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CDPH Problem Gambling Summit Emphasizes the Signs of Problem Gambling 

Date: 2/11/2015 
Number: 15-018 
Contact: Anita Gore (916) 440-7259 

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) Office of Problem Gambling’s (OPG) sixth annual training summit will focus on recognizing the signs of problem gambling, and how it affects gamblers and their families. 

The Summit, set for March 2–3, 2015 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in South San Francisco, kicks off National Problem Gambling Awareness Month, as designated by the National Council on Problem Gambling. The theme of this year’s Summit is Gambling Disorder: Don’t Ignore the Signs. 

This event is open to the public. It brings together treatment professionals, alcohol and other drug agency representatives, grassroots organizations, industry and community leaders, government, law enforcement personnel and the recovery community. Summit registration information is available via the OPG website. There is no cost to register.  

Keynote speakers include:

  • Dr. Timothy Fong, co-director and associate clinical professor of the UCLA Gambling Studies Program. Dr. Fong’s general session “The Impact of Gambling Disorder on Physical Health” will describe the medical impact and adverse consequences of gambling disorder.

  • Don Feeney, research and planning director at the Minnesota State Lottery, will present “A Cultural History of Gambling”, a broad overview of the cultural influences on public attitudes towards gambling through music, literature and film.

  • Dr. David Ledgerwood, associate professor at Wayne State University will present “The Rule, Not the Exception: Treating Co-Occurring Disorders among Problem Gamblers” outlining the importance of assessing and treating co-occurring disorders among gamblers.

  • Senior Rabbi Mark Borovitz will give the keynote, “Spirituality in Recovery”, describing how problem gamblers can use their spirituality to enhance their recovery.
In addition to being Problem Gambling Awareness Month, March is known for the NCAA basketball tournament, the second largest annual sports betting event. In 2014, more than 4,100 people called the 1-800-GAMBLER helpline for a gambling disorder. While betting on sports is an illegal activity in California, more than 150 callers to the helpline said their primary gambling preference was sports betting. 

Starting in early 2015, “Don’t Ignore the Signs”, a new problem-gambling awareness campaign featuring ads and public service announcements, will highlight the signs of problem gambling, such as debt, depression, lies, shame, guilt, anxiety and a feeling of hopelessness. 

For help with problem gambling call 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) or text SUPPORT to 53342 (normal text messaging fees apply). Additional treatment options for gamblers and their families are available through the OPG website, including problem gambling self-help workbooks in 21 languages. The website includes a short quiz to help you identify problem-gambling behavior.

The CDPH Office of Problem Gambling is responsible for developing prevention and treatment programs to reduce the prevalence of problem and pathological gambling among California residents. It is funded by the Indian Gaming Special Distribution Fund, the California Lottery and California cardrooms.
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