There were more than 13,000 calls last year, to the Helpline operated by the Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling. WCPG Executive Director Rose Blozinski said the total number of calls only tell part of the story about problem gambling in Wisconsin
“When they make that first phone call they are, many times, thousands of dollars in debt. They may be having family issues, they may have gotten in trouble legally because of their gambling. They may be suicidal.”
Monthly calls to the Helpline in 2016 ranged from a low of 881 in May to a high of 1,468 in January. The Helpline report shows the average debt of callers was over $38,000 among those willing to share that information.
In addition to the more than 13,000 calls to the Problem Gambling Helpline in 2016, the WCPG website also registered more than 8,600 hits and 19,000 page views. Blozinski said 31 used a newly-established Chat Line.
Looking ahead, Blozinski said the Helpline typically receives the most calls during January and February. “The holidays often add additional stress for gamblers,” Blozinski said. “It can also be a difficult time of year for sports gamblers as the pro and college football seasons come to an end.”
Blozinski noted that not all problem gamblers are adults. “Twelve to twenty percent of our youth are showing that they may have some kind of a gambling problem,” she said.