Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Conference to examine gambling problems

The second annual conference on Problem Gambling in Colorado will be held Oct. 26, 8:30 a.m.–3:45 p.m., in DU’s Craig Hall Community Room, 2148 S. High St. The Problem Gambling Treatment and Research Center and DU’s Morgridge College of Education is hosting the conference. 

The keynote speaker, John Norcross, an internationally recognized expert in the areas of therapeutic relationships, will talk about tailoring treatment of gambling problems to individuals. Other speakers will address the impact of casinos and legalized gambling on American Indians and specific problems gambling is causing for young people. Some studies suggest college students are twice as likely as the general population to have a gambling problem.

Mike Faragher, the center’s director of training and development, says gambling has gained public acceptance and lists the following as examples: Office pools, televised poker, online gaming and government-sponsored gaming.   

“It just continues to become a bigger problem,” Faragher says. He adds that gambling is a family form of entertainment that is constantly glamorized on television. 

The good news is there is help. The center is in its third year of offering free counseling for problem gamblers with support from the Problem Gambling Coalition of Colorado.

Counselors see up to 40 people a year with a success rate of about 90 percent for those who participate in counseling for three months. Their success is measured by continued abstinence from gambling, or gambling smaller amounts when they do choose to gamble.

The center offers both individual and group counseling and also works with family members and significant others. 

Signs of a problem
Experts say signs of a possible gambling problem include: 
•    Gambling longer than intended 
•    Betting more than intended 
•    Lying about gambling
•    Borrowing money to gamble

Help is available

Other services available to Coloradans: 
The Colorado Intergroup of Gamblers Anonymous
The Gamblers Anonymous International Service Office
The Colorado Gaming Association, which allows removal from casino marketing lists and cancellation of slot club memberships and casino check-cashing privileges

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