Problem Gambling & Gambling Addiction: How to Get Help in Each State

Casino gambling and sports betting can be thrilling hobbies when enjoyed in moderation. Those that don’t practice responsible gambling, though, are susceptible to developing a gambling problem or even a gambling addiction.

Here, you’ll find a guide for problem gambling and a list of available resources. These resources are intended for individuals seeking help or those who suspect a friend or loved one may have a problem. This page includes an explanation of behaviors that may indicate a problem, plus a list of available national and state-specific treatments, help numbers, and resource links.

Is problem gambling the same as gambling addiction?

While problem gambling is not exactly the same as gambling addiction, there are undeniable similarities. Problem gambling can turn into a gambling addiction when left unchecked. That’s why it’s important to learn how to gamble responsibly before a problem gets out of hand.

Also referred to as compulsive gambling or pathological gambling, most gamblers will experience zero problem. Recent estimates suggest that roughly 2.5% of US adults have experienced problem gambling. Around 1% of those adults reportedly have a severe gambling addiction. Young adults and those with an addictive personality are the two demographics especially inclined to issue.

Signs of a gambling problem or addiction

Gambling addiction can be one of the most difficult addictions to spot. The worse someone’s problem is, the more likely they are to hide it.

Fortunately, several habits and signs often arise that can clue you in on a problem. Here are five tell-tale signs that you or a loved one could have a gambling addiction.

1) Gambling to calm anxiety, forget problems, or reduce depression

First and foremost, gambling is a form of entertainment. Whether you enjoy casino gambling, sports betting, or the state lottery, you should be partaking in these activities for fun. If you notice yourself using gambling as a form of income, this is a red flag. Turning to gambling to escape life problems or to cope with anger or depression is also a major warning sign.

2) Spending more time and money gambling

Have you noticed yourself dedicating more time to casino games or spending more money on your sports wagers? This can be another one of the first signs of a problem. Gambling addicts often find themselves needing to wager more in order to feel the same excitement. Moreover, that dopamine rush is achieved even when the wager loses, causing a gambler to up the ante regardless of the outcome.

3) Prioritizing gambling over work, family, or other important activities

A gambling hobby can quickly lead to fixation in those with a problem. Gambling becomes the center of focus, despite any potential negative consequences that may arise. A gambler may start to prioritize his or her gambling urges ahead of important work and family activities.

4) Lying about gambling habits

Feeling the need to cover up the amount of time or money spent gambling can be a major indication of a larger issue. Problem gamblers will often ask loved ones for money when they’re short on funds. But rather than asking for money to fund their ongoing gambling habits, they’ll lie about the reason, saying they need help paying rent or a car bill.

When problem gamblers don’t have someone to hold them accountable, it’s easier for them to justify their actions. This can lead to more severe addiction and a much longer road to recovery.

5) Declining health or financial well-being caused by gambling

One of the most obvious indications of gambling addiction is a decline in financial stability. Gamblers who have lost funds will begin chasing their losses, wagering more to recover what’s been lost. Unfortunately, this often leads to further monetary loss, resulting in added stress and a decline in a person’s overall health.

Nationwide Assistance & Gambling Addiction Resources

While the five red flags listed above are some of the most common signs of gambling addiction, plenty of other potential indicators exist. It’s important to seek help as soon as you recognize there might be a problem. Otherwise, gambling addiction can have a drastic affect on you and your loved ones.

Remember – there’s no shame in asking for help; there’s only recovery.

As gambling continues to expand throughout the US, so do the available gambling addiction resources and treatment options. Specific resources vary by state. However, all states with legal gambling feature some form of addiction prevention and treatment resources. Many other states also have help available.

First, we’ll give you a rundown of the available resources regardless of your location. For information on your state’s specific resources, keep reading.

National Council on Problem Gambling

The National Council on Problem Gambling is the nation’s leading organization for problem gambling information, resources, and referrals. The NCPG offers 24/7 resources in the form of a confidential helpline and an online chat.

The NCPG also offers a Screening Tools page with three helpful problem gambling assessment tools. These self-tests will help you determine whether you have a problem, but they don’t replace professional evaluation by a trained clinician.

 The Brief Biosocial Gambling Screen (BBGS): Three questions to help people decide whether to seek formal evaluation

• DSM-5 Addictive Gambling Criteria: The American Psychiatric Association criteria for diagnosing gambling addiction

• NORC Diagnostic Screen for Gambling Problems: A simple 10-question self-test adapted from DSM IV criteria to help evaluate gambling behavior

Gamblers Anonymous

Also referred to as GA, Gamblers Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experiences and struggles with gambling addiction. The program follows a similar format to Alcoholics Anonymous, offering a variety of open and closed meetings depending on your individual situation and needs.

Since gambling addiction is not as widespread an issue as alcohol and narcotics addiction, available resources are still evolving. Various Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous programs can be found online and in person, regardless of your location. However, the same can’t yet be said for Gamblers Anonymous.

In-person Gamblers Anonymous meetings have become more popular following the COVID-19 pandemic. However, these physical meetings are still few and far between in some areas. Those that don’t have access to an in-person meeting can join one of the various online GA meetings taking place each day.

  • Call Gamblers Anonymous: 213-386-8789

Gam-Anon

Rather than providing help to problem gamblers themselves, Gam-Anon offers support for family members and loved ones affected by gambling addiction. The program specializes in the impact these issues can have on those surrounding gambling addicts, offering a safe space for all those affected to address concerns and begin the healing process.

GamTalk

Gambling addicts consistently report more effective, long-term recovery when they have a support group to lean on. GamTalk provides an online forum for problem gamblers to share their experiences and seek support.

This site shouldn’t be used as the sole solution for curbing gambling problems. Rather, it should supplement other available tools such as Gamblers Anonymous.

State-Specific Help Numbers & Resources

Many U.S. states have their own problem gambling helplines and resources. You can search for these resources on the websites of state health departments or by contacting state-specific organizations that deal with addiction.

For more information about problem gambling in your state, visit the National Council on Problem Gambling Help By State resource finder.

Every legal, regulated gambling state in the US provides its players with a problem gambling helpline and website. In addition, most legal states also offer a self-exclusion program. Self-exclusion allows users to voluntarily ban themselves from gambling activities for a certain period, or in some cases, for life. It is important to note that self-exclusion requirements vary by state, and some states may require in-person registration.

Alabama Responsible Gambling Resources

Alabama Council on Compulsive Gambling

Alabama Department of Public Health

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Alabama

Alaska Responsible Gambling Resources

Alaska Department of Health and Social Services

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Alaska

Connecticut Responsible Gambling Resources

Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Arizona

Helpline: 1-888-789-7777

  1. Connecticut Self-Exclusion

Delaware Responsible Gambling Resources

Delaware Council on Gambling Problems

Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Delaware

District of Columbia Responsible Gambling Resources

Department of Human Services

Florida Responsible Gambling Resources

Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling

  • Helpline: 888-ADMIT-IT (236-4848)
  • Text: 888-ADMIT-IT (236-4848)
  • Live Chat:  www.gamblinghelp.org  (24/7)

Florida Department of Health

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Florida

Georgia Responsible Gambling Resources

The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Georgia

Hawaii Responsible Gambling Resources

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Hawaii

Idaho Responsible Gambling Resources

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Idaho

Illinois Responsible Gambling Resources

Illinois Council on Problem Gambling

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Illinois

Illinois Problem Gambling Helpline

Illinois Self-Exclusion

Indiana Responsible Gambling Resources

Indiana Council on Problem Gambling

Indiana Family and Social Services Administration

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Indiana

Iowa Responsible Gambling Resources

Iowa Gambling Treatment Program

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Iowa

Iowa Problem Gambling Helpline

Iowa Self-Exclusion

Kansas Responsible Gambling Resources

Kansas Coalition on Problem Gambling

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Kansas

Kentucky Responsible Gambling Resources

Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling

Kentucky Gambling Help Chat

Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Kentucky

Louisiana Responsible Gambling Resources

Louisiana Association on Compulsive Gambling

Louisiana Office of Behavioral Health

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Louisiana

Maryland Responsible Gambling Resources

Maryland Problem Gambling Helpline

Maryland Center of Excellence on Problem Gambling

Maryland Department of Health

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Maryland

Massachusetts Responsible Gambling Resources

Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health

Massachusetts Problem Gambling Helpline

Massachusetts Self-Exclusion: TBD

Play My Way program

GameSense MA – Play It Smart

Massachusetts Office of Problem Gambling Services

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Massachusetts

Michigan Responsible Gambling Resources

Michigan Association on Problem Gambling

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Michigan

Michigan Problem Gambling Helpline

Michigan Self-Exclusion

Minnesota Responsible Gambling Resources

Minnesota Alliance on Problem Gambling

  • Helpline: 800.333.HOPE (4673)
  • Text “HOPE” to 53342

Minnesota Department of Human Services

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Minnesota

Mississippi Responsible Gambling Resources

Mississippi Council on Problem & Compulsive Gambling

  • Helpline: 888-777-9696

Mississippi Department of Health

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Mississippi

  1. Mississippi Problem Gambling Helpline

Missouri Responsible Gambling Resources

Missouri Department of Mental Health

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Missouri

Montana Responsible Gambling Resources

Montana Council on Problem Gambling

  • Helpline: 888-900-9979

Montana Department of Health and Human Services

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Montana

Nebraska Responsible Gambling Resources

Nebraska Council on Problem Gambling

  • Helpline: 833-BETOVER (238-6837)

Nebraska Gamblers Assistance Program

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Nebraska

Nevada Responsible Gambling Resources

Nevada Council on Problem Gambling

Nevada Problem Gambling Helpline

Nevada Self-Exclusion: Call 1-800-522-4700

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Nevada

New Hampshire Responsible Gambling Resources

New Hampshire Council on Problem Gambling

New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in New Hampshire

New Jersey Responsible Gambling Resources

Gambling Problem Helpline in NJ: 1-800-GAMBLER

New Jersey Department of Human Services

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in New Jersey

New Mexico Responsible Gambling Resources

New Mexico Council on Problem Gambling

Responsible Gaming Association of New Mexico

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in New Mexico

New York Responsible Gambling Resources

New York Problem Gambling Helpline

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in New York

North Carolina Responsible Gambling Resources

North Carolina Council on Problem Gambling

North Carolina Division of Mental Health

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in North Carolina

North Dakota Responsible Gambling Resources

North Dakota Department of Health

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in North Dakota

Ohio Responsible Gambling Resources

The Problem Gambling Network of Ohio

Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Ohio

Oklahoma Responsible Gambling Resources

Oklahoma Association on Problem Gambling and Gaming

Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Oklahoma

Oregon Responsible Gambling Resources

Oregon Council on Problem Gambling

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Oregon

Pennsylvania Responsible Gambling Resources

Pennsylvania’s Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs

Rhode Island Responsible Gambling Resources

Rhode Island Council on Problem Gambling

Problem Gambling Services of Rhode Island

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Rhode Island

South Carolina Responsible Gambling Resources

South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in South Carolina

South Dakota Responsible Gambling Resources

South Dakota Department of Social Services

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in South Dakota

Tennessee Responsible Gambling Resources

Tennessee Problem Gambling Helpline

Tennessee Self-Exclusion: Call 1-800-889-9789

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Tennessee

Texas Responsible Gambling Resources

Texas Department of State Health Service

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Texas

Utah Responsible Gambling Resources

Utah Department of Health

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Utah

Vermont Responsible Gambling Resources

Vermont Department of Health

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Vermont

Virginia Responsible Gambling Resources

Virginia Council on Problem Gambling

Virginia Department of Health

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Virginia

Washington Responsible Gambling Resources

Evergreen Council on Problem Gambling

Washington State Health Care Authority

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Washington

West Virginia Responsible Gambling Resources

West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources

The Problem Gamblers Help Network of West Virginia

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in West Virginia

Wisconsin Responsible Gambling Resources

Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling

Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Wisconsin

Wyoming Responsible Gambling Resources

Wyoming Council on Problem Gambling

Wyoming Department of Health

Fact Sheet: Gambling & Problem Gambling in Wyoming

Post
Alec Cunningham is a lead writer and analyst for Lineups.com. She has covered countless online sports betting and casino legislation topics and now specializes in responsible gambling and gambling addiction recovery. In 2022, she served as a panelist at the All-American Sports Betting Summit, discussing the ever-evolving role of women in the gambling industry. As a college athlete, Alec Cunningham played Division II golf at Tusculum University. She graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Professional Writing. After working in the music industry as a concert promoter, tour manager and artist developer, she returned to her love of written word in 2020. Since then, Cunningham's love of sports has led her to become a responsible gambling advocate.