Gambling and Its Effects

Do you automatically think of gambling and its bad effects?

When you think of this word, what comes to mind?

Maybe the entertainment and glitter of the Las Vegas strip?

Images from gamblers in the movies?

It’s likely that you picture one of the many casinos that have popped up all over America.

Today in America, gambling is common place. Gambling isn’t always associated with bad effects, and the faces of gamblers are not who or what you might think. Do you recognize any of these faces?

  •  A young women plays poker online once a week.
  • High school students play “Texas hold-em” on the weekends.
  • A college student regularly places bets on football games with a bookie.
  • Members of an exterminating company participate in a weekend football pool that costs $10 per person.
  • A man buys a few lottery tickets when purchasing gas at a local convenience store.
  • A woman enjoys buying scratchers at the supermarket when she checks out.
  • A group of senior citizens living at a retirement community take a bus to one of the local casinos.
  • Parents plan a “casino night ” as the post-graduation party.
  • A retired person places bets at the dog track.
  • A mother and her adult daughters play bingo at a county fair.
  • A charity raffles off an all expenses paid vacation in Maui.
  • A woman plays video games at a casino.
  • A couple saves money during the year in order to take an annual trip to a casino and gamble $1,000 each.

As you can see, gambling is all around us. It has become a part of our daily lives.

With the explosion of Native American casinos in the late 1980s, gambling has now become a fixture in Middle Class America.

Gambling and its effects can be missed

Can you tell which ones are suffering from gambling and its effects?

The growth in casinos has been accompanied by an increase in problem gambling. But because gambling has become such a normal thing to do, it’s easy to miss the signs of problem gambling. And the faces of those with gambling problems are not who you might think.

Less than one generation ago, gambling was still looked upon as an activity for the very rich or the very poor. And at one time, there was opposition from church and the clergy about the evils of gambling.

And now, when Grandma comes to town, often the first question she asks is, “Where’s the casino?”

Typical Clients in Gambling Treatment

There’s no typical client that I see in gambling treatment. They’re from all walks of life and socioeconomic status.  Men and women. Young and old.

My oldest client was in their early 80s. The average age of the clients I work with is late 40s.  Having worked in a university town, I have had students in their late teens and early 20s engage in treatment.

When I first started, I saw more men. Over the years, the number of women who present for treatment has grown and now equals the male gamblers I see in treatment.

It doesn’t matter who you are or where you live. Addiction does not discriminate and is an equal opportunity destroyer.

Gambling Treatment in Mesa-Chandler

When you’re ready for help to stop gambling, gambling treatment is a phone call away.  I am one of five providers for the State of Arizona’s Office of Problem Gambling Treatment Assistance Program (TAP) in Mesa. My Mesa-Chandler office, south of the 60 and a short distance from the 101, is easily accessible to all areas of the East Valley. I am one of the few therapists in the Southeast Valley participating in the TAP Program for Problem Gambling.

Where the need for gambling treatment starts

Gambling addiction is an equal opportunity destroyer

My mission is to provide the highest quality gambling treatment to problem gamblers and those affected by someone’s gambling. Please call me today so that together we can cross the bridge from gambling addiction to recovery.


Compulsive Gambling Insights


I have a unique perspective on the various issues that accompany compulsive gambling after 16 years of working with problem gamblers and their families.

With the explosion of casinos, gambling is the new kid on the block. So is gambling addiction. Currently there’s limited public awareness of compulsive gambling and gambling addiction. In certain areas of the country there’s limited access to gambling treatment and not enough advocates for prevention and treatment.

On the plus side, I have seen improvement in the quality and amount of available services for those who have gambling problems. Research into the cause of gambling addiction is in the early stages.

Today, most states have funds available for problem gambling hotlines, treatment and prevention. Initial awareness of problem gambling and the need for treatment was brought to the forefront by grassroot organizations most often created by those who were in recovery from gambling addiction.

From Addictions Specialist to Gambling Treatment Specialist

My own journey as a gambling treatment specialist began in 1996 after years of working with chemical dependency, adult children of alcoholics and recovering adolescents. That year, a proposition had been passed that mandated treatment in conjunction with the establishment of three land-based casinos within the city of Detroit. The State of Michigan advertised for therapists interested in working with gamblers.

After a year of training and supervision, in 1998 I received my certification as a Nationally Certified Gambling Counselor I (NCGCI) and was one of the first therapists on the state panel. Until my relocation to Arizona in 2003, I treated gamblers in the St. Joseph Mercy Hospital System and in my private practice in Ann Arbor. After I relocated to Arizona in 2003, I continued my work with compulsive gamblers and their families. I received my certification as a Nationally Certified Gambling Counselor II (NCGCII).

I learned a lot in those early years, and I am so grateful to my clients who provided insights into compulsive gambling that one could not get from a textbook or from the excellent workshops that I attended during and after my training. I am thankful for the support of my personal mentor, Dr. Lori Rugle, and to Joanna Franklin, NCGC-II, BACC and Deborah Haskins, NCGC-II, BACC who are all pioneers in the field of gambling addiction. They encouraged me to stretch and grow.

Most of all, I owe a debt of gratitude to my clients who have allowed me into their lives, one day at a time.