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Problem Gambling

The Washington State Gambling Commission is committed to the encouragement of responsible gaming practices.

Confidential help is available 24 hours a day, if you believe you or someone you know may have a problem with gambling. Call 800.547.6133 or chat online.

Gambling Disorder Definition

The following are the diagnostic criteria of Gambling Disorder as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5):

Diagnostic criteria

A. Persistent and recurrent problematic gambling behavior leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as indicated by the individual exhibiting four (or more) of the following in a 12­month period:
a. Needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired excitement.
b. Is restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling.
c. Has made repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop gambling.
d. Is often preoccupied with gambling (e.g., having persistent thoughts of reliving past gambling
experiences, handicapping or planning the next venture, thinking of ways to get money with
which to gamble).
e. Often gambles when feeling distressed (e.g., helpless, guilty, anxious, depressed).
f. After losing money gambling, often returns another day to get even (“chasing” one’s losses).
g. Lies to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling.
h. Has jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, or educational or career opportunity
because of gambling.
i. Relies on others to provide money to relieve desperate financial situations caused by gambling.

B. The gambling behavior is not better explained by a manic episode.
Specify if:
Episodic: Meeting diagnostic criteria at more than one time point, with symptoms subsiding
between periods of gambling disorder for at least several months.
Persistent: Experiencing continuous symptoms, to meet diagnostic criteria for multiple years.
Specify if:
In early remission: After full criteria for gambling disorder were previously met, none of the criteria
for gambling disorder have been met for at least 3 months but for less than 12 months.
In sustained remission: After full criteria for gambling disorder were previously met, none of the
criteria for gambling disorder have been met during a period of 12 months or longer.
Specify current severity:
Mild: 4–5 criteria met.
Moderate: 6–7 criteria met.
Severe: 8–9 criteria met.

Self Assessment

Are you concerned that about a potential gambling problem? Take the ten-question self-assessment provided by the National Council on Problem Gambling.

Agency Request Legislation for Self-exclusion Program

Proposed legislation would authorize the Gambling Commission to create rules for a state-wide self-exclusion program for licensed card rooms and also create a process for Tribal operations to voluntarily opt into the program. Learn more and provide feedback. 

Evergreen Council on Problem Gambling

ECPG is a private, not-for-profit organization offering programs and services for problem and compulsive gambling in Washington and throughout the Pacific Northwest.