What is
Problem Gambling?

Problem gambling, also known as gambling addiction or compulsive gambling, is defined as the urge to gamble despite harmful negative consequences or a desire to stop.

It’s estimated that approximately 160,000 to 214,000 Minnesotans struggle with this addictive disorder, which can destroy lives, threaten family relationships and empty retirement savings.

Virtually anyone – men or women, young or old, from every religion, race and socio-economic background – can be at risk for developing a gambling problem. They can play the horses, slots, the lottery, pull-tabs, cards and bingo.

It is estimated that one to two percent of Minnesotans meet the diagnostic criteria for compulsive gambling. Another one to two percent experience problems related to their gambling behaviors.

The most serious form of problem gambling is pathological gambling, the essential feature of which is “persistent and recurrent maladaptive behavior that disrupts personal, family or vocational pursuits.” (American Psychiatric Association – DSM-V)

Compulsive gambling can result in social, emotional and financial devastation, including loss of relationships, residence, emotional or physical health, and career or educational opportunities.

Some compulsive gamblers commit illegal acts to support their gambling or to pay off gambling-related debts. Some go to prison or are admitted to psychiatric institutions. It is not uncommon to hear about compulsive gamblers who attempt or commit suicide.

Each year, the Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance holds several regional trainings and a conference every other year.

Hope for anyone suffering from gambling addiction is just one call away. Call the Minnesota Problem Gambling Helpline at (800) 333-HOPE. The helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In Their Own Words – Tim’s Story

I had my first big win of $500 as a 7-year old at a church picnic in a small town in Minnesota. I was like a celebrity for a while after that. I chased that feeling for 34 years, becoming very competitive in sports, games, spelling bees and just about everything else. I figured out I had a gambling problem in 1994...

NCPG Conference Roundup

I (virtually) attended the annual conference of the National Council on Problem Gambling in July. Here is a recap of some of the presentations. Industry Trends The conference featured a considerable focus on responsible gambling, particularly in light of the expansion of gambling. This includes sports betting and...

Minnesota Gambling Control Board Plays Critical Role in State Gambling

The Minnesota Gambling Control Board plays a critical role in regulating gambling activity in Minnesota. Northern Light conducted the following Q&A with Matt Gettman, the agency’s executive director. Q: What is the primary role of the Minnesota Gambling Control Board (MGCB)?A: Our role is to regulate the lawful...

Recovering Problem Gambler Leads Way Through Recovery

Jess Stewart’s desire to become an advocate for problem gamblers was born while he was at Project Turnabout for residential gambling treatment in 2016. Four years later, he’s proven to be a highly motivated, steadfast voice for those afflicted with gambling disorder. After graduating from Project Turnabout, Jess...

COVID Mental Health Trends from EAP (Employee Assistance Program) Callers

The following are some trends that have emerged from people calling in to employee assistance programs.  Loneliness is causing increased mental health issues. This seems to be an underlying theme if clients are far from their support systems or have spent a lot of time alone. Issues from the past, including previous...

Canterbury Park Reopens with Hope and Caution

After shutting down for nearly three months, the Canterbury Park Card Casino opened in mid-June — with equal amounts of caution and hope. “We’re as well prepared as we can be,” says Michael Hochman, Vice President of Casino Operations at Canterbury Park. “Everyone is doing everything they can to make sure our gaming...

Recovery from gambling addiction is possible.

Christina's Story

When I was asked to share my story, I didn’t hesitate. I think it’s so important for people to see that everyday, regular people can have a gambling addiction. And by telling my story I hope I can help others and reduce the shame of compulsive gambling.

Looking back on it, I guess it’s not surprising that I developed a gambling problem. I had a risk-taking personality and was exposed to various forms of gambling as early as age 9. Read more . . .

Signs of Gambling Addiction

Given the subtle nature of gambling problems, how can you identify someone who is at risk for compulsive gambling? Learn how.

Whether, When, How Much?

Scroll through this brochure to help you find answers to these questions. View here.

Comtemplating Fanasty Sports

Fantasy sports are taking center stage this fall, particularly with the pervasive presence of DraftKings and FanDuel. Learn more here.

Gambling Recovery Starts Here

Treatment for gambling addiction works. Recovery allows one to experience a new, better world with emotional, spiritual and physical health. It starts with a call to the Minnesota Gambling Helpline at 1-800-333-HOPE or a visit to GetGamblingHelp.com. Treatment for gambling addiction is offered at no cost in the state of Minnesota.

Is Gambling Costing You Your Family?

Problem gambling can disrupt the lives of gamblers and their family. If you know someone who may have a problem, or if you think you need help for yourself, counseling is available at no cost to Minnesotans. Call the Minnesota Gambling Helpline at 1-800-333-HOPE or visit GetGamblingHelp.com. You can also contact a state-approved certified gambling counselor here.

Family is a Terrible Thing to Waste