by Sasha C. Russell, Communications Specialist, Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling

Advocacy is at the core of our mission at The Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health. We advocate for services to help people with gambling disorders, their families, and the greater community. We work with businesses, corporations, organizations, and the industry to ensure responsible public policies for state-supported gambling.

Focusing on advocacy allows us to:

  • Provide a voice for those affected by gambling disorder
  • Attain funding for gambling disorder services
  • Ensure gambling disorder is included in public policy debates on gambling expansion and compliance
  • Negotiate successful gambling regulations during this era of expanded gambling by working with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services
  • Convene the Massachusetts Partnership for Responsible Gambling – a landmark alliance of gambling industry leaders who work together to increase public awareness of gambling disorder, encouraging programs for education and prevention, and promoting responsible gambling policies and practices in their establishments 

When it comes to advocating for people affected by gambling problems, we can’t do it alone. There are many ways you can utilize the Council and take action to help support gambling disorder services in your community and throughout the Commonwealth. These include:

  • Share Your Story  — Consider participating in our Wisdom Exchange Program
  • Become a Member — Whether you work in the gambling industry or are a clinician who helps to treat gambling disorder, there are benefits to becoming a member of the Council
  • Collaborate with Us — By combining efforts, we know that we can reach more people with information and resources to help them lead healthier lives
  • Partner with Us — We work closely with state, federal, and national leaders and legislators to develop policies, programs and services for people experiencing gambling disorder and their loved ones 

Another way to take action and advocate with us, is by contacting legislators to let them know that services for gambling disorder are important to you. Here’s a quick guide to aide you in speaking with your local legislators:

  • Your Massachusetts legislators (you will have a State Representative and a State Senator) have two offices. One is a district office and the other is at the Statehouse.  If you are planning on meeting the legislator in his district office, the best day is on a Monday or a Friday.
  • Call your legislator in advance to make an appointment.  You may have to meet with a staff member because of scheduling but they can be just as effective.  Arrive on time and do not expect to have more than twenty minutes to meet.
  • Make sure to take materials with you and reference them if needed throughout your conversation. If you need materials, let us know, we have plenty for you to share. 

Beacon Hill and State offices, such as the Department of Public Health and the Department of Mental Health, aren’t the only places that advocacy can happen. You can advocate for gambling disorder services at:

  • Hospitals,
  • Corrections facilities,
  • Clinical offices,
  • Businesses and organizations, and
  • In your own home.

If you’re interested in becoming involved in current Council advocacy initiatives, please contact Executive Director, Marlene Warner, at 617.426.4554.