Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling Year in Review

The year 2019 was the 21st year of our Compulsive Gambling Public Awareness Campaign. It was our 26th year in operation and the 23rd year of the 24-hour Helpline. The Council continued to see tremendous growth during the past year.

The Public Awareness Campaign contains six different project areas used to enhance the awareness of Problem and Compulsive Gambling.  These areas include the 24-hour Helpline, Recovery Programming, High School Educational Curriculum, Statewide Compulsive Gambling Awareness Conference, our Public Relations Media Awareness Campaign, and the Training of Human Service Professionals.

24 Hour Helpline

The Helpline received 12,283 calls in 2019 with the highest months of calls being April and December with 1,150 calls.  We continue to receive many hits to our website annually. We received 11,951 web hits in 2019.  The highest month was March with 3,200 hits.  The average debt amount of calls to the Helpline was $20,714.  However, many people refuse to divulge this information and are confused about their indebtedness.  Area code 414 received the most calls.  During the year 2019, 359 referrals were made and 52 packets of information were sent.  The chat line received 81chats and the text line received 8 texts.

Outreach Program

The WCPG provides an Outreach Program. This program provides educational sessions to high school students around the state. The goal of the program is to provide education and awareness on gambling disorders. Students learn the definitions of gambling, the risks associated with gambling, the warning signs and how to get help for themselves or others. Presentations in schools throughout the state continue. WCPG hired a part-time Outreach Coordinator to increase awareness in schools throughout Wisconsin. The Outreach program reached 1807 students and 34 staff through 69 classes in 2019.

State Wide Compulsive Gambling Conference

The WCPG hosted its 20th Annual Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling Statewide Conference on March 14-15, 2019 at the Blue Harbor Resort in Sheboygan, WI One hundred-thirty-eight people attended the two day conference.

Training of Human Service Professionals

We have been able to provide two Phase I and Phase II training sessions during 2019. One intro training was held in Green Bay. Sixty six training units were provided through our training sessions. Approximately 300 attendees participated in other trainings and workshops throughout 2019. A Department of Corrections training was held. There were 45 participants. WCPG will be hosting several intro trainings and Phase I-IV during 2020.

We continue to develop a list of all persons/agencies within the state of Wisconsin qualified to provide training, education, treatment or public information at various levels, for use by such groups as Employee Assistance Programs, human resource personnel, AODA personnel, school counselors, treatment providers and civic and church groups.

Public Relations/Media Campaign

  • Planning, development, and implementation of the public awareness campaign– phase twentyone.
  • WCPG continues to develop a list within the State of Wisconsin with persons/agencies qualified to provide training, education, treatment or public information at various levels on the issue of compulsive gambling.
  • Continued distribution of twelve different posters.
  • WCPG increased its Social Media presence through Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, You Tube, LinkedIn and Twitter.
  • One-on-one media interviews in the state’s five main media markets.
  • More than 500 media contacts including newspapers, radio, and television.
  • Press releases regarding the WCPG effort were distributed.
  • Continued distribution of “Is Gambling Affecting Your Life?” (Approximately 180,000 have been distributed)
  • Exterior bus signage continues in several cities throughout Wisconsin.
  • Bathroom ads in Wisconsin Casinos.
  • Exhibits at a variety of conferences and programs throughout the state.
  • Increased materials in our resource library.
  • Continues distribution of WCPG brochures including “special population” brochures.


  • Continued partnership with the Wisconsin Lottery.
  • Tokens, magnets, pens, pencils, note clips, back scratchers, calendars, oven sticks, and computer dusters, etc. are being distributed in a variety of ways throughout Wisconsin. These public awareness “tools” are an excellent opportunity to get the 800-Helpline number out to thousands of people.  People will pick up a pen, which has the 800 number on it, more likely than they would pick up a pamphlet.
  • Continues distribution of membership brochure.
  • Continues development of a data collection process for a book of experts.
  • Reached an estimated 34,000 people through contacts at exhibits, workshops and conferences.
  • WCPG continues to speak to a variety of groups-EAP, social service departments, counselors, people working with the elderly, Dept. of Corrections, etc. to provide education and awareness on the compulsive gambling addiction.
  • WCPG continues to distribute our quarterly newsletter to over 5500 people.
  • A workplace brochure continues to be distributed to generate more awareness in the workplace environment.
  • A legislative newsletter is distributed quarterly to all Legislators in Wisconsin.
  • A brochure geared towards parents continues to be distributed.

Recovery Program

WCPG is in the process of developing a Recovery Outreach program. A committee has been formed.

Potawatomi Hotel and Casino Sponsorship

Through the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino Sponsorship we were able to provide Phase I through Phase IV in the Milwaukee area. The Potawatomi funding also provides assistance for the operation of the 24-hour Helpline and Conference 2019 sponsorship.

WCPG had a very challenging and productive 2019.  We will continue to move forward in all of our endeavors and we look forward to continuing and expanding our programs in the year 2020.

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