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About the Office of Problem Gambling Services

Learn about the Office of Problem Gambling Services' (OPGS) values, programs and community partners.

The Office of Problem Gambling Services (OPGS) was established to lead the public health response to the expansion of gambling in the Commonwealth. Since 2016, OPGS has ensured a comprehensive and integrated public health approach to problem gambling by using data to inform initiatives, engage communities, and ensure cultural intelligence and humility. Critical to the work of MDPH and OPGS are data, the social determinants of health, with a vision of eradicating health disparities. The collective effort in leading a public health response centered on our values is unprecedented in the field of gambling. Learn more: Leading a Public Health Response to Problem Gambling (PDF) (Word)

Table of Contents

Our Values

The Office of Problem Gambling Services is guided by the public health principles of engagement, empowerment, and equity. The Office works by allocating significant resources to evaluation, prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery support services in order to mitigate the harmful effects of problem gambling and related issues through a variety of community-level strategies.

Our Programs

OPGS programs and services are led by data and community voice to address gambling-related harms throughout the state. Programs are implemented across the continuum of care and have a consistent focus on the social determinants of health and equity. To learn more: OPGS Milestones 2016 – 2019 (PDF) | (Word)

Community Engagement and Assessment

Central to OPGS’ work, community engagement activities are ongoing and inform the Office’s programs and services. An example of our community engagement work is our annual Stakeholder Listening Sessions, where we elicit input from the community – especially those disproportionately impacted by gambling – on programmatic priorities, which informs programs and services.

Programmatic Support and Evaluation

OPGS is committed to leading with data and building capacity across problem gambling programs and services. Our two technical assistance centers build community capacity in the prevention and treatment of problem gambling and related issues. Our evaluation framework measures the progress of programming while informing continuous quality improvement.

Direct Services

OPGS contracts directly with community organizations to provide services to individuals in the community to prevent and mitigate gambling-related harms, especially for communities disproportionately impacted by gambling.

Workforce and Training Supports

OPGS contracts with vendors to provide workforce support through training and technical assistance activities. Training efforts also seek to enhance capacity within work with priority populations such as Veterans, Men of Color, and Asian Americans.

Our Community Partners

OPGS has engaged over 1,200 community members along with over 40 community-based organizational partners to inform the development of priorities and ensure that cultural and community perspectives are embedded in our work. Community input has informed over 23 initiatives across the continuum of care: prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery support. These strategies seek to address problem gambling and also explore the relationships between problem gambling and other health concerns, leading to a strong public health response to those issues, individuals, and communities most affected by problem gambling. The unprecedented community engagement of individuals facing the greatest health and racial disparities, with a focus on social determinants of health is blazing a new trail in the field of problem gambling.

  • The Massachusetts Center of Excellence on Problem Gambling Prevention (MCOE PGP) provides capacity building, training and resourcedevelopment services to address the prevention of problem gambling and related health issues such as the prevention of substance misuse, suicide and violence. Focusing on shared risk and protective factors allows MCOE PGP to address multiple issues simultaneously and achieve a higher level of impact. MCOE PGP currently provides technical assistance to three prevention projects as well as statewide training to community prevention providers.
  • The Massachusetts Problem Gambling Treatment Technical Assistance Center provides a range of services that build the capacity of outpatient treatment programs to address problem gambling and co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders, and to reduce health disparities in their communities.  The Center offers training, technical assistance, consultation, and other technical support for problem gambling treatment services across the state. The Center is also managing the MA Problem Gambling Specialist (MA-PGS) certificate, the official problem gambling provider certificate in the state.

Our Strategic Plan

In April 2016 the PHTF Executive Committee adopted a Strategic Plan for Services to Mitigate the Harms Associated with Gambling in Massachusetts (PDF(Word). The plan provides detailed strategies to address problem gambling and explores the relationships between problem gambling and other health concerns — laying the groundwork for the development of a strong public health response to those issues most affected by the expansion of gambling in Massachusetts.

The plan is implemented primarily by the Department of Public Health and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. Implementation is overseen by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, assisted by members of other state agencies and community-based organizations.

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