What you need to know

  • The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is committed to the encouragement of responsible gaming practices through innovations including the GameSense Info Center and PlayMyWay
  • A robust Public Health Trust Fund will fund problem gambling prevention and treatment
  • Extensive research is being undertaken both before and after the advent of casinos to provide scientific data surrounding problem gambling

Signs of a gambling problem

Gambling Disorder is behavior which causes disruptions in any major area of life: psychological, physical, social or vocational. It is a progressive addiction characterized by increasing preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop, “chasing” losses, and loss of control manifested by continuation of the gambling behavior in spite of mounting, serious, negative consequences.

A person shows signs of gambling disorder if he/she:

  • Needs to gambling with increasing amounts of money to achieve the desired excitement
  • Exhibits restless or irritable behavior when attempting to cut down or stop gambling
  • Is often preoccupied with thoughts about gambling
  • Often gambles when feeling distress
  • Chase’s ones losses/returns another day to get even
  • Lies to conceal the extent of gambling
  • Jeopardizes a significant relationship, job or opportunity because of gambling
  • Relies on others to provide money to relieve desperate financial situations caused by gambling

While anyone can develop a gambling problem, research conducted in Massachusetts has shown that certain subgroups of the population may be particularly    vulnerable to problem gambling. These include: Veterans, African American/Black, Immigrants, Asians and Hispanics. MGC is taking steps to further assess these additional risks.


Are you concerned that about a potential gambling problem? Take the ten-question self-assessment provided by the National Council on Problem Gambling.

Prevalence of problem gambling

Research commissioned by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and conducted by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst found a 2.0% prevalence of problem gambling before the advent of casino gaming. The research also found 8.4% of the population was at risk of developing a gambling problem.

Treatment tools in Massachusetts

Massachusetts devotes substantial resources to the prevention of problem gambling and the provision of problem gambling treatment services.

Voluntary Self-Exclusion

This program supports a person’s decision to voluntary bar themselves from any Massachusetts gaming facility for a period of time.

Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling Helpline

A 24-hour confidential helpline that can provide counseling and information about self-help meetings and groups. Call 800.426.1234 with specific concerns about gambling.

Outpatient Treatment Centers

The Department of Public Health, Bureau of Substance Abuse Services contracts with Outpatient Treatment Centers that are available to all those seeking professional counseling for problem disorders. Counseling is available to anyone concerned about gambling: those who gamble, their families and/or significant others. Treatment is available regardless of insurance coverage.


Self-help groups are available to support people experiencing gambling problems, as well as their loved ones.


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