Frequently Asked Questions

What is Problem Gambling?

Problem gambling is gambling behavior which causes disruptions in any major area of life: psychological, physical, social or vocational. The term "Problem Gambling" includes, but is not limited to, the condition known as "Pathological", “Disordered” or "Compulsive" Gambling -- an addiction characterized by increasing preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop, "chasing" losses, and loss of control manifested by continuation of the gambling behavior in spite of mounting, serious, negative consequences. Free information and referral assistance is available 24/7 from the state’s helpline at 1-877-770-7867 or websites: http://www.helpforgambling.org and http://ldh.la.gov/index.cfm/directory/category/321 . Last year, over 1,400 actual calls for help were answered.

Why is problem gambling sometimes referred to as a “hidden” disease?

Problem gambling is sometimes called a hidden disease because you can’t smell it on someone’s breath, or give them a urine test to detect it. Also, the stigma, shame, and guilt associated with the disease make those who have it want to deny it or keep others from finding out. Unfortunately, this also keeps persons from seeking help early in the addiction, prior to major life consequences. Free information and referral assistance is available 24/7 from the state’s helpline at 1-877-770-7867 or http://ldh.la.gov/index.cfm/directory/category/321 or http://www.helpforgambling.org.

Are there any screening questions one can use to see if they might have a gambling problem?

Yes, there is a test called the Brief Biosocial Gambling screen. Here are the questions: 1.) During the past 12 months, have you become restless irritable or anxious when trying to stop/cut down on gambling? 2.) During the past 12 months, have you tried to keep your family or friends from knowing how much you gambled? 3.) During the past 12 months did you have such financial trouble as a result of your gambling that you had to get help with living expenses from family, friends or welfare? If someone answers yes to any one of these questions, it is recommended they seek the advice of an experienced problem gambling counselor. For information and referral assistance, contact the state’s website http://ldh.la.gov/index.cfm/directory/category/321 or helpline 24/7 at 1-877-770-7867 or http://www.helpforgambling.org.

How many people in LA possibly have problems with compulsive gambling?

The 2016 Louisiana Study of Problem Gambling estimated there were over 280,000 persons in Louisiana who could have gambling problems that need to be assessed or treated. Unfortunately, very few individuals seek help. However, help is available, and over the last few years, each year about 500 citizens sought free counseling provided by counselors who work for or with LDH/OBH. Yes, counseling is provided to LA citizens free of charge. For information and referral assistance, contact the state’s website at http://ldh.la.gov/index.cfm/directory/category/321 or helpline 24/7 at 1-877-770-7867 or http://www.helpforgambling.org.

Is there a state-funded, residential treatment center specifically for recovery from gambling addiction?

Yes. Louisiana was one of the first states to have a publicly-funded residential treatment facility specifically dedicated to those seeking treatment for problem gambling. The facility is called CORE. That stands for Center of Recovery. It is in a beautifully-restored mansion in Shreveport, LA. It’s an ideal atmosphere for persons to get a great start on their recovery. Over the last few years, CORE has provided treatment to about 130 persons a year. It is free for LA citizens. CORE can be contacted at 318-424-HELP or http://www.centerofrecovery.org.

Is outpatient counseling available for individuals who would like treatment for problem gambling?

Yes. Problem gambling is treatable and treatment is effective in minimizing the harm to individuals, their families and society as a whole. Outpatient counseling is available across the state. It is provided to LA citizens free of charge by counselors who work for or with LDH/OBH. For information and referral assistance, contact the state’s website at http://ldh.la.gov/index.cfm/directory/category/321 or helpline 24/7 at 1-877-770-7867 or http://www.helpforgambling.org.

Can a spouse or significant other obtain assistance even if the identified person with a gambling issue does not want to stop gambling?

Yes. Spouses or significant others can obtain assistance even if the identified person with a gambling issue does not want to stop. Outpatient counseling is available across the state. It is provided by counselors who work for or with LDH/OBH free of charge to LA citizens. For information and referral assistance, contact the state’s website http://ldh.la.gov/index.cfm/directory/category/321 or helpline 24/7 at 1-877-770-7867 or http://www.helpforgambling.org

Are there any self-help recovery programs (like AA and Al-Aon) for compulsive gamblers and their families?

Yes, there is Gamblers Anonymous (GA) and Gam-Anon. LDH/OBH strongly encourages participation in these support groups. It’s important to know that recovery is possible, and great to have the support of others in recovery. For information and referral assistance, contact the state’s website http://ldh.la.gov/index.cfm/directory/category/321 or helpline 24/7 at 1-877-770-7867 or http://www.helpforgambling.org.