An obstacle that people who struggle with pathological gambling issues encounter is variation in finding information on treatment. The expansion of 800-GAMBLER could go a long way toward removing that obstacle.
The National Council on Problem Gambling has finalized a deal to make 800-Gambler a national resource essentially. It’s part of the NCPG’s efforts to ensure access is as easy as possible for people who need it.
NCPG executes lease of 800-GAMBLER
According to a Thursday press release, the NCPG and the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, Inc. have reached terms on a six-year lease. The New Jersey council owns the hotline, website, and all the respective trademarks.
The NCPG calls the deal a,
“Major milestone in [the] NCPG’s effort to reduce barriers to essential resources for those affected by problem gambling.”
Problem gambling could be said to be the opposite of responsible gambling or, at its simplest, gambling that has become a problem.
The NCPG is not retiring its own nationally available helpline, which is (800) 522-4700. Additionally, New Jerseyans who call 800-GAMBLER or visit the website will still receive the same level of service.
The intent is to simplify access for people in and outside of New Jersey by providing a national standard resource for addressing gambling problems like 911 is for medical emergencies. The goal of connecting people with resources local to them remains a priority, however.
How 800-GAMBLER will work
Starting soon, people who call 800-GAMBLER outside of New Jersey will receive the same service as those who call from within that state. Last month, NCPG executive director Keith Whyte explained how the Council hopes to make it work in an interview exclusive to this site.
“…we would make it so whether you call the national number of 800-GAMBLER, your call is routed to the local call center for the same local services.”
So, if you call 800-GAMBLER from Pennsylvania, your call will go to a center with information relevant to that state instead of New Jersey. The same would apply to all other states, US territories, and Washington, DC.
At the time of that interview, negotiations with the New Jersey council were still ongoing. Those are now over, and the work has begun to implement the changes. The release does not state when the expansion will be in place.
It does state that it’s part of a larger effort to modernize the NCPG’s services and make them more robust. In addition to this lease, the NCPG plans to also improve its call center technology. Other plans include modernization of data collection and reporting, standardization of training, and updating certification criteria.
With this move, 800-GAMBLER could soon become as familiar as 911. The NCPG’s efforts to modernize its operations could also provide a better understanding of pathological gambling and from that, more effective methods of treatment.