Code Section Group

Welfare and Institutions Code - WIC


  ( Heading of Division 4 amended by Stats. 1977, Ch. 1252. )


  ( Part 3 added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 89, Sec. 51. )

CHAPTER 8. State Program Of Problem Gambling [4369 - 4369.4]
  ( Chapter 8 added by Stats. 1997, Ch. 867, Sec. 61. )


There is within the State Department of Public Health, the Office of Problem Gambling.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 18, Sec. 27. (SB 75) Effective June 24, 2015.)


As used in this chapter, the following definitions shall apply:

(a) “Affected individual” means a person who experiences adverse psychiatric or physical impacts due to another person’s gambling disorder.

(b) “Department” means the State Department of Public Health.

(c) “Gambling disorder” means a condition that causes the person to be unable to resist impulses to gamble, which can lead to harmful negative consequences, and that meets the diagnostic criteria set forth in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Gambling disorder includes both pathological and problem gambling behavior.

(d) “Office” means the Office of Problem Gambling.

(e) “Prevention program” means a program designed to reduce the prevalence of gambling disorders among California residents. The program shall include, but is not limited to, public education and awareness, outreach to high-risk populations, early identification and responsible gambling programs.

(f) “Treatment program” means a program designed to assist individuals who experience harmful negative consequences related to gambling disorders. This program shall include, but is not limited to, training and educating providers, establishing a provider network for the provision of treatment services, and conducting research to ensure the delivery of evidence-based practices.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 18, Sec. 28. (SB 75) Effective June 24, 2015.)


(a) The office shall develop a gambling disorder prevention program, which shall consist of all of the following:

(1) A toll-free telephone service for immediate crisis management with subsequent referrals of gamblers and affected individuals to health providers at various levels of care who can provide treatment for gambling disorders and related problems and to self-help groups.

(2) Public awareness campaigns that focus on prevention and education among the general public including, for example, dissemination of youth oriented preventive literature, educational experiences, and public service announcements in the media.

(3) Empirically driven research programs focusing on epidemiology/prevalence, etiology/causation, and best practices in prevention and treatment.

(4) Training of health care professionals and educators, and training for law enforcement agencies and nonprofit organizations in the identification of gambling disorders and knowledge of referral services and treatment programs.

(5) Training of gambling industry personnel in identifying customers at risk for gambling disorders and knowledge of referral and treatment services.

(b) The office shall develop a treatment program for California residents who have a gambling disorder or who are affected individuals. The treatment program may consist of all of the following components:

(1) Training for licensed health providers, including screening and assessment of gambling disorders, the use of evidence-based treatment modalities, and the administrative practices for treatment services implemented under this chapter.

(2) A network of licensed health providers authorized to receive reimbursement from the state for the provision of treatment services. This network may be created through partnerships with established health or substance use disorder facilities or individuals in private practice that can provide treatment for gambling disorders. State funded treatment services may include, but are not limited to, the following: self-administered, home-based educational programs; telephone counseling; group treatment; outpatient treatment; and inpatient residential treatment when medically necessary.

(3) A research program to conduct studies and develop evidence-based tools for use in treating gambling disorders.

(4) A funding allocation methodology that ensures treatment services are delivered efficiently and effectively to areas of the state most in need.

(5) Appropriate review and monitoring of the treatment program by the director of the office or a designated institution, including grant oversight and monitoring of contracts, the standards for treatment, and outcome monitoring.

(6) Treatment efforts shall provide services that are relevant to the needs of a diverse multicultural population with attention to groups with unique needs, including female gamblers, underserved ethnic groups, the elderly, and the physically challenged.

(c) The office shall make information available as requested by the Governor and the Legislature with respect to the comprehensive program.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 18, Sec. 29. (SB 75) Effective June 24, 2015.)


In designing and developing the overall program, the office shall do all of the following:

(a) Develop a statewide plan to address gambling disorders.

(b) Adopt any regulations necessary to administer the program.

(c) Develop priorities for funding services and criteria for distributing program funds.

(d) Monitor the expenditures of state funds by agencies and organizations receiving program funding.

(e) Evaluate the effectiveness of services provided through the program. The department is authorized to contract with academic experts to perform these evaluations.

(f) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any contracts required to meet the requirements of this chapter are exempt from the requirements contained in the Public Contract Code and the State Administrative Manual, and are exempt from the approval of the Department of General Services.

(g) Administrative costs for the program may not exceed 10 percent of the total funding budgeted for the program.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 18, Sec. 30. (SB 75) Effective June 24, 2015.)


All state agencies, including, but not limited to, the California Horse Racing Board, the California Gambling Control Commission, the Department of Justice, and any other agency that regulates casino gambling or cardrooms within the state, and the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the State Department of Public Health, the State Department of Health Care Services, and the California State Lottery, shall coordinate with the office to ensure that state programs take into account, as much as practicable, gambling disorders. The office shall also coordinate and work with other entities involved in gambling and the treatment of gambling disorders.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 18, Sec. 31. (SB 75) Effective June 24, 2015.)

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