Jonathan Crandall is a veteran, former law enforcement member and the New York Council on Problem Gambling’s program manager.

“I’ve always had a passion to help people, and I felt the human services side was more in line with how I wanted to help people,” Crandall said.

Connecting people affected by a gambling disorder with private clinicians is work he takes personally. Crandall himself is in recovery.

He says calls for help have fluctuated during the pandemic, and has theories as to why calls increased at certain times.

What You Need To Know

  • The New York Council on Problem Gambling says calls for information on gambling addiction have fluctuated during the pandemic

  • Staff say calls increased after the first stimulus check was sent out

  • The New York Council on Problem Gambling has resources available for those who need it

“I’m assuming it may have to do with stimulus money, people having the ability to work from home with not having supervision and a lot of the mobile platforms enabling people to have the ability to gamble from their platforms,” Crandall said.

Crandall says calls spiked about a month after the first stimulus check went out.

“After that first stimulus hit, it was roughly one, one every other day, and it wasn’t people looking directly for treatment. It was the loved ones looking for information,” said Crandall.

One of the resources that callers are informed about is a 12-step program.

“I was losing a lot of money. I was losing family. I was losing housing. And I finally had stolen from people, and I had done anything I could to be a compulsive gambler,” said Connie, of Syracuse.

Connie is thankful for the 12-step program.

“Gambling is just insidious,” Connie said. “You just can’t stop until finally you realize in your life that your life has gone down the tubes.”

Now Connie, like Crandall, is on a mission to help people with gambling disorder, and their loved ones, get the help they need.

“I worry about the young people who are trying to go to the phones and use them just so they can get a good bet out there. Sometimes they are taking money from their families,” Connie said.

The New York Council on Gambling has a neutral stance on gambling. It is not for or against it, but wants to help provide education and resources to anyone affected by gambling.

For more information about the New York Council on Gambling, visit this website.