The Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, Inc. (CCGNJ) is approaching its 40th year and never have our services been more needed. The advent of online gambling and sports betting allows 24/7 access to gambling, and gambling outlets entice people to bet with a wide variety of promotions. As a result, the past few years have been marked by a significant increase in problem gambling. Our four decades as a non-profit dedicated to providing information, education and referral services for people affected by a gambling problem make us uniquely qualified to meet this growing challenge. Since our inception, our primary purpose has been to represent the best interest of problem and disordered gamblers and their families, recognizing that problem gambling is a treatable condition.
While the perfect storm of gambling access compounded by the constant stream of gambling ads has caused more New Jersey residents to develop a gambling disorder, few of those affected seek help. Their reluctance to seek assistance largely stems from their being too embarrassed to tell anyone. Gambling disorder has been called “the hidden addiction” because physical signs are not present like those seen with a drug or alcohol problem. You can’t see it or smell it. And it is usually recognized only after it is too late.
Gambling addiction affects every age group, from teens to seniors, and the entire socio-economic strata, including the homeless, the incarcerated, firefighters and police officers, business owners, educators, legal and medical professionals and government officials.
Over the years, we’ve heard thousands of sad stories of people affected by a gambling disorder. From father who gambled in an effort to supplement his children’s college fund for which the family painstakingly saved over decades, only to lose it all, to an elderly woman seeking to escape the pain of losing her husband by playing solitaire online, which eventually morphed into online gambling sites, where she lost her $400k nest egg. While these are only a few examples, thousands of people are experiencing tragedies like these every day.
Disordered gambling ruins families, careers and credit scores. It ruins lives – of the gambler and their loved ones. But there is hope.
The Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey is here to listen and educate the public about gambling disorder and to provide referrals for treatment and related support groups. If you or someone you know is struggling with a gambling problem, please give us a call at 1-800-GAMBLER and continue to check out this website. We are here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Make the call – visit us. It’s time to change your life.