Michigan Gaming Control Board adopts national problem gambling helpline 1-800-GAMBLER

The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) has announced new efforts to streamline access to help by promoting 1-800-GAMBLER as the state’s primary problem gambling helpline. Operated by the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), the National Problem Gambling Helpline is the largest problem gambling helpline network in the world by call volume, population served, and geographic area covered.

The helpline connects people and families impacted by problem gambling with professional support, local referrals, and resources. Online gaming platform providers operating in Michigan will be required to display the 1-800-GAMBLER number as part of their responsible gaming messages and update any existing listed helpline numbers by August 8th, 2024.

The board notes that 1-800-GAMBLER serves as a single, streamlined access point to local services and problem gambling help from anywhere in the US. “The adoption of the number by MGCB for use in Michigan helps to move one step closer to consolidating the variety of state-level gambling helplines into one easy-to-remember problem gambling helpline number,” it adds.

The National Problem Gambling Helpline Network connects individuals struggling with gambling addiction to trained professionals who offer confidential assistance and resources,” MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams said. “By adopting 1-800-GAMBLER as the statewide problem gambling helpline, the MGCB reinforces its commitment to ensuring a safe and secure gaming environment for players across the state by ensuring that resources for treatment and recovery can be accessed quickly and easily.”

The 1-800-GAMBLER helpline will replace the Michigan Problem Gambling Helpline currently in circulation (1-800-270-7117), although the previous number will remain in operation. 

Calls made to 1-800-GAMBLER from Michigan will be routed to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). The helpline can also be reached by texting 800GAM or chatting online at 1800gamblerchat.org. The gambling council says that trained contact center staff are available 24/7, 365 days a year to provide support, guidance, and relevant information to anyone seeking help related to problem gambling.

“An easily accessible helpline is a vital tool in providing problem gambling support services across the country,” said Keith Whyte, NCPG Executive Director.We applaud MGCB for taking proactive efforts to address the needs of those affected by problem gambling and for recognizing the significance of promoting 1-800-GAMBLER in Michigan.”

According to the NCPG, an estimated 2 million adults meet the criteria for severe gambling problems in any given year, and another 4 to 6 million meet one or more of the criteria for a gambling disorder and are experiencing problems due to their gambling behavior.

The NCPG also estimates that the annual national social cost of problem gambling including job loss, bankruptcy, gambling-related healthcare spending, and more is $7 billion. The MGCB says that its collaboration with the NCPG and advertising 1-800-GAMBLER as the problem gambling helpline highlights the agency’s dedication to promoting responsible gaming practices, protecting citizens from gambling-related harm, and providing support to those in need.