Problem Gambling Prevention Efforts Always a Smart Play

Photo mockup by The Phoenix Spirit

About 22% of Minnesotans, regardless of their own participation in gambling, have been negatively affected by the gambling behaviors of others. Problem gambling is not simply a bad habit: It’s an addiction that isolates people and leaves them feeling despondent and hopeless. Problem gambling affects families and communities through unemployment, loss of housing, and more.

Education is an essential problem gambling prevention tool, which is why DHS is working with a marketing agency and four culturally-specific grantees to help spread the word to all corners of Minnesota. Some of the available tools include:

  • A youth-focused website,, that helps teach young people about problem gambling. The website includes information on moderation, myths about sports betting, and signs of problem gambling.
  • Culturally tailored outreach and targeted messaging designed to get better results. We are proud to partner with Progressive Individual Resources to reach Sub-Saharan African communities, Asian Media Access to reach Asian communities, Lao Assistance Center to reach Lao and Southeast Asian communities, and Neighborhood Youth Academy to reach African American male youth communities.

Education is an essential problem gambling prevention toolEven with knowledge related to the dangers of problem gambling, some people will fall victim. When gambling becomes a problem, resources are available.

  • If you or someone you know is struggling with problem gambling in any form, you can call a free, confidential helpline at 1-800-333-HOPE, or text HOPE to 61222. This DHS-funded 24/7 helpline will help guide individuals to available problem gambling supports and resources in their community.
  • The state of Minnesota provides funds 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. Visit for resources and a link to state-approved treatment providers.

While education and prevention are key, it will not eliminate problem gambling. Minnesota also needs clinicians and resources to help people struggling with a gambling use disorder. For that reason, DHS offers scholarships for qualified clinicians interested in becoming a problem gambling treatment service provider. These scholarships cover training costs up to $1,197.

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Minnesota must be prepared. Through education, support, and a robust treatment system, we can greatly reduce the harm caused by problem gambling.

Kristine Preston is the deputy assistant commissioner of the Behavioral Health Division at the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS).

Last Updated on May 30, 2024

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