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What is gambling?
Gambling can be defined as betting something of value when the outcome is uncertain. Gambling occurs in many forms, most commonly are: lotteries, casinos (slot machines, table games), bookmaking (sports books and horse books), card rooms, bingo, and pari-mutuels (horse and dog tracks, off-track-betting, Jai Alai). Pathological or Compulsive Gambling is identified as an impulse control disorder and has features similar to other addictive disorders, without involving the use of an intoxicating drug.

What are the warning signs of pathological gambling?
Gamblers' Anonymous asks its new members twenty questions:

  • Did you ever lose time from work due to gambling?
  • Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?
  • Did gambling affect your reputation?
  • Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?
  • Did you ever gamble to get money in which to pay debts or otherwise solve financial difficulties?
  • Did gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?
  • After losing, did you feel you must return as soon as possible to win back your losses?
  • After a win, did you have a strong urge to return and win more? • Did you often gamble until your last dollar was gone?
  • Did you ever borrow to finance your gambling? • Have you ever sold anything to finance your gambling?
  • Were you reluctant to use "gambling money" for normal expenditures?
  • Did gambling make you careless of the welfare of yourself and your family?
  • Did you ever gamble longer than you planned?
  • Have you ever gambled to escape worry our trouble?
  • Have you ever committed or considered committing an illegal act to finance gambling?
  • Did gambling cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
  • Do arguments, disappointments, or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble?
  • Did you ever have an urge to celebrate any good fortune by a few hours of gambling?
  • Have you ever considered self-destruction as a result of your gambling?

Pathological gamblers usually answer yes to at least 7 of these questions. What are the effects of pathological gambling?

Pathological gambling affects the gambler, their family, their employer, and the community. As the gambler goes through the phases of their addiction, they spend less time with their family, spend more of the family's money on gambling until the bank accounts are depleted, and then may steal money from family members. At work, the pathological gambler misuses time in order to gamble, has difficulty concentrating and finishing projects, may show abnormal mood swings, and may engage in embezzlement, employee theft, or other illegal activities. The gambler, in desperation, may experience hopelessness, suicide thoughts and attempts, arrests, divorce, alcohol and/or other drug abuse, or an emotional breakdown.

Teen Gambling
Research suggests that children of compulsive gamblers are prone to suffer abuse or neglect and have higher rates of pathological gambling themselves. One study found that 53% of students surveyed had gambled in the last year and 7% reported significant gambling problems. Unlike drugs or alcohol, teenagers can hide a problem with gambling because there are no physical indications of "use". Teenagers are often exposed to gambling at a very young age and introduced to gambling at home through card games or lotteries their family members play. Similar to chemical use, teenagers enjoy the "high" or the thrill of gambling, which can quickly develop into an addiction. Teens with a gambling problem will have the same warning signs but will often show negative effects in areas of home (i.e. arguments) or school (i.e. poor grades, change of friends). Other warning signs include unexplained amounts of money, philanthropic behavior, missing items of value, or carrying around dice or cards.

Problem Gambling Treatment Programs in NYS

Problem Gambling Services

  • Baywood Center / 820 River Street Inc.
    Leo Guariglia, Regional Director
    551 Bay Road
    Queensbury, New York 12084
    Phone: (518) 798-4221
    Fax: (518) 798-4255
  • Council on Addictions Recovery Services, Inc. (CARES)
    Laura Elliott-Engel, MA, CASAC, Executive Director
    P.O. Box 567
    201 South Union Street
    Olean, NY 14760
    Phone: (716) 373-4303
    Fax: (716) 373-4327
  • Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene
    Patricia Brinkman, Director of Mental Hygiene
    Marcia Kieffer, LCSW,CASAC
    319 Central Avenue
    Dunkirk, New York 14048
    Phone: (716) 363-3694
  • The Center for Problem Gambling
    Family and Children's Service of the Capital Region, Inc.
    Matt Aiken
    650 Warren Street
    Albany, NY 12208
    Phone: (518) 462-6531 Fax: (518) 462-0181
  • Columbia Gambling Disorders Clinic
    Dr. Carlos Blanco
    1051 Riverside Drive
    New York, NY 10032
    Phone: (212) 543-6690
    Fax: (212) 543-6515
  • Community Counseling Services of West Nassau, Inc.
    Sal LaFemina, Executive Director
    1200A Hempstead Turnpike
    Franklin Square, NY 11010
    Phone: (516) 328-1717
    Fax: (516) 328-1627
  • Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse of Sullivan County Inc. - Recovery Center
    Izetta Briggs-Bolling, Chief Executive Officer
    11 Hamilton Avenue
    Monticello, NY 12701
    Phone: (845) 794-8080, ext. 115
    Fax: (845) 794-1716
  • County of Oswego Council on Alcoholism and Addictions, Inc.
    Deborah Bills, Executive Director
    53 E. Third Street
    Oswego, New York 13126
    Phone: (315) 342-2370
    Fax: (315) 342-7570
  • Fulton County Mental Health Addiction Services
    William Doran
    73 N. Main Street
    Gloversville, New York 12078
    Phone: (518) 773-3532
  • Gamblers Treatment Center
    Richmond University Medical Center
    Beth Schwartz, Program Director
    75 Vanderbilt Ave., Room 102A
    Staten Island, NY 10304
    Phone: (718) 876-2552
    Fax: (718) 876-7114
    Services in Richmond & Queens
  • Gambling Recovery Program
    Jewish Family Service of Buffalo
    Donna Possenti, Program Director
    70 Barker Street
    Buffalo, NY 14209
    Phone: (716) 883-1914
    Toll free: (800) 213-2304
    Fax: (716) 883-7637
    Services in Erie and Niagara Counties
  • Genesee Co. Alcohol Substance Abuse - Genesee County
    John Bennett
    430 E. Main Street
    Batavia, NY 14020
    Phone: (585) 343-1124
  • Genesee Co. Alcohol Substance Abuse - Orleans County
    John Bennett
    PO Box 438 West Avenue
    Albion, New York 14411
    Phone: (585) 815-1849
  • Hamilton Madison House
    JJ Hung
    253 South Street, 2nd Floor
    New York, New York 10002
    Phone: (212) 720-4520
  • Hudson Mohawk Recovery Center
    Mary Delory, Director of Outpatient Services
    743 Columbia Turnpike East
    Greenbush, New York 12061
    Phone: (518) 477-7535
  • Insight House
    Cheryl Spina Clinical Director, CASAC w/Gambling Specialty
    500 Whitesboro Street
    Utica, NY 13502
    Phone: (315) 724 5168
    Fax: (315) 724-6582
  • Lexington Center for Recovery, Inc.
    Barbara Tabala, Director
    Suite L-1, 100 Route 59
    Airmont, New York 10952
    Phone: (845) 369-9701
    Fax: (845) 369-9704
  • Long Beach Medical Center
    Patricia Hincken, Director
    455 East Bay Drive
    Long Beach, New York 11561
    Phone: (516) 897-1250
  • North Star Behavioral Chemical Dependency Services
    Beth LaCourse
    209 Park Street
    PO Box 608
    Malone, NY 12953
    Phone: (518) 483 8980
    Fax: (518) 483-4830
  • Pederson Krag Center, GamPro
    Mary Silberstein, Program Director
    55 Horizon Drive Huntington, NY 11743
    Phone: (631) 920-8053
    Fax: (631) 920-8162
  • Port Counseling Center, Inc.
    Agnes Lasetchuk, Executive Director
    225 Main Street
    Port Washington, New York 11050
    Phone: (516) 767-1133
    Fax: (516) 767-3680
  • Problem Gamblers Recovery Program
    Frank Limone, CSW
    466 Main St
    New Rochelle, NY 10801
    Phone: (914) 632 6433, ext. 11
    Fax: (914) 381-0588
  • St. Joseph's Addiction Treatment & Recovery Center
    Bud Ziolkowski, Outpatient Services Director
    50 Montcalm Street
    Ticonderoga, New York 12833
    Phone: (518) 891-3950
    Fax: (518) 891-5507
  • SAFE Foundation
    Ike Dweck
    PO Box 230060
    Brooklyn, New York 11223
    Phone: 866-569-7233 ext. 32
    Fax: (718) 336-2947
  • Schoharie County Chemical Dependency Clinic
    Bonnie Post
    113 Park Place, Suite 1
    Schoharie, New York 12157
    Phone: (518) 295-2031
  • Syracuse Brick House D/B/A Syracuse
    Behavioral Health Care
    Kathi Meadows
    847 James Street, Suite 1411
    Syracuse, NY 13203
    Phone: (315) 471-1564 ext. 126
    Fax: (315) 471-2531