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.

Study of Problem Gambling in MN’s Laotian Community

Though there was already a sense that gambling addiction is an issue in Minnesota’s Lao community, new research sponsored by Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance (NPGA) has discovered that findings from a community sample suggest elevated problem gambling behaviors.

“Positive Play” Messaging Emerges as Effective Approach in Gambling Education and Helplines

Traditionally, the approach to educating people about problem gambling has been a punitive one — i.e., if you don’t play responsibly you will experience problems. But new insights into the gambling education process, including those shared at the annual New Horizons Conference on Responsible Gambling, suggest a...

Minnesota Mulls Bills to Legalize Sports Betting

Two bills to legalize sports betting in Minnesota were introduced this year. The status and nature of each bill is detailed below. It doesn’t appear that Minnesota will pass either of these bills this session. Bill: SF1984 Description: The bill would establish a framework for betting through a sports pool and for...

Northstar Finalizes Strategic Plan

Northstar’s new strategic plan was approved by the board of directors in April. The final plan details six major organizational goals and 19 key strategies. The full strategic plan can be viewed here. Goals The goals identified in the process look out 10-15 years and will require strong partnerships to achieve....

Free Online Tool Blocks Access To Gambling Sites For Those In Recovery

Individuals recovering from a gambling addiction now have an option should they decide to restrict themselves from participating in online gambling. BetBlocker.org, is a free online tool that users can install to stop themselves from accessing gambling sites. The tool is available for both desktop and mobile...

2019 Problem Gambling Awareness Month in Review

Northstar once again actively participated in this year’s national Problem Gambling Awareness Month activities in March. Northstar’s efforts focused primarily on social media, and included a campaign that targeted treatment providers, the general public and frequent casino visitors. Communication to Treatment...

Groundbreaking NGAGE Survey on Gambling Sheds Light on Behaviors and Attitudes

Gambling Behavior of Minnesotans Similar to the Nation At Large In March, the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) released initial findings from the first comprehensive survey of gambling attitudes and behaviors. Northern Light talked with Don Feeney, Northstar board president and lead researcher for NCPG on...

Northstar to Participate in “Future of Gaming” Conference

Northstar executive director Susan Sheridan Tucker will be one of 35 speakers participating in the summer meeting of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS). The meeting will focus on critical issues that elected officials throughout the United States will grapple with, ranging from sports...

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