Problem Gambling Awareness Month: March 2023

Problem Gambling Awareness Month: March 2023

The Tillamook Family Counseling Center (TFCC) is committed to supporting Problem Gambling Awareness Month, an initiative every March led by public health organizations, advocacy groups, and gambling operators to educate and raise awareness around the issue of problem gambling, and promote access to treatment and recovery for those affected. In the United States, it is estimated that 2 million adults experience gambling addiction. It has been shown that an additional seven to twenty people are impacted when someone is experiencing problem gambling behavior patterns. TFCC provides treatment for problem gamblers and concerned others, including family, friends, and loved ones that are impacted by someone’s problem gambling, free for up to one year. Free treatment may be extended after the year if it is still indicated that services are needed. Services are confidential and they work.

“I’m excited to let the community know that more people are engaging in treatment for problem gambling. It’s important to know that help is available to people struggling with gambling, as well as their concerned others, and that treatment is free for both of those populations,” said Holly Riendeau, Certified Problem Gambling Counselor at TFCC. “Finances are not a barrier to treatment. There can be a 70% success rate with treatment that incorporates family therapy, creating monthly financial snapshots, and attendance with self help groups such as Gamblers Anonymous and Gam-Anon.”

  • What is gambling?
    Gambling is taking part in any game or activity in which you risk money or a valuable object in order to win money. There is also an element of randomness or chance involved.
  • What is problem gambling?
    Problem gambling, also referred to as gambling addiction, includes all gambling behaviors that compromise or damage relationships, finances, work, or day to day life. Some of the symptoms include borrowing money for gambling, lying to hide gambling, accumulating unpaid bills, absent for unexplained reasons, losing work time because of gambling, preoccupied with gambling and unable to stop, bragging about gambling or exaggerating wins and minimizing losses, and restless and irritable when not gambling.
  • Who is at risk for problem gambling?
    Anyone who gambles can develop problem gambling behaviors that could seriously impact family, work, finances, and other relationships. Someone experiencing gambling addiction gets the same effect from gambling as one might get from taking a drug or drinking alcohol. Tolerance develops, and it takes more and more gambling to achieve the same emotional effect as before. The craving for gambling grows both in intensity and frequency, and resistance to gambling becomes more difficult.
  • What is the rate of problem gambling in Oregon?
    According to the Oregon Health Authority, “In Oregon, it is estimated 2.6 percent of the adult population experience moderate or serious problems with gambling. It is estimated that 84,000 Oregon adults and adolescents meet the clinical diagnosis for gambling disorder, with another 180,000 at risk of developing a problem with gambling.  For each person with a serious problem, many others are affected (e.g., spouse, children).”
  • Can children or teenagers develop gambling issues?
    Research has shown that when a child is exposed to gambling early on, for example through a lottery product they receive from an adult, they are more likely to develop a gambling problem later on. It is important to gift responsibly, especially to underage children.
  • What help is available in Tillamook?
    Tillamook Family Counseling Center provides treatment for problem gamblers and their family members, or significant others, free for up to one year. To get help locally, contact the agency at 503-842-8201 for more information about Problem Gambling Treatment. 

    Oregon also has free access to treatment and counseling through the Oregon Problem Gambling Resource (OPGR) website. Anyone needing help can talk to a certified gambling addiction counselor by calling 1-877-695-4648 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Texting is also available at 503-713-6000 between the hours of 8am and 9pm M-F. Additionally, you can visit the website for online chat, or to find a meeting or treatment center. 

    “Oregon is also known for their residential treatment program and Collaborative Intensive Outpatient Program (virtual) offered by Bridgeway Recovery Services located in Salem,” shared Riendeau. “ They assist people struggling with problem gambling if they need a higher level of care.  If anyone has further questions about treatment, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Tillamook Family Counseling Center at 503-842-8201 to connect with me, Holly Riendeau, and discuss treatment further.”

  • How can I learn more?
    This month, Janeane Krongos, TFCC Prevention Program is offering a free presentation titled, “Introduction to Problem Gambling Prevention.” In the presentation, participants will learn about problem gambling, learn signs, responsible gambling guidelines, conversation tips, and about problem gambling treatment services in Oregon. The presentation will take place virtually March 29th from 10 -11 AM. To learn more about this free presentation email

Additional Resources & Online Meetings:

-Published March 23, 2023