For most people, gambling is recreational. However, for some
people, gambling leads to debilitating problems that impact more
than just themselves. Problem gambling means participation in
any form of gambling activity to the extent that it creates a
negative consequence to the gambler, the gambler's family, place
of employment, or the community—including gambling behaviors
that compromise, disrupt, or damage personal, family,
educational, financial, or vocational interests. Pathological
gambling is a progressive mental disorder meeting the diagnostic
criteria set forth by the
American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical
Manual, Fourth Edition.
Problem and pathological gamblers can experience psychological
difficulties such as anxiety, depression, guilt, attempted
suicide, or abuse of alcohol and drugs, as well as
stress-related physical illnesses such as hypertension and heart
disease. Interpersonal problems include lying and stealing,
resulting in a breakdown of relationships and divorce. Work and
school problems include poor performance, abuse of leave time,
and loss of employment. Financial consequences are substantial,
including credit card debt, unpaid creditors, and
impoverishment. Finally, pathological gamblers may resort to
criminal behavior to finance gambling or pay gambling debts.
Family members of problem gamblers also experience substantial
financial, physical and psychological difficulties as a direct
result of the problem gambling behavior.
The Office of Problem and Pathological Gambling (OPG) was established
Section 4369 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, under the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs (ADP).
OPG is charged with developing and providing quality statewide prevention and treatment programs and services
to address problem and pathological gambling issues, to the people of California.
Effective with the passage of the 2013-2014 Budget Act and associated legislation, ADP was eliminated as of July 1, 2013. The Governor’s Budget approved the transfer of OPG to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). OPG is operating within CDPH’s Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Please explore this website for additional information and resources about problem gambling for yourself or for someone you care about.
OPG Advisory Group
The purpose of the Advisory Group is to discuss priorities and
strategies for educating and training individuals engaged in
problem gambling-related issues. The Advisory Group is a
valuable forum for collaboration among state regulating
agencies, gambling industry representatives, educators,
researchers, and advocates for problem gambling issues.
OPG Advisory Group Members