Office of Problem Gambling

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Most young people don't consider playing cards, video games or “personal challenges” like a dare for money to be gambling. Yet most teens have been gambling for years, not the way adults gamble at casinos or racetracks, but through casual betting with friends or family. A recent adolescent gambling survey identified a distinction between “betting” and “gambling”. They viewed the word gambling as more negative or “sinister” than betting, which was perceived as “casual”. Casual betting between friends or family was seen as not really gambling.

What is gambling?

Gambling is "the act of risking money or something else of value on an activity with an uncertain outcome." Playing cards or video games for money, buying raffle tickets, betting on who's going to win the next game of pool, or wagering your favorite CD on the outcome of a sports event - it's all gambling. For most of you, it's just for fun. It's a way of making the game more challenging, more exciting. But for some of you, gambling becomes a serious problem.

What is problem gambling?

Problem gambling is any gambling behavior that has a harmful effect on your life or the lives of people close to you, parents, brothers and sisters, your friends. If your gambling is causing you to fall behind on your schoolwork, have arguments with family or friends, or worry about money you have lost, it is considered to be "problem gambling.

Who is at risk for gambling problems?

Anyone who gambles can develop a gambling problem. If you begin at a young age and if gambling is a frequent activity in your home or among your friends, you are at greater risk for developing a problem. You may not experience any problems at first, but problems may develop later on. Often, people with gambling problems have troubles in other areas of their lives such as feeling lonely or arguing with their parents.


Where can you go for help?

Gambling Treatment Resources

Confidential Helpline

Speak to a masters level counselor 24/7 if gambling has become a problem for you or for someone you know. Please call 1-800-426-2537 helpline to seek free, confidential, 24/7 problem gambling assistance.

Print Materials

"Freedom from Problem Gambling"& - This self-help workbook for problem gamblers, developed by the UCLA Gambling Studies Program, is a tool for assisting people who are motivated to stop or reduce the problems associated with gambling. The workbook is NOT a substitute for professional help.


Are You Gambling Away Your Retirement?

Youth Gambling - Tips for Parents

Gambling Guidelines to Prevent Gambling Addiction


Treatment Services - licensed therapists with specialized training who assist people with gambling problems.

Treatment Centers& - for individuals with more severe problems such as: significant depression, suicidal thoughts and chemical dependency. Inpatient treatment, which generally lasts 30 days or longer, is available.

Community Support Groups

Gamblers Anonymous (GA) is a twelve-step support group for men or women dedicated to helping those individuals with a gambling problem. It is free assistance.

Hot-Line # 1-866-442-5312

Los Angeles/Orange County and Surrounding Area
Hot-Line # 1-877-423-6752*

San Diego/Southern Riverside County
Hot-Line # 1-866-239-2911*

*(Spanish speaking meetings)

Gam-Anon is a support system for the spouse, family or close friends of those addicted to gambling. It is free assistance.

Northern California
Hot-Line # 1-408-866-4132

Los Angeles/Orange County and Surrounding Area Hot-line # 1-818-377-5144*

San Diego/Southern Riverside County
Hot-Line # 1-619-239-2911

Links to Other Resources

Office of Problem Gambling (OPG)
1616 Capitol Avenue
P.O. Box 997377 MS-8700
Sacramento, CA 95899
Office: (916) 327-8611
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or text "SUPPORT" to 53342
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