Professionals

WHAT IS PROBLEM GAMBLING?

Individuals with problem gambling — as well as their concerned others — may come into contact with any number of professionals in the course of their life. NPGA is committed to providing resources so that those affected by problem gambling can find the assistance they need. While gambling counselors know the destructive nature of gambling disorder, other professionals may encounter individuals or family members that require guidance to protect against further harm.

Learning about problem gambling is particularly valuable to:

  • Current gambling treatment providers working to advance their clinical skills or improve their practice, or who may be working toward some level of certification. NPGA workshops and webinars provide insights into advanced clinical techniques for the treatment of problem gambling.
  • Addiction treatment professionals who want to learn more about problem gambling given its frequent occurrence as a co-existing disorder among their alcohol and substance abuse patients.
  • General health care and social service professionals who wish to better understand the signs of gambling addiction and are in an important position to help identify those at risk for gambling addiction.
  • Attorneys, bankers and other financial advisors who may have clients struggling with a gambling disorder or who have already reached a point where their addiction has forced them into severe financial problems. NPGA has some specific resources available to assist your clients with financial planning.
  • Human Resources/Employee Assistance Program managers who can identify employees who may be experiencing gambling problems and learn about resources available to help them.
  • Corrections officers who may have offenders that have either committed a crime related to their gambling addiction or require treatment for a gambling disorder while incarcerated. NPGA has also developed an online training to guide corrections officers on fulfilling assessments.
  • Spiritual and trusted community leaders who may be consulted by those with a gambling addiction may receive training that enables them to be more knowledgeable about this addiction within their community. NPGA offers periodic spiritual/trusted community leader training. Please contact Susan Sheridan Tucker for more information.

We encourage healthcare, legal, financial and community leadership to become joint members of NPGA and the National Council of Problem Gambling, providing access to the latest information about gambling trends, webinars, NPGA’s quarterly newsletter and discounts/scholarships to each organization’s annual conferences and trainings.

NEWS FOR PROFESSIONALS

SIGNS OF PROBLEM GAMBLING

Given the subtle nature of gambling problems, how can you identify someone who is at risk for gambling disorder? Here are the nine warning signs:

Preoccupation

Frequent thoughts about gambling experiences (past, future, or fantasy)

Tolerance

Need for larger or more frequent wagers to experience the same “rush”

    Withdrawal

    Restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling

      Escape

      Gambling to escape from problems or feelings (i.e., depression, loneliness, etc.)

      Chasing

      Try to win back gambling losses with more gambling

      Lying

      Lying about the frequency of gambling or amounts won or lost

        Loss of control

        Repeated unsuccessful attempts to control, reduce or stop gambling

        Bailout

        Relying on others to relieve a desperate financial situation caused by gambling

          Risked significant relationship

          Gambling despite risking or losing a relationship, job, or other significant opportunity

            LIST OF MINNESOTA APPROVED PROVIDERS

            Carver County

            Resilience Counseling
            (612) 750-3376
            Mary Dahnert, mdahnert@resiliencecounseling.com
            resiliencecounseling.com
            1107 Hazeltine Blvd, Suite 410, Chaska, MN 55318

            Goodhue County

            Midwest Recovery
            (651) 846-9010
            Info@midwestrecovery.org
            midwestrecovery.org
            217 Plum Street, Suite #130 Red Wing MN 55066

            Hennepin County

            Club Recovery Inc
            (952) 926-2526
            Craig Johnson cjohnson@clubrecoveryllc.com
            clubrecoveryllc.com
            6550 York Ave S, #620, Edina, MN 55435

            Connections Counseling & Recovery Services
            (763) 370-8880
            Joyce Terhorst portia9614@gmail.com
            7550 France Ave S, Suite 220, Edina, MN 55435

            Fairview Compulsive Gambling Program
            (612) 672-2736
            Susan Campion scampio1@fairview.org
            fairview.org
            2450 Riverside Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55454

            Problem Gambling Intervention, LLC
            (612) 558-5364
            Roger Anton rpanton@juno.com
            Minneapolis VA Medical Center, 1 Veterans Drive, Minneapolis, MN 55417

            Vinland National Center OP Services
            (763) 479-4882
            Don Raasch donr@vinlandcenter.org
            vinlandcenter.org
            675 NE Stinson Blvd #200, Minneapolis, MN 55413

            Mille Lacs County

            Freedom Center
            (763) 308-0006
            Cynthia Naumann maumann.cindi@gmail.com
            freedomcenterinc.org
            140 2nd Ave NE, Milaca, MN 56353

            Olmsted County

            Christina Pristash
            (507) 202-0701
            Christina Pristash pristashlmft@gmail.com
            counselingrochester.org
            1500 1st ave NE, Suite 120, Rochester, MN 55906

            Ramsey County

            Alcohol and Gambling Assessments
            (651) 485-6229
            Renee Collova-Bergee reneebergee@comcast.net
            1397 Geneva Ave N #102A, Oakdale, MN 55128

            Pathways Counseling
            (952) 200-4605
            John Von Eschen jvon64@gmail.com
            pathwayscounselingcenter.org
            1919 University Ave W, Suite 6, St Paul, MN 55104

            Progressive Individual Resources, Inc.
            (612)749-3309
            info@pirimn.org
            pirimn.org
            2147 University Ave W, Suite 206, St Paul, MN 55114

            Rice County

            Midwest Recovery
            651-846-9010
            info@midwestrecovery.org
            midwestrecovery.org
            303 1st Street NE, Suite #365 Faribault, MN 55021

            Paula Detjen
            (507) 581-0430
            Paula Detjen Paula@DetjenCounseling.com
            detjencounseling.com
            14041 Burnhaven Dr, Suite 145, Burnsville, MN 55337

            Saint Louis County

            Center for Alcohol & Drug Treatment Gambling Services
            (218) 723-8444
            Brenda DeLeeuw brenda@cadt.org
            cadt.org
            26 E Superior St, Duluth, MN 55805

            Sherburne County

            Freedom Center
            (763) 308-0006
            Cynthia Naumann naumann.cindi@gmail.com
            freedomcenterinc.org
            105 6th Ave S, Princeton, MN 55371

            Washington County

            Bridges and Pathways Counseling
            (612) 719-7966
            Paul Mladnick mladnick.paul50@gmail.com
            1068 S Lake St, Suite 109, Forest Lake, MN 55025

            Venthouse Counseling, Jason Walter
            (612) 562-6766
            Jason Walter LPC, LADC aadrjay@gmail.com
            venthousecounseling.com
            8530 Eagle Point Blvd, #100, Lake Elmo, MN 55042

            Alcohol and Gambling Assessments
            (651) 485-6229
            Renee Collova-Bergee reneebergee@comcast.net
            1397 Geneva Ave N #102A, Oakdale, MN 55128

            Yellow Medicine County

            Project Turnabout/ Vanguard Center for Compulsive Gambling
            (320) 564-4911 1-800-862-1453
            RESIDENTIAL PROGRAM info@projectturnabout.org
            projectturnabout.org
            660 18th St, Granite Falls, MN 56241

            professionals

            It’s important that all healthcare clinicians, no matter their specialty, be aware of problem gambling and to provide the best possible services/resources for gamblers and their loved ones. NPGA is committed to supporting high quality training for those who interact with problem gamblers.

            If you’re interested in pursuing certification to become a problem gambler treatment provider, please review the certification process under certification. Those interested in pursuing problem gambling training must be a LADC, LMSW, LLPC, LMFT or psychologist.

            If you need to refer your client to a gambling treatment professional in Minnesota, please call 1-800-333-HOPE (4763). Translation services are available. A complete list of state-certified providers can be found above. Due to COVID-19, telehealth sessions are available until at least June 2021. Any Minnesotan may receive counseling services by any approved provider via video or telephone calls.

            Gambling Disorder
            Read More . . .
            SCREENing for a gambling problem
            Read More . . .
            Comorbidity
            Read More . . .
            Gambling Disorder Certification & Education
            Read More . . .

            A significant aspect of gambling disorder is the financial harm it can inflict. Individuals who struggle with a gambling addiction are likely experiencing a range of financial problems, including credit card debt, debt to casinos, debt to family members and/or friends from whom they borrowed money, past due state and federal taxes, and even debt to illegal sources, such as loan sharks. The extent of their issues may not be known immediately as gamblers are quite adept at covering their tracks. If a family member or a gambler reaches out for assistance it’s critical to provide the necessary protections to prevent further financial harm. It’s also important to understand the mind of a problem gambler, which is steeped in irrational thinking. Their financial woes are complex, often shameful and layered in deceit.

            Ideally, when a gambler reaches out for help, they should stop gambling and seek help for the addiction along with financial counseling. However, if it’s the family that’s reaching out, they will likely need assistance with a variety of options to protect their remaining assets.

            FINANCIAL RESOURCES

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            It’s important to be aware of the signs of a gambling addiction. Gambling addiction, like substance addiction, can lead people to behave in ways that cause problems for themselves and their families. In some cases, the financial devastation created by gambling addiction results in fraud, embezzlement, theft and other criminal activities. Problem gambling also results in legal consequences involving families, jobs, property, debt and other matters.

            It’s important that legal professionals become educated about gambling addiction so they can consider whether a gambling problem might be at the root of criminal activity. With appropriate screening and assessment, such problems can be better diagnosed.

            For first-time offenders with a gambling problem, referral to treatment may be appropriate. Treatment is available free of charge for qualifying individuals throughout Minnesota. If the client’s insurance will partially pay for costs, the Minnesota Department of Human Services will pay the balance, up to the total DHS’s fee schedule reimbursement rate. (The exception to this rule is a Medicare client. DHS cannot pay more than what Medicare pays.) Referrals to state-approved gambling treatment providers can be found on this website PROVIDE LINK or call 1-800-333-HOPE (4673).

            Be aware that your client may not be forthcoming with this information as they seek your help for legal issues. Here are a variety to scenarios that can help you identify someone with a gambling addiction.

            Review of Financial Information

            As you review financial information, you may note patterns that suggest a gambling problem. For example, you may see multiple withdrawals that form a suspicious narrative, or you may see that multiple credit cards are maxed out. Further investigation may determine that a gambling issue is present.

            Bankruptcy

            An attorney or the trustee could note an unexpected lack of assets and suspect that a gambling addiction played a role. The presence of a gambling problem may become very relevant in moving a case forward.

            Divorce

            When dividing up marital assets, one spouse will likely notice that the money he/she thought was there is not. There could also be joint credit card debt that one spouse is not aware of, as well as unexpected loans, wiped out college savings, an equity line of credit, etc. A lawyer might also see incomplete information or the reluctance of a spouse to be forthcoming.

            Child Neglect/Abuse and Domestic Violence

            People with a gambling addiction focus all their attention on gambling and may neglect family responsibilities. An extreme example is someone leaving their child in the car at a casino while they are inside gambling. Those persons accused or charged with neglect or violence should be referred for a gambling assessment and a substance use assessment.

            Alcohol or Other Drug Addiction

            In some cases, a person will switch addictions. For example, they may stop drinking but instead start gambling as a substitute. One study of people with substance use disorder published in the Journal of Addictive Diseases concluded that roughly 20 percent of study participants had significant gambling problems or had had such problems at some point in their past.

            Suicide Attempts

            Suicide attempts may suggest an underlying gambling problem. The National Council on Problem Gambling estimates that one in five problem gamblers attempts to kill themselves, a rate that’s about twice that of other addictions. When a financial crisis occurs, those with a gambling addiction and high gambling debts believe there is no way out and their hopelessness drives them to contemplate and attempt suicide.

            Other Scenarios

            A guardian or conservator for an elderly person might discover unusually frequent trips to the casino or a surprising lack of funds. A criminal defense attorney might discover the problem when representing a client on a variety of crimes. An employment lawyer might notice a gambling problem in the context of representing a person who is being terminated for poor performance or repeated absences.

            RESOURCES

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            It’s difficult for many individuals to compartmentalize their private lives from their professional lives, especially if they have physical or mental health issues. If one of your employees is experiencing problem gambling, it may be impossible for them to “turn it off” while at work. Here are some key points to take into consideration:

            • If an employer believes an employee has a gambling problem, the employee’s supervisor should express concerns in a supportive manner. The employer may want to consider providing the employee with problem gambling resources.
            • The supervisor should attempt to appear non-judgmental and share work-related observations about how the gambling problem is negatively impacting the employee’s work performance.
            • The supervisor should explain that the employee is expected to perform his or her job duties to the best of their ability and that the employee has not been satisfying this standard. The supervisor should make the employee aware that if this does not change, disciplinary action may follow.

            An employee with a gambling problem may exhibit:

            • increased stress,
            • increased tardiness,
            • extended lunch breaks and absences from work,
            • requests for advances in pay or pay in lieu of vacation or sick time,
            • requests to borrow money from co-workers,
            • bragging about gambling winnings,
            • moodiness and irritability,
            • decreased productivity and lack of concentration and motivation
            • theft, and
            • signs of financial distress, such as collection calls, garnishments and lawsuits.

            An employer should be aware that problem gamblers often move their gambling to the workplace to hide it from their families, so colleagues are often the first to become aware of this activity.

            When Having a Gambling Policy Makes Sense

            The negative effects of a gambling problem can cause a serious impact on the workplace. A sound gambling policy is especially important for employers that deal with significant amounts of cash, are located near gambling venues, have flexible work schedules, frequently send employees away from home or employ recovering gambling addicts. The purpose of a gambling policy is to communicate the employer’s universal expectations for all employees regarding gambling in the workplace.

            Office Pools, Gambling and Fantasy Sports Policy

            Gambling, especially office pools and fantasy sports, are becoming more popular. Many employees participate in gambling and sports betting, such as Super Bowl and March Madness pools. As employees inevitably begin to build social relationships, they will want to participate in these types of activities together. This policy will explain what the employer defines as gambling, provide guidelines for what types of activities will and will not be allowed on the employer’s premises, and assist employers in identifying and responding to employees who may have a serious gambling problem.

            Here are a few tips for supervisors when they suspect an employee has a gambling problem:

            • Express concerns in a caring and supportive manner. Do not diagnose the problem or tell the individual what to do. Be clear, non-judgmental and speak only for yourself.
            • Use work-related observations.
            • Be positive.
            • Explain how the problem affects you.
            • Be clear about your position.
            • Respect personal boundaries.
            • When a gambling problem is known, provide information, not advice.
            • Be prepared for denial or a hostile reaction.
            What Can Your Organization Do?

            A proactive response from your organization will help reduce the negative impact problem gambling can have within the workplace. The following are some measures to consider.

            • Policy statements. Incorporate the topic of gambling into relevant policies. Most companies have policies on internet use, phone use and disallowed activities during work hours. When reviewing policy statements make sure the policies are sufficiently comprehensive to address problem gambling issues, e.g., internet gambling.
            • Provide awareness training. Without awareness, problem gambling will not be detected. The signs of a gambling problem are seldom identified as gambling related. Training can help employees and employers to identify and assist the problem gambler.
            • Make financial counseling available. Financial issues can be just as serious as mental health disorders. It is important that financial counseling be made available to employees who are in a financial crisis.
            • Monitor the money stream. Some occupations involve direct contact with money, while in other occupations money can be “moved.” These occupations might be considered high risk for the problem gambler, and a monitoring system can protect employee and employer.

            Resources:

            • Minnesota Problem Gambler Helpline 1-800-333-HOPE (4673). The helpline can provide a referral to confidential and no-cost treatment (if individual has no insurance or their plan doesn’t cover gambling disorder).
            • Gambler’s Anonymous
            • Gambling and Health in the Workplace, an NCRG publication 2012Source: XPert HR

            RESOURCES

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            As an individual begins acknowledging their gambling problems, they may wish to seek spiritual or community elder guidance as an early step in their recovery. Unfortunately, most spiritual or community elders do not have adequate training in addiction, making it difficult for them to talk about the issue. NPGA offers nondenominational spiritual training for a group of six to eight individuals who express an interest. This 24-hour training is offered at no cost. It comprises 16 hours of problem gambling training and another eight hours focusing on spiritual approaches to helping a community member.

            The International Gambling Counselor Certification Board (IGCCB) has developed the IGCCB Clergy/Lay Ministers Certification. This provides basic knowledge about gambling addiction and treatment as well as recovery resource information to enhance the leader’s skills ability to recognize compulsive gambling and provide resources to loved ones. The specialized 24-hour training for spiritual and community elders can lead to an IGCCB certification (non-clinical). To receive the official certification, an exam must be passed. NPGA will offer the training to individuals seeking the certification and those who wish to be more knowledgeable about gambling addiction.

            Most importantly, this training will equip spiritual leaders to serve as the best “first responders” to people seeking help for problem gambling.

            Core Curriculum:

            • The dynamics and psychology of addiction
            • Problem gambling defined and described; gambling disorder defined and described; the scope of problem gambling in American society
            • The impact of problem gambling on families; the components of effective support for the loved ones of gamblers
            • Financial issues faced by gamblers and their families
            • The goals of problem gambling treatment; the options for treatment
            • Spirituality and its significant role within the recovery process: the spiritual issues commonly encountered by those with gambling disorder and their loved ones
            • The unique role of a spiritual leader in the recovery care process
            • Awareness of problem gambling support groups: GA; Gam-Anon, Celebrate Recovery and others

            (Note: the spiritual leader certification process does not train one to be a therapist; rather, leaders will learn about treatment and understand what individuals in treatment may encounter as they go through the recovery process.)

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            WHEN LEGAL PROFESSIONALS HAVE GAMBLING DISORDER

            Lawyers are at high risk for problem gambling. The stress associated with the practice of law often contributes to compulsive behaviors such as eating, shopping and gambling. Attorneys must be able to recognize the signs of compulsive gambling and be aware of the resources available.

            Common personality characteristics of a lawyer also put them at high risk for developing gambling problems. Here are some reasons why lawyers are at risk:

            • Lawyers are often risk takers.
            • Risks are often amply rewarded. Success in a high-risk case may result in increasingly risky choices and behaviors.
            • Lawyers may gamble to escape the trauma they’ve endured and experienced with their clients or to otherwise cope with the stress of the profession.
            • Lawyers have access to settlement proceeds, retainers and other funds that they may access inappropriately.
            • Lawyers are among the most likely professionals to suffer from stress and depression, which plays a role in the development of problem gambling behavior.
            • Alcohol misuse and dependency is twice as prevalent among attorneys compared to non-attorneys. This addiction leaves them at risk for “co-occurring addictions,” such as gambling addiction.

            If you have concerns about your own gambling, contact Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers (LCL) at 866-525-6466 or www.mnlcl.org.  LCL provides free, confidential peer and professional assistance to Minnesota lawyers, judges, law students, and their immediate family members on any issue that causes stress or distress.

            Attorney’s Guide to Gambling Addiction LINK TO BROCHURE

            Never Enough, A Lawyer’s Story Presentation at Holland hospital, Holland, MI 

            PODCASTS

            Conversations with Jeff, Part 1 

            Conversations with Jeff, Part 2    

            Exploring Gambling Addiction and the Path to Recovery. Legal Talk Network November 2019.