Problem Gambling Summit Tackles Cultural Barriers

Terri Sue Canale

Problem gambling crosses the lines of culture, race and economic status—impacting more than a million people in California. The 2013 Problem Gambling Training Summit, hosted by the California Office of Problem Gambling (OPG) on March 4-5 in San Diego, will focus on prevention and treatment approaches tailored for the state’s diverse populations. “There is not a one-size-fits-all solution for problem gamblers,” said OPG Deputy Director Terri Sue Canale. “Language and cultural barriers have to be considered when looking at effective prevention and treatment approaches.” Registration is free but seating is limited. The summit, themed “Framing Problem Gambling Prevention and Treatment Programs for Diverse Populations,” kicks off National Problem Gambling Awareness Week (March 3-9) at the Handlery Hotel in San Diego. Presentations and workshops at the two-day summit are designed for every facet of the problem gambling arena—from treatment professionals to the general public. Workshop topics include financial recovery, problem gambling from the casino employee perspective, and personal stories of gambling addiction. OPG is dedicated to breaking down the language and cultural barriers that prevent some problem gamblers and their families and friends from seeking help. The organization recently launched a problem gambling interpreted treatment program in the Sacramento area, offering face-to-face counseling in seven languages and other interpreted services in 16 languages. A variety of multilingual resources for problem gamblers, their families and friends are available on the OPG website, www.problemgambling.ca.gov. Funding for OPG’s treatment program comes from the Indian Gaming Special Distribution Fund, a state-controlled account appropriated by the Legislature for many public uses including gambling regulatory costs, local governments and revenue for non-gaming tribes. The funding to OPG is for the development of problem gambling prevention and treatment services for California residents. In 2003, the California Welfare & Institutions Code established the OPG as a division of the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs. OPG operates under a mandate to provide a statewide plan, prevention services, a program to support treatment services and a toll-free 24-hour telephone help-line.
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