State organization emphasizes gambling responsibly

Published 2:52 pm Monday, October 31, 2022

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By JOYANNA LOVE | Managing Editor

Jack Galassini of the Alabama Council on Compulsive Gambling emphasized the negative impact of compulsive gambling and the resources during a presentation to the Clanton Kiwanis Club on Oct. 27.

“95% of the people who gamble can do it responsibly, we’re here for the 5% that determine (they have) a gambling disorder,” Galassini said.

Galassini said compulsive gambling is an addiction that is hidden.

He said the Alabama Council on Compulsive Gambling stays neutral on gambling itself, but focuses on when gambling has become a problem in someone’s life.

“If a person chooses to gamble, the only thing we say is … please do it responsibly, and obviously, if you do wind up having a problem because of gambling or have a family member that has a problem because of gambling, there is help available,” Galassini said. “… Our purpose with this organization is to counsel, train and to educate.”

He gave the example of responsible gambling as determining ahead of time how much he would spend at a casino and leaving when he had spent that amount.

Counselors are available through the organization’s 24-hour hotline, 211.

“We provide that service whether that person has the ability to pay or not,” Galassini said. “When you run into things like gambling, they can run out of money real quick. We train counselors, and we educate the public.”

The education portion focuses on the stages of compulsive gambling and encouraging people to set limits for themselves when they gamble. Gambling becomes a problem when a person cannot set limits and gambles with money that they cannot afford to lose. This leads people to lie and beg for money from other people and progresses to maxing out credit cards, other borrowing and eventually stealing.

“It is all about the thrill of the win,” Galassini said.

He said gambling can range from a dice or card game for money to buying loot boxes in video games to slot machines.

“Everybody keeps thinking that gambling is the lottery — that is just the tip of the iceberg,” Galassini said. “It is any activity that involves chance or risk.”

More information about resources from the Alabama Council on Compulsive Gambling is available at