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Gambling Hotline: How Can It Help Gambling Addiction?

Last Updated: June 27, 2022

Authored by Daniel Hochman, MD

Reviewed by Michael Espelin APRN

Gambling is usually considered a light, fun activity. However, this activity can become an uncontrollable, unstoppable problem for some people. Classified as an impulse-control disorder, compulsive gambling can start small and spiral into a full-blown addiction before the addict even realizes what is happening. It isn’t something that just happens to a handful of people; the National Council on Problem Gambling states that 2% of all Americans have such a problem.

A gambling addiction left unchecked can not only be dangerous for someone’s finances but their mental and physical health too. It’s very common for the addicts to feel despair and helplessness, a lot of them also have anxiety problems, and studies show that they also struggle with feeling guilt and shame.

Dealing with this type of addiction isn’t easy, and it’s even more challenging for the addicts to reach out for help among people they know. A gambling hotline removes the most challenging barrier to getting help and treatment and supports people reaching out. A gambling help hotline can connect the addict to local health and government organizations that can help them by giving all the information to fight the addiction.

Gambling Problem Hotline List

There is a gambling addiction hotline in almost every state where people can call for help. They’re all toll-free and will be confidential and anonymous. Some hotlines, like gamblers anonymous hotline, are available throughout the US, Nationwide, and others will be catered to a more local audience in each state and city. Below is a complete list of every gambling addiction hotline in the US called the gambling help hotline.

National Gambling Hotline

The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) has set up a national, toll-free hotline that one can call when dealing with addiction problems. Calls to this number are anonymous and confidential. They’re available around the clock, all year, for anyone that might need their help. They can be contacted at 1-800-522-4700.

Gamblers Anonymous Hotline

Those that don’t want to use the national helpline could also contact the Gamblers Anonymous Phone Number (909) 931-9056. It is a gamblers anonymous hotline for people who wish to attend GA meetings and need additional support based on the program. It is a resource that won’t offer any rehab facilities, but it can guide the caller towards GA meetings that could be of help.

Local Hotlines

If an addict is looking for more localized help, they can even contact a professional at any of these local hotlines. These helplines will connect you to the local resources in your area.

In the states that don’t have a local hotline, just use the national gambling help hotline at 1-800-522-4700.

Below Are Some of the Local Hotlines That One Can Use to Get Help:

Arizona 1-800-63987837 Montana 1-888-900-9979
Arkansas 1-800-436-2537 Nebraska 1-833-238-6837
​​California 1-800-426-2537 New Jersey  1-800-246-2537
Colorado 1-800-522-4700 New Mexico  1-800-572-1142
Delaware 1-888-850-8888 New York 1-877-846-7369
Florida 1-888-236-4848 Ohio 1-800-589-9966
Georgia 1-866-922-7369 Oregon 1-877-695-4648
Illinois  1-800-522-4700 Pennsylvania  1-800-848-1880
Indiana 1-800-994-8448 Rhode Island  1-877-942-6253
Kentucky  1-800-426-2537 Washington 1-800-547-6133
Michigan 1-800-270-7117 Wisconsin  1-800-426-2535
Minnesota 1-800-333-4673

When Should One Call A Gambling Hotline?

Addiction is a journey that can quickly go from casual fun to a problem. What starts as a harmless activity just for entertainment can slowly progress to an activity one needs to take part in to feel any self-worth and happiness. It, paired with desperation for money, can create a situation where the person loses money and keeps wanting to gamble over and over again, trying to win back what they lost. The phenomenon is also called loss chasing and has been studied extensively. It’s something almost all addicts have in common.

Gamblers need to recognize when their habit transitions from harmless fun to a problem. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the fifth edition, also called the DSM-5 for short names the signs and symptoms of problem gambling.

These Are:

  • Feeling the need to gamble
  • Feeling irritable when they think about or try to stop
  • Trying to stop but giving in every time
  • It has become the main thought in their minds for most of the day and is the main thing they plan about
  • Using it as a coping mechanism
  • Continuing even when they’re constantly losing money
  • Resorting to lying, to hide the addiction
  • Having problems in their personal and professional lives because of it
  • Always trying to figure out how to source money from those around them to spend it on fueling the habit.

When the addiction gets out of hand, the addict can help themselves. These can be little things like recognizing a problem and then doing something about it.

For starters, they can try to avoid staying idle. Then, find their triggers and work on controlling them. Slow and simple steps can get them to a point where they feel more in control of their addiction.

If self-help doesn’t work for someone, it’s important not to let the addiction take over and get help from a professional. Once they have recognized that they might have a problem and feel like they will not be able to help themselves, they should call a gambling hotline to figure out the next steps they should be taking. That way, according to their circumstances, they will get the right help at the right time.

Woman calling to gambling addiction helpline.

What To Expect During A Call To A Gambling Addiction Hotline?

When someone calls a gambling addiction hotline, they’re asked a series of questions to figure out their situation quickly.

Generally, This Starts With the Following Types of Questions:

  1. If the caller is in immediate danger
  2. If they need quick crisis management
  3. How severe their addiction is, and how long have they been dealing with it
  4. What consequences they might be facing because of the addiction
  5. If they just want someone to talk to or get help from a facility near them

The gambling problem hotline is there as a first step. So addicts can get the help and support they need, even if they don’t feel ready to go to a facility that would provide help in person.

Will The Conversation Be Confidential?

Get Help Today

It is a problem that might start small and spiral out of control. It can affect people’s lives in every aspect, including mental well-being, relationships with their families, and financial condition. Gambling hotline operators have the proper training to help the callers in any way they need, whether prevention help or recovery.

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Page Sources

  1. National Council on Problem Gambling. Advancing the Behavioral Health of the Nation 2015-2018. https://www.ncpgambling.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/NCPG-Comments-on-SAMHSA-Leading-Change-2.0-Advancing-the-Behavioral-Health-of-the-Nation-2015-2018.pdf
  2. , T. W. (2005). The biopsychosocial consequences of pathological gambling. Psychiatry (Edgmont), 2(3), 22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3004711/
  3. Clark, L., Averbeck, B., Payer, D., Sescousse, G., Winstanley, C. A., & Xue, G. (2013). Pathological choice: the neuroscience of gambling and gambling addiction. Journal of Neuroscience, 33(45), 17617-17623. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3858640/
  4. Grant, J. E., & Chamberlain, S. R. (2016). Expanding the definition of addiction: DSM-5 vs. ICD-11. CNS spectrums, 21(4), 300-303. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27151528/

Published on: June 27th, 2022

Updated on: June 27th, 2022

About Author

Daniel Hochman, MD

Dr. Daniel Hochman is a board certified Psychiatrist and leader in the field of addiction. He is the creator of a revolutionary online addiction recovery program, selfrecovery.org. Dr. Hochman advocates for using strategies proven through hard science, and describes them in ways that are easy to understand and incorporate into one’s life. His treatment approach focuses on the underlying emotional causes of addiction to achieve a deep, lasting life change.

Medically Reviewed by

Michael Espelin APRN

8 years of nursing experience in wide variety of behavioral and addition settings that include adult inpatient and outpatient mental health services with substance use disorders, and geriatric long-term care and hospice care.  He has a particular interest in psychopharmacology, nutritional psychiatry, and alternative treatment options involving particular vitamins, dietary supplements, and administering auricular acupuncture.