When the Mississippi Council (MCPCG) opened its offices in February 1996, there were less than one dozen counselors with any gambling addiction training in Mississippi. After only seven months, the Council held its first training in October 1996, during which 70 counselors received intensive training. In February 1997, the Council held its second two-day training course and this time an additional 100 counselors attended. At this workshop counselors have the opportunity to earn 30 hours of gambling specific training toward becoming a certified compulsive gambling counselor. Training is currently scheduled as needed based on the number of participants interested in certification.
The Council also conducts an annual workshop in the spring. Participants attending this workshop can learn about new and current problem gambling related issues. Both of these workshops have educated healthcare professionals about screening, assessing and treating problem gamblers.
The MCPCG has divided the information presented in the intensive training sessions into two 15-hour domains. In order to ensure adequate training MCPCG offers training manuals to each participant.
MCPCG has established a Certification Board consisting of noted leaders in the healthcare industry. In its efforts to ensure the highest standards of treatment available, the Council has developed a stringent certification system. At this time, we have several clinicians in the process of becoming certified compulsive gambling counselors and twenty (20) who have received their certification.
The Council developed a Responsible Gaming Training Program designed to provide basic knowledge and increase awareness among casino employees about problem and compulsive gambling. The training includes facts about compulsive gamblers, profile of a compulsive gambler, signs of compulsive gambling in the workplace, types of gamblers and treatment options.
The Council published a booklet entitled “Mississippi’s Youth At Play” which is designed to educate Mississippi’s teens on the issues of problem gambling. With the current surge in today’s society, there is an elevated risk to our youth. This resource guide deals with the history of gambling, its effects on today’s youth and key issues regarding addiction and recovery. It was designed to be the groundwork for educating teens on the realities and consequences of gambling. The activities in this booklet are appropriate for upper elementary, middle school, junior high and high school students.
The Council also developed a youth brochure, “Too Young for a Gambling Problem? Don’t Bet On It”, which is targeted toward youth and is available upon request. The brochure includes the types of gambling activities, teen gambling warning signs and a list of questions to help determine if the teen may be having a problem.
Over the past ten years, the Council has donated a book each year about problem and compulsive gambling, to almost 400 middle schools, high schools, junior colleges and universities. The books are placed in their libraries to be used by students for research.
During the fall of 1996, MCPCG contracted with Mississippi State University and nationally renowned researcher, Dr. Rachel Volberg, to conduct the first prevalence study on problem and probable pathological gambling in Mississippi.
This research was significant in that it found that Mississippi had one of the highest rates of current problem and pathological gambling in the U.S. The study also found that Mississippians had the third highest lifetime problem gambling rate in the nation.
MCPCG developed a database for help line resources and a literature review on pathological gambling research and resources.
The Council produced a video titled “All Bets Off”. The video features recovering gamblers and treatment professionals sharing their knowledge and experiences about problem and compulsive gambling. The video gives one a basic understanding about compulsive gambling from people who treat compulsive gamblers, as well as from people who have suffered from this addiction. This video also serves as an added component to our Responsible Gaming Training program for the casino industry.
Upon request the Council provides posters and brochures that display our toll-free help line number to any organization. Posters and brochures are placed in casinos, treatment facilities, bingo halls and community service centers.
The Council produced four television public service announcements to educate families, youth, senior citizens, and the general public about gambling addiction. Grand Casinos, Inc. also donated a PSA targeting problem gamblers. All spots list our toll-free help line number. These spots have aired across the state in the local and cable markets.
A MCPCG radio public service announcement was also developed and sent to radio stations across the state.
MCPCG board and staff have been guests on numerous radio and TV programs and contributors to numerous printed publications.
MCPCG has developed a database of contacts that enables the Council to provide vital gambling addiction information and newsletters to:
- Healthcare providers
- Mental Health practitioners
- Casino Vendors
- Government Agencies
- School Counselors
- Business & Industry
The MCPCG has a presence on the Internet and has received a total of 1,716,899 hits. In 2013, we received 91,793 hits.In 2012, we received 204,424 hits. Our website is updated frequently and can be found at: www.msgambler.org. The Council’s e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information on the web site includes:
|*Help line statistics||*Related Links|
|*Upcoming Training Dates||*Prevalence Study|
|*Certification Criteria||*GA Meeting Schedule|
|*GA Twenty Questions||*List of Board of Directors|
|*List of Healthcare Providers||*List of Affiliate Councils|
A referral resource book was developed for our staff and counselors to refer people with gambling problems to the appropriate resources in their community. Resource information that MCPCG currently maintains in its book includes:
- GA Meetings
- Treatment Providers
- Consumer Credit Centers
- Suicide Help Centers
- Mental Health Centers