Hope, Help Available For Problem Gambling Behaviors, State Aims To Create Awareness Of Symptoms, Resources

By Jeanine Nistler


Gambling until the last dollar is gone. Attempting – unsuccessfully – to stop gambling. Feeling remorseful after gambling. These are just some of the signs that a person has a gambling problem.

During March, Problem Gambling Awareness Month, the Minnesota Department of Human Services is working to spread the word that hope and help are available. Minnesota provides funds to for gambling treatment for people who do not have insurance or another source of payment. No one is turned away if they can’t afford treatment. Services are paid for through lottery funds.

“Problem gambling can harm or destroy relationships, negatively impact employment and lead to severe depression,” said Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. ’”Sadly, problem gambling is most prevalent among low-income households that can least afford it. Fortunately, help is available.”

Individuals in need of help for themselves or a loved one can visit GetGamblingHelp.com, call the Minnesota gambling helpline at 1-800-333-HOPE or text HOPE to 61222. New this year, DHS is making an extra effort to help ensure that the messages about hope and free help get out to people who speak languages other than English.

Information about the website and helpline has been translated into Hmong, Spanish and Somali and will appear this month in newspapers that reach people who speak those languages.

Additional resources include:

A study of Minnesotans’ gambling behaviors found that in 2019:

  • 67% of adults participated in some type of gambling activity.
  • 3% of adults (more than 56,000 people) were problem gamblers.
  • More than 217,000 adults may have needed treatment for problem gambling or were at risk.
  • Nearly one-quarter of Minnesotans had been negatively affected by the gambling behaviors of a friend, family member or co-worker.