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.

Attorneys at Increased Risk for Gambling Addiction

At first blush, the idea that a lawyer could develop a gambling problem might seem far-fetched. After all, the highly esteemed, socially acceptable profession is associated with high achievement and prestige. Yet, upon closer examination, there are a number of unique characteristics about attorneys and their work...

New Online Treatment Program Offers Help For Hard-To-Reach Problem Gamblers

Historically, there are many reasons why problem gamblers don’t always get the help they need. Some of these challenges include access to counselors, dealing with the burden of stigma and shame, concerns about privacy, and uncertainty about whether a problem really exists. But thanks to a new online treatment...

Financial Counseling and Education Critical to Recovery

After finishing the first stages of treatment for gambling addiction, a problem gambler may have a better understanding of the disease, the circumstances that trigger undesirable gambling behavior, and the importance of taking things one day at a time. But because money is essentially the drug of choice for a...

Celebrating the Past, Anticipating the Future

Northstar’s transition from former executive director Cathie Perrault to new executive director Susan Sheridan Tucker provides a good opportunity to look back on what’s been accomplished over the last decade—and to look forward to what can be achieved in the future. Looking Back Cathie served as Northstar’s executive...

Venthouse Counseling

If you are ready to improve your life, then I am the one to lead you there. Having years of experience as both a client and a clinician, I am very familiar with the process of change and I am well equipped to make it happen. I've helped guide people through issues of simple depression all the way to complex PTSD. I...

Northstar to Create New Strategic Plan

With an eye toward strengthening the alliance that forms the organization’s foundation, Northstar is working to engage in a new strategic planning process that will be underway later this fall. “I think this is a good time to revisit what we’re all about and to create focused goals that we can all agree on as we move...

The Role of Meditation and Mindfulness in Gambling Recovery

As most gambling counselors and therapists will attest, there’s no single treatment that works across the board for all clients. However, meditation and other mindfulness-based therapies, which have increased in popularity, are showing promise in helping people cope with a range of mental health conditions, including...

Charitable Gambling Venues Debut Sports-Themed Tip Boards

Sports-themed tip boards, gambling games that are tied to the scores and outcomes of professional sports, are now available in Minnesota through licensed charities. Use of these games was approved by Minnesota’s Gambling Control Board in July following the Supreme Court’s ruling in May that effectively legalized...

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