October 2021
From the Acting Executive Director
Welcome to the Fall 2021 edition of the Council Connection Newsletter. The Council just concluded our 39th Annual Conference entitled “Engaging our Communities: Collaboration for Healthy Community Partnerships”. Like last year, this year’s conference was offered virtually, to maintain COVID-19 precautions. The conference was well attended with over 115 registrants. Topics and presenters included:

  • It's All in the Family: Considering Gambling Treatments Across Generations by Jody Bechtold and Alyssa N. Wilson;
  • Treating the Heart of Gambling Disorder by Ken Martz;
  • Ohio’s Gambling Treatment Fellowship Program: Collaboration Across the Continuum of Care by Michael A. Buzzelli;
  • The Importance of Community Collaboration in Addiction Prevention by Luis Del Orbe
  • Engaging Recovery in Times of Chaos by Daniel L. Smith; and
  • Working Together to Bridge the G.A.P (Gambling, Addiction and Poverty) by Dan Trolaro

Thanks to all of our presenters, sponsors, the New Jersey Lottery, NJ Division of Mental Health & Addiction Services, Caesars Entertainment, Algamus, Francis Gizzi and CCGNJ staff – we couldn’t have done it without you!

While our Annual Conference may be behind us, our quest to educate, inform and heighten awareness of problem and disordered gambling continues. Our helpline, 1-800-GAMBLER, is accessible 24/7 for those seeking information for themselves or a loved one. We are available to provide support, treatment, and hope for those impacted with problem or disordered gambling. Please visit our website https://800gambler.org for additional information and resources.


Felicia A. Grondin, MPA
Acting Executive Director

Not 18 Yet? No Bet! Campaign
On August 31, 2021, the Council participated in a press conference organized by the NJ Lottery to promote the annual “Not 18 yet? No bet!” program highlighting the importance of increasing our awareness of and discouraging underage gambling. The event took place at Corner Xpress Mart in Lawrenceville, at the onset of the upcoming 21-22 school term.

The Council collaborates with the Lottery by educating the public about underage gambling of any kind and by heightening awareness of this issue via the “NOT 18 YET - NO BET” initiative, as well as the holiday “Prevention” campaign, which discourages the gifting of lottery tickets to children during the giving season.

With the ongoing expansion and increased accessibility of gambling in New Jersey and throughout the country, it is more important than ever to encourage parents to discourage underage gambling of any kind. Research has shown that if a child engages in an addictive behavior, the more likely they are to develop an addiction as an adult. Efforts such as the “NOT 18 YET - NO BET” campaign help to support the Council’s message as we continue to educate children about gambling and related risks and encourage them to abstain from gambling until they are 18 years old.  
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) was launched nationwide in October 1987 as a means to connect and unite individuals and organizations focusing on domestic violence issues while raising awareness for those issues. Over the past 30+ years, much progress has been made to support domestic violence victims and survivors, to hold abusers accountable, and to create and update legislation to further those goals.

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month is recognized each October through educational events, community gatherings, and support groups. In 2018, the Domestic Violence Awareness Project developed a unified theme: #1Thing. The purpose of this campaign is to remind everyone that ending domestic violence starts with just one small action, whether that is seeking help or sharing resources.

Signs You’re Experiencing Abuse:
  • Your partner threatens or tries to control you - This can be anything from making you feel inadequate to telling you what to wear or how to look.
  • You partner controls your money - Keeping cash or credit cards away from you or discouraging you from working is unacceptable.
  • Your partner isolates you - Cutting you off from family and friends makes you even more dependent on your partner and could be a sign of abuse.
  • Your partner physically abuses you - This is a serious crime regardless of your relationship status.
Domestic Violence & Gambling Activity
The explosion of gambling activities in the United States and especially in New Jersey has mental health, medical professionals and gambling experts concerned about the increased risk of physical violence towards partners and children as problem gamblers frequently become irritable and violent when they attempt to quit or are confronted by the consequences of their action.
Domestic Violence takes many forms: physical violence, sexual abuse, psychological and
emotional abuse, social abuse, financial abuse, harassment and stalking.
Violence is a noted risk factor for problem gambling.[1] Gambling in any capacity including
casual gambling is related to a significant increased risk of violence.[2]
  • 20 – 64% of spouses of compulsive gamblers have been abused[3]
  • 23 – 41% of compulsive gamblers have reported perpetrating intimate partner violence[4]
  • Problem gambling is associated with increased odds of the perpetration of dating
  • violence[5]
  • Over 90% of women are escape gamblers; avoiding difficult situations such as the
  • domestic violence at home[6]
  • Disordered gambling is associated with increased severe child abuse victimization[7]

Be Aware of the Signs
  • Conversations about gambling leading to verbal or physical attacks
  • The gambler seems emotionally distant and preoccupied and you wonder what he or she is thinking
  • Creditors constantly call your home
  • Bills are not being paid on time or at all because the money is being used to gamble
  • You are hiding money, checks, bank accounts and credit cards from the gambler in the family

Help is Available
  • Call for help 24 hours per day, 7 days per week – 800-GAMBLER and speak with a gambling helpline staff member (All calls are confidential)
  • Text ‘800GAMBLER’ to 800GAMBLER
  • Visit www.800gambler.org for information, resources, or live chat
  • Attend a Gamblers Anonymous (GA) or Gam-Anon meeting in your area; meeting locations, times, and dates can be found by calling 800-GAMBLER or by visiting our website at www.800gambler.org

[1] Dowling et al., “Early Risk and Protective Factors for Problem Gambling: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Longitudinal Studies.”
[2] Amanda Roberts, Jeremy Coid, Robert King, Raegan Murphy, John Turner, Henrietta Bowden-Jones, Katie Palmer Du Preez, Jason Landon. Gambling and violence in a nationally representative sample of UK men. Addiction, 2016; DOI: 10.1111/add.13522
[3] Dowling et al., “Problem Gambling and Family Violence: Prevalence and Patterns in Treatment-Seekers.”
[4] Ibid.
[5] Afifi et al., “The Relationship of Gambling to Intimate Partner Violence and Child Maltreatment in a Nationally Representative Sample.”
[6] Amanda Roberts, Jeremy Coid, Robert King, Raegan Murphy, John Turner, Henrietta Bowden-Jones, Katie Palmer Du Preez, Jason Landon. Gambling and violence in a nationally representative sample of UK men. Addiction, 2016; DOI: 10.1111/add.13522
[7] Afifi et al., “The Relationship of Gambling to Intimate Partner Violence and Child Maltreatment in a Nationally Representative Sample.”
Gambling Treatment Diversion Court Legislation
This past June, two bills were introduced in the State Senate and Assembly (A-5604/S-3976) that would establish a Gambling Treatment Diversion Court (GTDC), which would provide an alternative form of sentencing for eligible individuals who have been convicted of a crime due to a gambling disorder. The GTDC is modeled after a similar program established in November 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
For more information about the GTDC visit https://www.njgamblingcourtinitiative.com/. Contact your local legislator https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/members/abcroster.asp to communicate your concerns or express support regarding this legislation. 

Webinar Series
The Council will resume its webinar series, on Friday, October 29, 2021 (from 11am-12pm) entitled “Professional Gamblers - Beating the Odds Webinar.” It will be an exploratory discussion about what makes a professional gambler. How much of an income do professional gamblers make? And should would-be gamblers give up their day jobs? Although the United States does recognize professional gamblers as a legitimate profession, is it worth the risk of pursuing such a career? Join Luis Del Orbe in exploring these and other questions regarding the life of a professional gambler.”

Council Spotlight
 Alice Ostapiuk CCGNJ Office Manager

Alice enjoys spending time with her family and friends and helping those that are homeless. Alice loves animals and finds being with them gratifying.
The CCGNJ is grateful to Alice for her 28 years of hard work and dedication; her energy continues to contribute to the significant advances the Council achieved over the last (almost) three decades of her service. Thank you, Alice!!!
Council on Compulsive Gambling of NJ, Inc. | www.800gambler. org