The Oregon Gambling Addiction Treatment Foundation was established as a 501 (c) 3 Corporation in the State of Oregon on December 12, 1996. It petitioned, and became an Affiliate of the National Council on Problem Gambling in 1998 and in 2008 changed its name to the Oregon Council on Problem Gambling.
The founding membership included senior management representatives from two problem gambling treatment agencies, county government, Association of Community Mental Health Programs, Oregon Lottery, Spirit Mountain Casino, Portland Meadows and the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon. The initial purpose of the Council was twofold: First to develop a research and education institution to support effective, efficient, and sustainable treatment and prevention of problem gambling in Oregon. The second overarching purpose was to provide a venue where all of the stakeholders could work together in a collegial manner in the best interest of Oregonians.
Underlying the purpose of the Council were the goals to ensure empirical evidence was available to the public to create an impetus for statewide, evidence-based strategic planning to better ensure adequate allocation of resources for prevention, identification, referral, and treatment of disordered gamblers and their families; and, to help ensure the public’s understanding that problem gambling was a legitimate illness that responded well to treatment.
To this end, the Council has sponsored four adult, two adolescent, and one older adult gambling activity and attitude studies to establish a baseline and document longitudinal changes over time. The Council also commissioned a pilot study, one of the first in the U.S., that investigated the potential causal implications relating to the onset of disordered gambling.
In 2007, the Council assisted, through a two-year contract with the state, to oversee the establishment of a self-sufficient consumers’ advocacy group that was later legally established as 501 (c) 3 under the name Voices of Problem Gambling Recovery. In early 2008 the Council also began contracting with the state to support workforce development. This has included numerous counselor training courses, consulting efforts and statewide conferences including co-hosting two national conferences with the National Council on Problem Gambling in 2010 and 2017 in Portland.
The Council acknowledges that there are significant economic benefits realized from state-sponsored gambling. Nonetheless, the Council is gravely concerned at the high personal and social economic costs associated with disordered gambling.