The gambling industry has an enormous impact on California's economy and residents. The 53 tribal casinos, 95 card rooms, horse racetracks, and state lottery games generate approximately $4 billion per year of revenue, and this number is expected to rise to $10 billion by 2010. This rapidly growing industry results in a wide range of psycho-social and economic issues for individuals and families.
Through a contract awarded by the Office of Problem Gambling (OPG), California Department of Public Health, we provide technical assistance and training in the area of problem gambling prevention throughout the State of California. The purpose of this project is to educate the public and train a broad range of service providers, government agency personnel, and community leaders to help prevent and/or treat problem gambling. All services are offered free of charge.
NAPAFASA (Los Angeles)
Asian American Drug Abuse Program (Los Angeles)
Visión y Compromiso (Statewide)
NICOS Chinese Health Coalition (San Francisco)
Union of Pan Asian Communities (San Diego)
For more information on our project, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Problem gambling: refers to gambling that significantly interferes with a person's basic occupational, interpersonal, and financial functioning.
Pathological gambling: is the most severe form of problem gambling and is classified as a mental health disorder with similarities to drug abuse including features of tolerance, withdrawal, diminished control, and relinquishing of important activities.
What Can I do About Problem Gambling?
Problem Gambling is both preventable and treatable. To learn more about prevention, or to set up a prevention program with your school, community organization, workplace, or house of worship, contact our staff. To learn more about treatment options, visit our Problem Gambling Resources page.
- The Self Survey "20 Questions" on the Office of Problem Gambling (OPG) website
- The Self Test for Teens on the OPG website
- South Oaks Gambling Screen for Self in English on the NICOS Chinese Health Coalition website
- South Oaks Gambling Screen for Spouse in English on the NICOS website
- South Oaks Gambling Screen for Self in Chinese on the NICOS website
- South Oaks Gambling Screen for Spouse in Chinese on the NICOS website
According to the American Psychiatric Association, 10 to 15% of young people asked have significant gambling problems; 6% of the teens who have tried gambling have become pathological gamblers. Therefore, it's important to be aware of the symptoms of adolescent problem gamblers:
- Unexplained absences from school
- Sudden drop in grades
- Changes in personality (irritability, impatience, criticism, or sarcasm)
- Large amounts of money in their possession; bragging about gambling wins
- Shows an unusual interest in newspapers, magazine or periodicals having to do with sports, horse racing, etc.
- Intense interest in gambling conversations
- Exaggerated display of money or other material possessions (car, clothes, jewelry)
- Change in behavior (behavior problems, tardiness or absences at school)
- Gambling language in their conversation (5-timer, bookie, loan shark, point spread, underdog, favorite, etc.)
- Exaggerated use of the word "bet" in their vocabulary
- Illegal acts to pay or gamble more, including: stealing or shoplifting, selling drugs or bookmaking, embezzling or employer theft, family theft
A pathological gambling is the most severe form of gambling and is classified as a mental health disorder. The diagnostic criteria for pathological gambling includes persistent and recurrent maladaptive gambling behavior as indicated by five or more of the following:
- Preoccupation with gambling (e.g., preoccupied with reliving past gambling experiences, handicapping or planning the next venture, or thinking of ways to get money with which to gamble)
- Needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired excitement
- Has repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop gambling
- Is restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling
- Gambles as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving a dysphoric mood (e.g., feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, or depression)
- After losing money gambling, often returns another day to get even (chasing one's losses)
- Lies to family members, therapist, or others to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling
- Has committed illegal acts such as forgery, fraud, theft, or embezzlement to finance gambling
- Has jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, or educational/career opportunity because of gambling
- Relies on others to provide money to relieve a desperate financial situation caused by gambling
- Economic benefits - growth in tourism-related industries
- Increase in jobs
- Increase in tax revenue for local & state government
- Increase in youth crime (some link this with parental neglect)
- Increased white collar crimes (embezzlement, credit card fraud, bad checks)
- Increased domestic violence
- Increased "family stress" (divorce, family problems)
- Increased suicides (as a group, gamblers have the highest rate of suicide)
- Increased substance abuse (co-occurrence common, evidence also shows an icnrease of second hand smoke)
- Increased rates of mental illness
Long-Term Effects of Casinos
- Displacement of existening retail operations in urban areas (local businesses lose out)
- Longitudinal findings (4-6 years fter casinos open)
- Increase in rape, murder, and other violent crimes
- Increase in burglary, theft, and other property crimes