished professor and director of the Center for Gambling Studies at Rutgers University.

o Working with Clients and Gambling Harms: Why it Matters and How to Lower Resistance to Treatment, presented by Jay Robinson, JR Consulting, an internationally sought-after expert in the field of preventing and responding to gambling harms.

o The Public Health Impact of Sports Betting Expansion, presented by Dr. Timothy W. Fong, M.D., a Professor of Psychiatry at the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA.

MNAPG annual conference

Sept. 18

Hilton Minneapolis/Bloomington, 3900 American Blvd W., Bloomington, MN

$30 (free to those in recovery)

Registration deadline: September 8

For More


Register and and learn more HERE.

Connecting. Reflecting. Moving Forward. Assessing the State of Problem Gambling – 2022

Connecting. Reflecting. Moving Forward. Assessing the State of Problem Gambling – 2022

The gambling landscape continues to shift quickly, as new types of gambling and gaming activities proliferate. Those working in prevention, treatment and research need to understand and be responsive to these changes.

This year’s conference, which will be offered in person and online, will cover a variety of topics with two presentation tracks, one geared toward treatment professionals and another for a more general audience. The full conference will be recorded, so whether you join us in person or online, you won’t miss any of our content. CEUs will be offered.

Who Should Attend?

The conference is appropriate for many people, including:

  • Gambling, alcohol and drug addiction counselors and therapists
  • Other health care and social service workers
  • Law enforcement officers
  • School and church leaders
  • Lawyers and financial professionals
  • People in recovery and their families
  • Policymakers
  • Gaming operators and regulators
  • Behavioral health researchers
  • CEU credits are available from various professional boards.

Programs and Speakers

While conference details are still falling into place as of this writing, here are some of the programs and speakers that will be part of the conference:

  • “Problem Gambling and Alexithymia: Implications for Interviewing, Screening, and Intervention,” presented by Jerrod Brown, Ph.D., Pathways of St. Paul.
  • “Gambling Disorders in a New Era of Gambling,” presented by Jody Bechtold, LCSW, ICGC-II, BACC, CGT, CEO of The Better Institute.
  • “How Can We Move Forward with Cultural Humility/DEI Absent a Strategic Plan? What’s Your Navigation System?” presented by Deborah Haskins, Ph.D., LCPC, board-approved supervisor, MAC, ICGC-II, CCGSO, BACC, CGT, President, Maryland Council on Problem Gambling.
  • “Sports Betting Integrity and Today’s Student Athlete,” presented by Dan Trolaro, MS, Vice President of Prevention, Epic Risk Management.
  • “Emergence of Problem Gambling from Childhood to Emerging Adulthood: A Systematic Review,” presented by Dr. Serena King, L.P., Professor and Chair, Psychology of Hamline University.
  • What:
    MNAPG annual conference
  • When:
    November 15
  • Where:
    Heritage Center of Brooklyn Center and virtually
  • Cost:
  • Registration Deadline:
    October 25 (for in person)
    November 10 (for Zoom)
  • For More Information: www.mnapg.org/conference
What We Know About Gambling and the Risk of Gambling Addiction

What We Know About Gambling and the Risk of Gambling Addiction

Although gambling — and gambling addiction — has been around for a while, it’s still an activity and an addiction that’s received much less attention than others. A groundbreaking survey conducted by the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) provides a glimpse into the “hidden addiction” and provides implications for public policy and future research.

Gambling in the United States

Here are some of the key findings of the nationwide survey:

  1. Gambling is a very popular American past time. Three in four American adults report some type of gambling in the year preceding the survey. Only 12 percent claim to never have gambled.
  2. Most gamblers bet on more than one activity, with the average American gambler betting on three different activities.
  3. Legal prohibitions or restrictions on gambling have minimal effect on gambling participation. Even in the two states that allow no legal gambling (Hawaii and Utah), more than half the adults report some gambling activity in the past year. One in five Americans placed a sports bet despite it being legalized in only two states at the time of the survey, many of them online or through bookmakers. And 15 percent reported making an online wager.
  4. The lottery is the most popular form of gambling, with two out of three survey respondents reporting a past year lottery More than one- third of the sample reported spending money at a casino.
  5. Most who gamble appear to do so without negative consequences. While for methodological reasons the survey was not designed to assess the rate of gambling disorder, 70 percent of gamblers reported never experiencing any of the four risky gambling behaviors covered by the However, seven percent reported experiencing at least one of these behaviors “many times,” with most of these reporting only one frequent problematic behavior.
  6. Young adults appear to be at higher risk for gambling Half of those under 35 responded “yes” to at least one indicator of risky behavior. By contrast only 10 percent of gamblers over the age of 65 responded “yes” to at least one indicator.
  7. Sports bettors appear to be at particularly high risk, being three or more times as likely than those gamblers who did not bet on sports to report frequent risky behavior. Those betting weekly on sports are five or more times more likely to report frequent risky These disparities are even greater for those playing fantasy sports. We do not know, however, if sports betting results in risky behavior, or if those who are more prone to risky behavior are drawn to sports betting.
  8. A considerable number of gamblers do not understand the way gambling works, with 16 percent believing that gambling is a good way to make money. Similar numbers of people believe that gambling more often will help them win more than they lose, or that their chances of winning get better after they’ve lost. These misconceptions are more common among those playing games with a skill component, such as sports betting or cards.
  9. A large share of the population misunderstands or stigmatizes problem More than half of those surveyed attribute gambling problems at least in part to moral weakness or lack of willpower, while fewer than one half believe it can result from genetics or a medical condition.

Gambling in Minnesota

The survey also sought to ascertain gambling behavior on a state-by-state focus. Here are some highlights from Minnesota survey responses (Results were collected prior to COVID.)

Minnesotans like to gamble

  • 78% of Minnesota adults reported making a bet in the past

Minnesotans bet on many things

  • The average Minnesota gambler bet on four activities in the year before the survey. One in four wagered on seven or more.

The lottery is the most popular form of gambling in Minnesota.

  • 66% of Minnesota adults reported a past year lottery
  • Minnesota is among the states where residents are most likely to play bingo or buy a pull-tab.

Sports betting is relatively uncommon.

  • 19% of Minnesotans reported betting on a sports

Most gamble for fun

  • 81% of past year gamblers believe that gambling is not a good way to make money.

Many Minnesotans misunderstand problem gambling

  • 77% believe that a lack of willpower is a cause of problem

Public Policy Implications

There are numerous implications that can drawn from the national and state data provided by the survey. One clear implication is the limitations of policies based on prohibition. “When creating public policy, we need to take into account the possibility that prohibition may simply result in gamblers going to illegal or offshore operations that have minimal, if any, regulation,” says Susan Sheridan Tucker, executive director of Minnesota Alliance on Problem Gambling, Minnesota’s affiliate to the NCPG.

Another possible conclusion from the survey is that sports betting appears to become a higher risk of problematic play than most other forms of gambling, though it’s not clear whether this is driven by the widespread availability of illegal, unregulated play. “It’s apparent that legal, regulated sports betting must include extensive and effective responsible play and addiction prevention measure,” said Sheridan Tucker.

Some additional implications from the survey include:

  • The rapid expansion of sports betting combined with the risks associated with this activity require that its impact be carefully monitored.
  • The level of risky behavior among fantasy sports players is at least as high as that associated with traditional sports betting.
  • Young adults are at greater risk of problematic play than any other demographic segment.
  • There is no evidence that the risks of problematic gambling are affected by socio-economic status or by racial or ethnic background.
  • State lotteries have a critical role to play in problem gambling awareness and prevention.
  • For virtually every gambling activity, those reporting frequent play are considerably less likely to practice positive play than those playing less
  • While the data from this survey point to factors that are associated with problematic play (age, type of betting and, to a lesser extent, gender), we are far from understanding causal relationships.
  • Gambling disorders continue to be highly misunderstood and

This study, the first national survey of gambling in twenty years, points the way toward protecting public health and devising effective strategies to prevent gambling problems and improve the lives of those affected by it. As the United States undergoes the most massive expansion of legalized gambling in its history, it is critically important that governments, the gambling and gaming industry, and nongovernmental service providers come together to enact policies that maximize the benefits to society of legalized gambling while mitigating its potential harms. Future surveys will show the degree to which these goals have been accomplished.

What We Know About Gambling and the Risk of Gambling Addiction

2021 PGAM campaign audio files

The WAGER – Consumer protection tool use among Australian online gamblers

The WAGER – Consumer protection tool use among Australian online gamblers

Read the original article on The Basis website here.

By Kira Landauer, MPH

Many jurisdictions require online gambling operators to provide digital features that are intended to help players gamble more responsibly and minimize gambling-related harms. These consumer protection tools (CPTs) include setting limits on the amount of money one can deposit into their account (deposit limits), the ability to temporarily deactivate one’s account for a short period of time (timeouts), or the option to deactivate one’s account for a longer period of time (self-exclusion). But, do online gamblers actually use the CPTs available to them? This week, The WAGER reviews a study by Robert M. Heirene and colleagues that examined CPT use among customers of multiple online gambling operators in Australia in 2018 – 2019.

What were the research questions?
Which CPTs are used and how often are CPTs used by customers across six major Australian online gambling operators during a 12-month period? Does CPT use vary depending on customer demographics or wagering behavior?

What did the researchers do?
The researchers obtained de-identified account data for 39,853 customers across six online wagering operators in Australia. The records covered July 2018 to June 2019. All customers wagered at least once during this period. Customer data included demographics and (for the 12-month study period): the use of any CPTs (deposit limits, timeouts, and self-exclusion), transaction details (e.g., withdrawals and deposits), and all bets placed.

The researchers examined the overall prevalence of CPT use. They placed customers into quartiles based on their betting intensity (i.e., median number of bets per active betting day). CPT use was compared across customer betting intensity quartiles. The researchers also examined demographic characteristics and wagering behaviors among different groups of CPT users (non-uses, deposit limit setters, and timeout and/or self-exclusion users).

What did they find?
Only 16.8% of customers used at least one CPT during the 12-month study period. Deposit limits were the most frequently used CPT (15.8% of customers). Timeout and self-exclusion tools were used by less than 2% of customers (see Figure). CPT use increased linearly with gambling intensity. Rates of CPT use (timeouts and self-exclusion, in particular) were highest among customers who gambled more intensely. Customers most often used deposit limits first, or used deposit limits and a timeout in the same day. Many customers made changes to their deposit limits. Increasing the deposit limit (i.e., making it less restrictive) was the most frequent change. Customers who made the most changes to their deposit limits were more likely to increase or remove the limit.

Compared to non-CPT users and deposit limit setters, customers who used timeouts and/or self-exclusion were more likely to be younger, male, bet more times per active day, lost more money, deposited more money into their accounts, and had higher median stake amounts during the study period. Few differences were observed between the non-CPT users and the deposit limit setters.

Figure. The prevalence of use of different consumer protection tools among online gamblers from six Australian wagering operators (total n = 39,853). Click image to enlarge.

Why do these findings matter?
Low rates of CPT usage might be attributed to a general lack of awareness that these tools exist. Further, customers may not be engaging with these tools due to the misperception that CPTs are intended for customers with gambling problems. Operators should do a better job of promoting these tools and communicating their relevance and benefits to all customers. Gambling operators might also consider using an “opt-out” strategy for certain CPTs, like deposit limits. In this case, customers would be provided an opportunity when signing up to either set a deposit limit or actively opt-out of doing so, which might increase the use of this CPT. Finally, this study found that limits are often increased or removed by customers at risk of experiencing gambling problems, at least according to their gambling intensity. Operators might consider imposing greater restrictions on the ability to increase or remove limits, and could consider implementing strategies to help customers set and stick to appropriate limits.

Every study has limitations. What are the limitations of this study?
This study used customer data from Australian gambling operators, where online gambling is restricted to sports and race wagering. Findings might not be generalizable to other jurisdictions that offer other forms of online gambling, such as online poker or casino games.

For more information:
Do you think you or someone you know has a gambling problem? Visit the National Council on Problem Gambling for screening tools and resources. For additional resources, including gambling and self-help tools, visit our Addiction Resources page.

— Kira Landauer, MPH

Peer Support Specialists Play Vital Role in Problem Gambling Recovery

Peer Support Specialists Play Vital Role in Problem Gambling Recovery

As seen on The Phoenix Spirit. Read the original article Here.

By Bill Stein

There is great power in learning from someone who has “been there before.” People with similar lived experience may be able to listen and provide hope and guidance in a way that is uniquely received.

So-called “mental health peer support” has existed for decades. Since the 1990s, the concept of “consumers as providers” has become a larger component in mental health service settings.

Perhaps there is no more powerful example of the power of peer support than when a recovering compulsive gambler shares their story with someone still in the throes of addiction. Indeed, programs such as Gamblers Anonymous are built largely on the idea that others with similar challenges can lead the way to recovery.

Peer support specialists are people who have been successful in the recovery process and can help others experiencing similar situations. Peer support specialists have a proven place as a key component of integrated care for recovery.

What is a Peer Support Specialist?

A peer support specialist is someone with lived experience who is able to share that perspective with another person who has not yet achieved recovery from addiction. They provide a link between clinical services and “outside” supports and can help someone navigate the behavioral health system and find appropriate community resources. A peer provides an example of empowerment and success and can be a trusted role model. It’s often easier for a person seeking to begin recovery to talk with a peer support specialist than it is to talk to a counselor or attend a Gamblers Anonymous meeting. Peer support specialists can also foster trust in a healthcare system that has often disenfranchised many of those whom it serves.

The value of lived experience is helpful throughout the time a peer support specialist spends with a client but can be particularly helpful when the gambler is vulnerable to relapsing. Some peers are available 24/7 so that a gambler in distress can reach them at any time.

Benefits of Gambling Peer Recovery Support

Recovery from any addiction is a long process. Most people need support at various points throughout the difficult journey. While everyone’s struggle to achieve recovery is different, what each person has in common is the need to receive support in one form or another. Although the faces of addiction are many, all persons on the road to recovery need the support of others, who need to be familiar with what it means to be an addict.

There are four key elements to the support provided by the peer support specialists:

  1. Emotional support. The peer support specialist provides emotional support by encouraging the individual through empathy, concern or caring, and helping to strengthen confidence and self-esteem.
  2. Information source. The peer support specialist shares their knowledge about resources available to guide individuals to success, including access to treatment, which is often available at no cost.
  3. At a practical level, a peer support specialist can help people complete tasks necessary for successful recovery, such as helping with transportation and housing.
  4. A peer support specialist helps individuals gain a sense of belonging and being with others.

Peer support specialists may get involved in a range of activities, including:

  • Being a voice in individual, family, and group counseling.
  • Providing support to family members of problem gamblers.
  • Helping someone through financial counseling.
  • Being available by phone (including after hours).
  • Giving presentations, teaching, and providing training.
  • Being the voice of recovery providing input into program planning.
  • Serving as a connection to the “recovery community.”
  • Providing support in negotiations with the criminal justice system.

Many who work in recovery are in recovery themselves

Many people believe that individuals without shared experience cannot help those with addictions or fully understand what they’ve gone through. Studies provide considerable support for this contention. A review of existing studies found that the percentage of substance use disorder treatment providers who were in recovery was 33-50 percent. Those in recovery who are involved in client care have an ability to introduce their clients and patients to 12-step and other self-help supports in ways that those not in recovery are unable to do.

Provider Benefits

Peer support specialists that work within a treatment delivery system can provide an important benefit to providers. They can offer assistance with resources for those identified with a gambling problem and/or their family members. 

Trained Professionals

While specifics vary by state, there is a formal process for becoming certified as a peer support specialist. In Minnesota, peer specialists must have 30 hours of continuing education every two years in areas of mental health recovery, mental health rehabilitative services and peer support.

The Need for Gambling Peer Support Specialists in Minnesota

Unfortunately, peer support specialists are not currently approved as part of gambling treatment programs in Minnesota. However, a number of other states, including Maryland and Connecticut, recognize them as vital parts of treatment and recovery. In each of these state programs, gambling peer support specialists engage with an individual as soon as they call the state gambling helpline. While not everyone seeking help may be ready to sit down with a counselor, they may be receptive to having a conversation, or a series of conversations, with a trained peer before seeking formal counseling. In fact, each of these states have seen an increase in those seeking treatment since the inclusion of the peer support specialist, crediting the importance of those early conversations.

In Connecticut and Maryland, the gambling peer support specialist is an integral component to an individual’s recovery treatment plan, working in conjunction with the counselor as added support. Peer support specialists are also available post-treatment, maintaining connections as the person in their early recovery begins to negotiate their new way of being.

The Minnesota Alliance on Problem Gambling is working with the Minnesota Department of Human Services to bring peer support professionals into the treatment mix given their clear value in helping those with gambling addiction in their recovery journeys.

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