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Florida Council marks 25 years with conference

The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling will hold its 25th Anniversary Conference, Problem Gambling in Florida:  Past, Present and Future, Thursday and Friday at the DoubleTree Hilton Orlando, Florida at SeaWorld

 The conference will feature former State Rep. Scott Plakon as the keynote speaker. He will discuss the regulatory changes within the gambling industry in Florida and outline the relationship between the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling and state government. 

“We have convened some of the state and nation’s experts to lead us through the evolution of problem gambling in the State, including pathways to the future. Conference attendees will learn about the latest research in the field, prevention and treatment approaches that work for diverse populations, and new and specialized programs and support services within Florida and across the country,” said Pat Fowler, FCCG’s Executive Director, via a press release.

 She encouraged  health care professionals, gambling industry members, those in recovery and their loved ones, educators, law enforcement and the media to attend.

 Clinicians can earn up to 17 CEUs.

Other topics, according to the release:

  • Agency’s newest prevalence study among adults
  • Ever changing role of technology
  • Relationship between gambling addiction and substance use and abuse
  • Changes to diagnostic standards on the national level
  • Impacts on individuals, families and communities (including legal impacts)
  • Population differences (adolescents, college students, women)
  • Benefit of art therapy during recovery
  • Programs and services offered by the FCCG 24-Hour HelpLine

  The council was formed shortly after the Florida Lottery began, and the FCCG is an independent contractor, paid by the state to address gambling addiction.

“It’s hard to believe that 25 years have passed since we started this effort within Florida.  Since then, the FCCG has evolved from a little not-for-profit into the State’s gambling addiction advocate and a national leader, spearheading free services, programs, and treatment for compulsive gamblers and those adversely affected.  We’ve come a long way as an organization and also as a state and as a nation on this issue, but we must continue to push forward until we secure the supports needed for those sick and suffering.  This conference will be a truly insightful and learning experience for all who attend,” concluded Paul Ashe, FCCG’s President and Co-Founder, via a statement.

The councils says those presenting include: 

Don Feeney, President of the National Council on Problem Gambling, co-founder of the Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance (Minnesota’s NCPG affiliate), and Research and Planning Director for the Minnesota State Lottery, will discuss gambling trends across the country, policy and political changes, public perceptions, venue options, and gambler demographics.

 Dr. Robert Rotunda, Professor of Psychology at the University of West Florida, will highlight the results of the FCCG’s most recent statewide prevalence study among adults ages 18 and older.

 Dr. Jennifer Zorland, Associate Evaluation Director of Georgia BASICS, will feature the quantitative and qualitative results of a study assessing the prevalence and correlates of problem gambling within populations in which these risk factors are compounded – among adults mandated to participate in drug and DUI courts, and youth involved in juvenile and family courts.

 Mark Fontaine, Executive Director of the Florida Alcohol and Substance Abuse Association, will be addressing the area of addiction and bridging the gap between substance abuse disorders and gambling addiction.

  Dr. Lindsay Neuberger, Associate Professor in the Nicholson School of Communication at the University of Central Florida will be providing information demonstrating how focus group data collection can be used in the formative and evaluative research process relating specifically to problem gambling in the Florida college student population.

  Also presenting at the 25th Anniversary Luncheon will be John Fontana, President of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, and Vice-President of the Florida Council, as well as Dr. Terry Ganaway, a therapist who specializes in gambling addiction in his private practice in North Palm Beach.

 More info at

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