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Disordered Gambling and the Community: How to Start the Conversation

Disordered gambling can be a difficult topic to broach even with friends and loved ones. How, then, can entire communities open up the conversation?

If communities rally together to foster an awareness and understanding of this behavioral disorder, they can even help decrease the rate of disordered gambling overall. At the Council, we have found several reliable ways to help people understand disordered gambling and its effects.


Workshops, trainings, and other forms of education can open up opportunities to have conversations about disordered gambling.

For example, in a session about gambling and bankruptcy, Freehold residents could learn how problem gamblers sometimes struggle to grasp the impact their behavior has on their finances. Other courses, like the upcoming training we are offering in conjunction with Phoenix Risings Counseling Center, give mental health counselors an opportunity to learn more about disordered gambling while developing effective strategies for treatment. For more information about this 30-hour course, which starts March 1st, call Sue Wurtz at 609-588-5515, ext. 14.

Awareness Campaigns

Often, people in a community may not fully understand local laws concerning gambling. This lack of awareness can be addressed with campaigns like our recent “Not 18 Yet? No Bet” campaign, which we initiated last fall in partnership with the New Jersey Lottery.

In that project, we spread awareness about New Jersey law, which forbids anyone under the age of 18 from selling or buying lottery tickets. Such campaigns give communities the chance to discuss why this legislation is important and how it protects vulnerable demographics like minors from potentially harmful and illegal gambling behavior.

Resources for Recovery

Finally, spreading awareness of the resources available for recovery gives communities an opportunity to talk about disordered gambling while simultaneously reducing the stigma surrounding it. At the same time, providing access to confidential programs and resources like Gamblers Anonymous or professional counselors helps problem gamblers reach out for support, despite any fears of judgment that they may have.

The above examples are just some of the ways a community can initiate a conversation about disordered gambling. For instance, because of the correlation between gambling and alcohol use disorder (sometimes called alcohol addiction), Meadowlands area residents could launch a campaign that addresses both.

To learn more about disordered gambling and how we can help with recovery, call or text 800-GAMBLER, our confidential, 24/7 hotline.