Gambling addiction is a disorder that’s often not well understood — even among healthcare professionals.

Here are some important things for you to understand.

March 12 is Gambling Disorder Screening Day

The Cambridge Health Alliance is sponsoring the 6th annual Gambling Disorder Screening Day. Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance encourages you to review the complete toolkit. In particular, the “Why Screen for Gambling” link encourages all health care providers to ask just two questions when talking with their patients. Affirmative answers suggest you provide a referral to a trained problem gambling provider and/or provide your client with a copy of the self-help booklet “Your First Step to CHANGE.”

Two Questions To Ask Your Clients

Asking your clients these two questions and receiving affirmative answers could make the difference in your client’s recovery:

  1. Have you ever lied to people about how much you gambled? and
  2. Have you ever felt the need to bet more and more money?

Yes answers to both questions could indicate a problem and should be further investigated.

Assessment and Diagnostic Tools

There are a number of assessment and diagnostic tools available to counselors who suspect their client may have a gambling problem. These tools  may help confirm the existence of a gambling addiction.

Inspiring Success Stories

You and your clients should know that treatment has helped improve the lives of many Minnesotans with a gambling problem. We have a trove of stories here.

Help Available at No Cost

Be sure that your clients know that Minnesotans with a gambling problem and affected family members can get treatment at no cost through the state. The state operates a 24/7 helpline for individuals with gambling concerns: 1-800-333-4673 (HOPE)

It’s the Hidden Addiction

Unlike other addictions, it’s not easy to tell at a glance if someone has a gambling addiction. We encourage you to know the signs of problem gambling so that you can identify them when they present in your clients.

Signs of Gambling Addiction

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

  1. Increased frequency of gambling activity
  2. Increased amount of money gambled
  3. Gambling for longer periods of time than originally planned
  4. Bragging about wins, but not talking about losses
  5. Pressuring others for money as financial problems arise
  6. Lying about how money is spent
  7. Escaping to other excesses (alcohol, drugs, sleep, etc.)
  8. Denying there is a problem

Are You at Risk for Problem Gambling?

Two questions can help determine if you’re at risk for problem gambling.

 Answer Questions Here

Gambling: From Recreational to Addictive

Most people enjoy gambling in a responsible manner. But some develop an addiction to gambling, suffering social, emotional and financial devastation. Virtually anyone—men or women, young or old, and those from every religion, race and socio-economic background—is at risk for developing a gambling problem. Read about the signs of problem gambling here.