The annual conference of the National Council on Problem Gambling took place in July. Here are reflections from two Minnesotans who attended:

Jeff Hudson, MNAPG Board President, Person with Lived Experience

I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to attend. Ever since I made the commitment to ease gambling harm, I have thought the answer lies in all stakeholders being involved. Here are some of my observations:

· Networking. I had a list of specific people I wanted to meet in person, having either talked or followed on social media and it was a great networking experience.

· Critiquing research. I saw two panels where I had doubts about the thoroughness and accuracy of the research. Hearing the presenters talk about their methodologies helped me think critically about what they were measuring and the results they were claiming.

· Agility grants. I really enjoyed hearing the stories and seeing the videos that were created by participants.

· Veteran programs. The sheer number of veteran-related programs was telling, as was the convincing evidence. It is clear this is a very underserved community, and we have the potential to make some great strides in Minnesota.

· School boards. Someone said they are having more success reaching out to local school boards about gambling education than by going to individual schools. It makes sense, since the school board can influence many schools.

Katie Richards, MNAPG Board Vice President, Problem Gambling Counselor

One of my biggest takeaways from the conference is that sports betting will change a lot of things on many levels, not just on a state level but a national and individual level. There was a lot of education on what sports betting is, who is doing it, the companies that are promoting it, etc. However, one thing that could be done better is, once given that information (the multiple massive studies done), what should the person in the audience do with it? Example, I know the profile of a sports better, but what therapy techniques can I use with them? Or how do I advocate to the state of Minnesota to change the current legislative bills to make sure clients are being protected? On a federal level is there anything I can do? “

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