Conference Presentations

The following are some of the presentations that will take place at the 2020 Minnesota Conference on Problem Gambling. Check back for updates, as additional sessions will be added.

Gambling, The Brain, and Impulsivity

Dr. Jon Grant

This presentation will examine what is currently known about the neurobiology of gambling and addiction and how that information may inform clinical approaches to treatment of problem gambling.

Learning objectives/outcomes:

  • Develop an understanding of the brain and its development.
  • Understand what happens in the brain when addiction is present.
  • Become aware of what can be done to help address these neurobiological changes.

Gambling Responsibly: Lessons Learned from the NCPG “NGAGE” Study and the NPGA Positive Play Survey

Don Feeney

The National Council on Problem Gambling recently conducted the NGAGE Study, a significant study that examined the prevalence rates of various forms of gambling attitudes and experiences of more than 28,000 respondents. The NCPG “NGAGE” study offers a large-scale picture of gambling behavior and attitudes in the U.S., with questions on gambling participation, beliefs about gambling, positive play and problematic behaviors. With a particular emphasis on sports betting and fantasy sports, NCPG included booster samples to get viable samples from every state and Washington, D.C. These findings will be supplemented with Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance’s own commissioned Positive Play Scale Survey, which looks at two areas of beliefs about gambling — personal responsibility and gambling literacy —and two behaviors about gambling – honesty/control and pre-commitment.

Learning objectives/outcomes:

  • Presenting significant new data relating to national and Minnesota gambling attitudes experiences and prevalence of gambling.
  • Identifying areas where prevention and public awareness programs need to focus.
  • Greater understanding of problematic gambling and gambling disorders in the U.S. and Minnesota.

Caution—Convergence Ahead – Gambling & Video Gaming

Doug LaBelle and Matt Meyers

Computer technology continues to change our world and the world of gambling. A quickly emerging issue is the growing convergence of gambling and video gaming. Video gaming and gambling are not connected, except when they are.  Learn more about the growing connections between these two separate, yet intricately linked sources of fun, emotional escape and, for some, misery. We’ll also hear from a family therapist’s point of view, both what he’s seeing in his family practice and some tools he suggests to regain control over one’s relationship with electronic devices and games.

Learning Objectives/Outcomes:

  • Describe and discuss the growth of video games plus some impacts of gamification concepts that intensify the integration of gambling components and risk factors into some video games and visa-versa.
  • Explain and discuss the distinctions between gambling disorder and gaming disorder and the growing impacts of monetization on both, including free-to-play games, loot boxes, microtransactions, in-game purchase, in-game currency and downloadable content.
  • Identify and discuss the concepts and basics of eSports, one of the fastest growing categories of online gambling.
  • Describe at least three risk factors for youth problem gambling/electronic device issues.
  • Apply at least two prevention or intervention practices they can use in professional settings.

Clinical Best Practices and Current Strategies in Gambling Disorder Treatment for Individuals and Families:  Integrating Research and Clinical Practice

Dr. Loreen Rugle

This workshop will integrate research-based evidence, clinical experience and a recovery-oriented perspective in looking at current best practices and effective strategies in the treatment of gambling disorder. When we hear the term “evidence-based” practices, we often assume that the evidence being discussed is research-based evidence, with the “gold standard” being randomized, controlled studies.  While this type of evidence is extremely important, we often neglect to consider evidence based on clinical experience and realities. This workshop will explore how research-based evidence can best inform “real world” clinical practice and provide best practice standards, using case examples. It will describe how recent therapeutic approaches, including mindfulness- and compassion-based interventions, motivational interviewing, harm reduction and community reinforcement and family training, can be integrated with cognitive behavioral and more traditional 12 step approaches to effectively engage and counsel individuals and families seeking help for gambling problems.

Learning objectives/outcomes:

  • Participants will be able to describe at least three current evidence-based practices  (motivational interviewing, mindfulness-based recovery promotion, community reinforcement and family training, harm reduction) that can be used and integrated to effectively treat individuals and families.
  • Participants will be able to describe how these approaches can be applied to specific case examples.
  • Participants will be able to identify how the clinical practices described support recovery oriented goals of client choice and autonomy.

Experiences with Responsible Gambling Programs – Washington and Canadian Perspecitves

Maureen Greeley and Dr. Jamie Wiebe

This presentation will feature the process, challenges and motivations to establishing responsible gambling programs from an advocacy and gaming operator perspective. We will also learn first-hand —from a person in recovery — about their experiences with self-exclusion and the need for this option.

Learning Objectives/Outcomes:

  • Participants will learn about growing trends/benefits in establishing responsible gambling programs.
  • Participants will learn about the impact of programs on persons in recovery.
  • Participants will understand the value of responsible gambling programs as an integral component of prevention/awareness initiatives.

Responsible Gambling and Player Health

Dr. Jamie Wiebe

For years, BCLC (British Columbia Lottery Corporation) has taken care of its players by ensuring they have the information they need to make informed decisions about their gambling. While prevention communications will always be critical, the industry is advancing and there is a growing expectation that gambling be offered in a socially responsible manner with the public good at the forefront. This session will provide an overview of BCLC’s shifting focus from responsible gambling to player health — a shift from a predominant focus of raising awareness of responsible gambling among players to a broader focus of influencing player health through targeting players, games and the environment.

Learning objectives/outcomes:

  • To understand the differences between responsible gambling and player health.
  • To understand the commitments of BCLC’s player health framework.
  • To understand BCLC’s approach to creating evidence-based programs.

How Gambling Affects the Family and the Role of the Family in Treatment

Dr. Jon Grant

This presentation will discuss the influence of gambling behavior on families and friends, how family can assist or even enable gambling behavior, and how to incorporate family into the treatment process.

Learning objectives/outcomes:

  • To recognize the major family issues with gambling addiction.
  • To become aware of how the family may enable the gambler.
  • To learn evidence-based approaches for working with gamblers and their families.



Earle Brown
Heritage Center

6155 Earle Brown Drive
Minneapolis, MN 55430

March is Problem Gambling Month