Help and hope for problem gambling

Problem gambling can be treated – and there’s help available. You deserve support, and the Helpline is here so that you don’t have to do it alone.

Explore your options.

Is problem gambling getting in the way of your life?

From self-help resources to outpatient treatment, the Helpline can guide you to the resources that are right for you.

Help and hope for problem gambling

When gambling goes beyond a casual activity and causes stress and harm in a person’s life, it’s called problem gambling. Like substance use disorders and other mental health disorders, it can impact lives and cause problems in people’s relationships, work, school, and with money. But problem gambling can be treated – and there’s help available. Learn more about what problem gambling is, what the signs are, and problem gambling risk factors.

Problem gambling treatment options

There is no “right way” for a person to recover from problem gambling. You might find that a path that leads to recovery for someone else isn’t the same path that works for you. Some of the treatment options available are:

Outpatient problem gambling programs that are certified by the MA Department of Public Health exist across the state – usually in hospitals, health centers, and provider offices. Search for problem gambling treatment programs.

Mutual support groups give you the chance to connect with other people who have similar experiences. Gamblers Anonymous has meetings in Massachusetts and a Massachusetts hotline you can call for immediate support. Search for support group meetings.

There are also steps you can take on your own to address problem gambling. By thinking differently about how you gamble and what kind of changes you are ready to make, you can make a positive impact on your own behavior.

  • The Massachusetts Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program is a program that allows you to exclude yourself from the gaming floors of all Massachusetts casinos for a length of time you decide on. Once you enroll in the program, you will not be able to enter the gaming floor of a Massachusetts casino. When the self-exclusion period ends, you will participate in a “reinstatement session” that focuses on less harmful gambling behavior. Learn more about voluntary self-exclusion and how to enroll in the program.
  • Your First Step to Change is a workbook that helps you think about your gambling behavior and offers you a roadmap to making positive changes.

You can find more information and resources through the MA Gaming Commission, including PlayMyWay and GameSense.

When someone you care about is experiencing problem gambling, it can be hard on you, too. It can be helpful to support your loved one and let them know you are there for them, but it’s also important to take care of yourself. Gam-Anon is a mutual support group for people affected by someone else’s gambling. They have meetings in Massachusetts, and also offer remote meetings over the phone or online. Learn more about how to care for yourself, how to support someone with problem gambling, and how to get support services.

An important first step can be to understand more about your gambling behavior. With just a few questions, our short screener can help you decide if talking with a problem gambling treatment provider could be helpful. Take the screener.

If you’re ready to find programs and services to support you in recovery, call our Problem Gambling Helpline Specialists or chat with someone online to talk about what options might be right for you.

Could I have a gambling problem?

It can be tough to take a closer look at your gambling. But our short screener is designed to make it easier, with just five “yes or no” questions. The screener will tell you if you’re at higher risk and guide you to resources that can help.

We’re here for you.

You’re not alone. The MA Problem Gambling Helpline can help.

We’re here to help you understand the risks and signs of problem gambling, and offer treatment and other resources to help you or your loved one start on the path to recovery. Our Helpline Specialists are just a call or a chat away.