MAPG Message from the President

A new reality in the gambling world

I am often asked why some people develop gambling problems. My stock answer is “a lot of reasons” followed by a long list. Rarely am I asked the question “why don’t problem gamblers seek treatment?” In this regard, the problem gambling field faces a crisis. Our best estimates are that about 1 out of 10 problem gamblers ever seek treatment. Thus, 90% of gamblers continue to struggle with this addiction without the benefit of professional (or 12-step) help. We know that problem gambling treatments work for those who use them, so what is the problem? The biggest issue in my mind is that we have failed as a field to utilize all of the resources that are available to us. By resources, I mean partnerships among all of the stakeholders in the problem gambling field.

There are many stakeholders in the effort to improve treatment services for people with gambling problems. These include, but are not limited to, state agencies, treatment providers, academics and members of the gaming industry. But most important among these stakeholders are problem gamblers and their families, who have the deepest first-hand understanding of this addiction. It is our primary mission to bring these important stakeholders together to establish a dialogue and to ensure that we are incorporating all perspectives when it comes to helping problem gamblers and their families.

We are the Michigan Association on Problem Gambling (MAPG), a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation organized in 2003 for the purpose to helping individuals who develop problems related to their gambling.  MAPG is the Michigan Affiliate of the National Council on Problem Gambling. We take a neutral stance on gambling/gaming in Michigan.  MAPG is committed to providing education on how to keep gambling a recreation, providing resources for those who gamble more than they can afford, and advocating for services for those who develop a gambling disorder.

According to the most recent State of Michigan Prevalence report, approximately 100,000 people in the state have struggled with gambling disorder. We will only reach these individuals if we use all of our partnerships wisely. This is the new reality in the problem gambling field, and it is incumbent on us to ensure that the doors of MAPG are open to all stakeholders in the State of Michigan.