he National Conference on Gambling Addiction and Responsible Gambling, organized by the National Council on Problem Gambling, will be held only online with dates in November and December.
Now in its 34th iteration, it is the oldest and largest national conference in the US that brings together people from all facets of behavioral health and counseling, research, government, and the many segments of the gambling industry.
Organizers said its largest event serves as an important incubator for collaboration and innovation, which are much needed to support harm prevention in the U.S., especially with the increased speed of the expansion of gambling across the country - in particular that of sports betting. Methods for counselors and self-help groups to meet the changing needs of clients have also adapted over the last six months, with both new challenges and new opportunities.
Keith Whyte, Executive Director of NCPG, said: “The familiar forms of in-person support from both professionals and 12-step programs for people and families affected by problem gambling have been sharply curtailed this year. And opportunities to gamble have changed, with more online gambling occurring, which poses some new problems.”
NCPG has made many adjustments to adapt its services to the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally scheduled for July in Washington, DC, the conference will now be online only and changes are being taken in order to protect the health and safety of conference participants, follow local and national government and health guidelines, and respond to feedback from stakeholders about the training they need as well as the travel and financial restrictions they face.
The Main Conference dates are now 5-6 November and 12-13, from 12 pm to 4 pm EST, in accordance with the preferences of participants in time zones across the world. The keynote speaker will be Loreen Rugle, PhD, an internationally renowned counselor, trainer, and responsible gambling advisor.
Up to 16 CEUs will be available to attendees of the Main Conference, a concentrated block of training available from a few other sources. Recordings of the sessions will be available for approximately 30 days after these dates, further supporting flexibility in learning. There will be optional time from 4 to 5pm ET, which will offer opportunities for networking, exhibitors and sponsors that will allow participants to network and meet people – an important part of collaboration and innovation. Presenters and topics will cover a wide range of information for all aspects and levels of the field, including Treatment, Recovery, Prevention, Community, Military & Veterans, Tribal Matters, Responsible Gambling and Sports Gambling.
The new Master Classes have altered dates also, on 2, 3 and 9 December from 1 pm to 3 pm EST in order to accommodate holidays and other events in November. These 'live' workshops with well-known experts will use a platform that allows for direct interaction, another unique advantage for participants of the event. Seats will be limited to allow for more interactive methods. Attendees will be admitted on a first-come, first-served basis, and up to 6 additional CEUs will be available to attendees of the Master Classes.
NCPG thanked its major conference sponsors for their unwavering support amidst the pandemic: San Manuel Band of Mission Indians (Presenting Partner); MGM Resorts International (Military and Veterans track sponsor); Mohegan Sun; AGEM; Las Vegas Sands Corporation; Four Winds Casino Resort; The Stars Group and Virginia Lottery.
“We've seen an increasingly wide expansion of online gambling in the last six months, including sports betting, iLottery, and social gambling, as well as various methods of cashless payment. We expect this to escalate as more state governments face budget shortfalls in the next two years. Protecting consumers who gamble, as well as their families, needs to be part of gambling company operations, legislation, and regulation. Our conference is an important tool to increase knowledge, conversation and action on all these aspects, and thereby help mitigate harm,” said Whyte.