Advocacy

Members of the Massachusetts Legislature, along with their staff members, listen as Research and Data Director, Phil Kopel, discusses his findings from the 2013 Massachusetts Statewide Gambling Behavior, Opinions, and Needs Assessment: A Study of Gambling and Problem Gambling in Massachusetts.
We advocate for services to help people with gambling disorders, their families, and the greater community. We work with businesses, corporations, organizations, and the industry to ensure responsible policies for state-supported gambling.

Advocacy is at the core of our mission. It allows us to:

  • Provide a voice for those affected by gambling disorder
  • Attain funding for gambling disorder services
  • Ensure gambling disorder is included is public policy debates on gambling expansion and compliance
  • Negotiate successful gambling regulations during this era of expanded gambling by working with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services
  • Convene the Massachusetts Partnership for Responsible Gambling – a landmark alliance of gambling industry leaders who work together to increase public awareness of gambling disorder, encouraging programs for education and prevention, and promoting responsible gambling policies and practices in their establishments

“From almost the moment the Massachusetts Gaming Commission first convened, we have relied on the expertise and spirit of collaboration that the Mass. Council has provided for our critical work in the area of problem gambling. The Council sponsored an all-day educational forum for the Commissioners, and Director Warner not only has served on multiple advisory groups but was instrumental in identifying and helping us successfully hire our Director of Research and Problem Gambling, Mark Vander Linden.

We look forward to working with the Council to keep the impact of expanded gaming in Massachusetts on problem gambling to the barest possible minimum.” — Stephen P. Crosby, Chairman, Massachusetts Gaming Commission

  • 2003 — Developed evidence-based practice guidelines for clinicians treating disordered.
  • 2005 — Conducted a statewide Public Opinion Survey regarding public opinion and attitudes toward gambling disorder in the Commonwealth.
  • 2009 — Formed the Massachusetts Partnership for Responsible Gambling.
  • 2009 — Worked with the National Council on Problem Gambling to advocate for the Comprehensive Problem Gambling Act of 2009 with federal legislative offices and key Massachusetts stakeholders.
  • 2011 – Gambling Expansion Act passed. Commonwealth to add 3 resort-style casinos and 1 slots parlor. Council fights for inclusion of provisions to minimize harms of gambling disorder.We are grateful that the bill was passed with the following protections:
      • Exclusion list – This will allow families, as well as the person experiencing the gambling problem, to propose exclusion, which would prevent people experiencing problems with gambling from entering casinos.
      • Requires the posting of payback statistics of slot machines played in gaming establishment. If posted prominently, this is a good education and prevention tool.
      • Onsite space for independent counseling services for gambling disorder, substance use disorder, and mental health issues. This will allow people to access information and help while maintaining the appropriate level of privacy. The immediacy of this help is tremendous.
      • Research related to gambling and problem gambling’s impact on local areas provides solid and important data to inform services and policies.
      • Public Health Trust Fund established to address problems related specifically to compulsive gambling.
  • 2012 — Sponsored 20 scholarships for the successful Your First Step to Change: A Gambling-Free Weekend retreat for those early in recovery.
  • 2013 — Secured the Council’s largest line of funding in FY2013 for $1,830,000.
  • 2013 –- Conducted the 2013 Massachusetts Statewide Gambling Behavior, Opinions, and Needs Assessment: A study of Gambling and Problem Gambling in Massachusetts.

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Where Does Advocacy Happen?

  • Beacon Hill
  • State offices, such as the Department of Public Health and the Department of Mental Health
  • Hospitals, corrections facilities, and clinical offices
  • Businesses and organizations
  • At your house!

Who Advocates?

You! We need your help. To become involved in current Council advocacy initiatives, please contact Grassroots and Community Relations Manager, Brianne M. Tolson or sign up to become an Advocate here.