Newsroom > DHHS News Release

October 5, 2009

Jeanne Atkinson, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-8287


Gamblers Assistance Program Annual Report is Issued

Lincoln – Nebraskans are racking up an average gambling debt of $26,722, according to the annual report for the Nebraska Gamblers Assistance Program (GAP) in the Department of Health and Human Services.

“This gambling debt is more than 50 per cent of the average income in our state,” said Scot Adams, director of the DHHS Division of Behavioral Health. “Some people are experiencing significant financial difficulties as a result of problem gambling.”

The 24-hour Problem Gambling Helpline handled 2,133 calls in fiscal year 2008-2009, an average of 178 per month. The number of calls asking for information or help because of financial problems resulting from gambling increased from 20 percent in 2008 to 47 percent in 2009.

The Problem Gambling Helpline provides information, crisis intervention, and referrals. Operators can transfer callers directly to treatment providers in or near the caller’s community if requested.

“The good news is that help is available. GAP funded approximately $700,000 for outpatient treatment services, serving approximately 250 people affected by gambling addictions,” said Steve Jung, chair of the State Committee on Problem Gambling. “It also provides statewide training for problem gambling counseling professionals.

Other information from the 2008-2009 annual report:

  • The average age of someone receiving services was 42.8 years, with 57.1 percent male and 42.9 percent female.
  • Males who were treated for gambling were significantly younger (40.5 years old) than females who received treatment (46 years old).
  • Over 500 hours of gambling-related training was provided to health professionals.

Information about problem gambling is available at: