Conference Presentations

The following are some of the presentations that will take place at the 2018 Minnesota Conference on Problem Gambling. Check back for updates, as additional sessions will be added.

Implications of Emerging Forms of Gambling

Keith Whyte, Executive Director, National Council on Problem Gambling
Don Feeney, President, Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance Board of Directors

Technologies are rapidly changing the gambling landscape. Young people want access to different types of games than the standard casino games of the past. The blurred distinction between online fantasy sports and gambling is still being debated. This session will provide an overview of the technological challenges that may arise for problem gamblers and those who treat problem gambling in the future.

Neurobiology of Addiction

Jon E. Grant, JD, MD, MPH, Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Chicago

The choice to engage in gambling behavior is complex and reflects a potentially wide array of biological and cognitive dysfunctions, such as problems in executive functioning, flexibility and inhibition.  Building upon the new global focus on precision medicine, these biological and cognitive aspects of problem gambling arguably allow us to subtype individuals with problematic gambling behaviors based on more refined understandings of developmental and personal pathophysiology. In turn, this knowledge should enable us to focus our treatment approaches. This talk will discuss the neurobiological, developmental and psychological issues giving rise to problem gambling and will address treatment approaches to these behaviors. By the end of the presentation, participants should be able to:

  • Understand the clinical and biological aspects of problem gambling;
  • Be aware of the biological, psychological, cognitive and developmental aspects of problem gambling; and,
  • Understand how to approach the treatment of this behavior

What About the Family?

Sheryl Anderson, ICGC-II, Program Director Vanguard Problem Gambling Program
Isabelle Duguay, M.A., LCPC, PCGC, Counselor, Harmonique Living LLC

Families and loved ones of problem gamblers often are concerned about the focus on the problem gambler and lack of resources available to them as “affected others.” They want to know how to talk about gambling with children and other family members, and how to address questions about the gambler’s recovery and relapse. This session will focus on how to work with and support family members.

What It Looks Like Here: Gambling In The Lao Community

Sunny Chanthanouvong, Executive Director, Lao Assistance Center of MN
Helen Ghebre, Agency Policy Specialist, Department of Human Services
Serena King, Ph.D., L.P., Associate Professor of Psychology, Hamline University
Ken Winters, Ph.D., Adjunct Faculty, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota; Senior Scientist, Oregon Research Institute

The Southeast Asian community in Minnesota has experienced significant issues related to problem gambling. However, cultural differences and community norms create barriers for people who need help but will not seek it outside their own community. In 2016, the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) Problem Gambling Program began a multi-year project to help the community understand gambling behaviors, work with them to find culturally specific methods to encourage people to come forward, and determine appropriate interventions that meet the needs of the community. Working with the leadership at the Lao Assistance Center (LAC) in Minneapolis, DHS conducted a series of listening sessions with a variety of community members to identify the high level issues and barriers. The second phase of the project, funded by Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance, is now underway. It will include more extensive interviews with community members with the goal of both developing treatment options and training staff at LAC to address the needs of those with gambling issues. This session will include an update on the project’s findings to date.

Problem Gambling and the Legal Profession

Joan Bibelhausen, Executive Director, Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers
Michael Burke, Executive Director, Michigan Association of Problem Gamblers

Lawyers and their clients are at risk for problem gambling.  The speakers will address unique aspects of both populations and how to reach them.  The following will be covered:

  • Never Enough: One Lawyer’s True Story of How He Gambled His Career Away.  What were the signs and what might have made a difference?
  • Gambling and Legal Problems: How Lawyers, Judges and Court Personnel Can Recognize and Respond When Problem Gambling May be an Issue – featuring the Northstar brochure at
  • Looking to the Future: Reducing Stigma to Help Legal Professionals, Clients and Parties

Treating Gambling Addiction Fast with Accelerated Resolution Therapy


Accelerated resolution therapy (ART) is the latest science in smooth pursuit eye movement therapies. In November 2015, ART was officially recognized at the federal level by the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP). Specifically, NREPP, which is part of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), found ART to be an effective psychotherapy for PTSD, depression, stress and personal resilience. ART was also classified as a promising therapy for symptoms of phobia, panic, anxiety, sleep and wake disorders, disruptive and antisocial behaviors, general functioning and well-being. This session will delve into the elements of ART and how effective treatments can be realized in an average of three sessions, and often as quickly as one session, using ART’s systemic protocol.

Problem Gambling and Dual Addictions

John VonEschen, M.A., LMFT

The dangers of cross addiction and co-occurring disorders are very real. This session will focus on case studies, relapse preventions strategies, and the importance of educating clients about the dangers of gambling (i.e., the Big Win), as it is associated with relapse and overall mental health.  Information will also be provided about resources and available funding in MN.

Recovery Panel: In Our Own Voice

Special Session Open To The Public

The public is invited to a free informational session about problem gambling on Thursday, March 8, from 4 to 6 p.m. A panel of individuals in recovery from gambling addiction will speak informally about their personal experience. Professional counselors will also be available for question and answers. Refreshments will be available throughout.

Earle Brown
Heritage Center

6155 Earle Brown Drive
Minneapolis, MN 55430