KYCPG History

The Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling (KYCPG), a non-profit, 501(c)(3) charitable organization was founded in 1995 and incorporated as a Kentucky non-profit organization in 1996. It began as the vision of Curtis L. Barrett, Ph.D., professor emeritus, University of Louisville. He saw in his teaching and practice that addicted gambling (then known as compulsive or pathological gambling) was an existing concern for Kentucky, and that action was needed to raise awareness of the issue among the citizenry, with governments, and even inside the gambling industry, itself. With organizing donations from the Kentucky Lottery Corporation and Churchill Downs, Inc., KYCPG (then called the Kentucky Council on Compulsive Gambling) began to organize training conferences and develop awareness materials.

Critical to the Council’s formation was establishing a Board of Directors. The principles that guided the selection of the first KYCPG Board remain in place today. It represents the community and those impacted by problem and addicted gambling: behavioral health counselors, academics, researchers, business people, government, clergy, the gambling industry, and recovering addicted gamblers. Board members pledge to follow the neutrality principle to neither advocate for nor oppose legal gambling. It was and is an active Board, with members taking on roles and responsibilities to further the Council’s vision and mission.

The American Psychiatric Association recognized gambling addiction as a pathological disorder in 1980. In the 2013 revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) pathological gambling was renamed addicted gambling and reclassified under addictive disorders. It is a behavior that is devastating to the individual and his or her family, friends, employers and associates. With any increase of gaming opportunities, evidence indicates that more individuals with addicted or problem gambling behavior will surface. National research indicates that addicted gambling afflicts one in every 100 persons. A survey commissioned by KYCPG and conducted in the Fall 2008 by the University of Kentucky Survey Research Center identified in Kentucky 9,000 addicted gamblers, 51,000 problem gamblers and 190,000 individuals at-risk of developing a gambling problem.

As an affiliate of the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), KYCPG does not oppose gambling or wagering as entertainment. In fact, the Kentucky Council is gambling neutral –- gambling exists and many people enjoy the pastime. When gambling no longer is a game, the Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling seeks to help those threatened by the addiction. The Kentucky Council’s purpose is to inform professionals and the Commonwealth’s citizens of this debilitating behavioral illness and public-health concern that could negatively affect your business and personal relationships.

In 2001, KYCPG adopted its current name, and followed in 2002 by developing a vision, mission and series of strategic goals. Last updated in 2016, the vision is to be the focal point for problem gambling issues in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The mission is: “to increase awareness of problem gambling, promote prevention and research, and advocate for the availability of treatment.”

Membership in the Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling shows concern for those who may develop a gambling problem or addiction. The Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling knows

your concern. Your contribution and membership will support efforts to identify, educate and provide help.

Please let the Kentucky Council know whether any of its programs can be of use. The Council strives to create a partnership to serve those addicted to gambling and their families. Contact KYCPG Executive Director Michael R. Stone (, 502-223-1823) for information, or visit the Council’s website:

Following are annual highlights of the projects in which the Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling has invested in an effort to fulfill its mission:

  • From the onset, it was important to provide a public service for those seeking help or more information on problem gambling. With essential assistance from the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey and River Balley Behavioral Health in Owensboro, Ky., the 1-800- GAMBLER (i-800-426-2537) helpline, provides crisis intervention and referral to treatment or self-assistance. Text and chat services were added in 2016. (Chat service is accessed through
  • Also at the start, KYCPG initiated annual educational and awareness conferences to inform behavioral health professionals of screening and counseling protocols to help problem gamblers and their families, encourage behavioral health professionals to achieve certified gambler counselor status, explore problem and addicted gambling issues, and understand the complexities of the gambling experience.
  • Early awareness outreach produced “It’s a Great Game,” a 20-page booklet explaining problem and addicted gambling behavior written by KCYPG Professional Adviser Curtis L. Barrett, Ph.D., and KYCPG Board Member Don Clippinger, an award-winning thoroughbred reporter.1997 — KYCPG’s first public awareness outreach promoted the highway billboard message that “Gambling Can Be Addictive” and the 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) helpline.1998 — KYCPG secured its first grant from the then Kentucky Division of Substance Abuse to provide the classroom instruction for gambler counselor certification; 85 attended the four-day program.1999 — KYCPG released its first mass distributed awareness brochure, “When It’s More Than A Game.”2000 — KYCPG added a fall educational and awareness conference, which eventually became the MidCentral Alliance on Problem Gambling Fall Conference in 2006, a consortium of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, West Virginia and Wisconsin. The first legislative attempt to establish a publicly funded problem and addicted gambling awareness and treatment program in Kentucky was introduced in the Kentucky General Assembly by Rep. Jack Coleman and numbered House Bill 711. It passed the House but there was no action in the Senate.

2001 — KYCPG developed public outreach presentations to inform audiences about problem and addicted gambling. Obtain first grant from the Keeneland Foundation to support outreach and awareness efforts.

2002 — KYCPG organized a public forum to explore gambling in Kentucky. Held at the University of Louisville, it was videotaped and made available for public information. KYCPG presented its first test-prep workshop to prepare behavioral health counselors for the required test to achieve gambler counselor certification; 23 of 24 participants passed the exam. KYCPG developed and released its first strategic plan. KYCPG organized a coalition composed of the gambling industry, certified gambler counselors, and state agencies to promote Responsible Gaming Education Week (RGEW) in Kentucky. Held the first week of August each year, RGEW promotes responsible gambling practices through media campaigns and statewide distribution of posters and rack cards.

2003 — KYCPG was the host of the National Conference on Problem Gambling at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Louisville. State Representative C.B. Embry introduced and achieved passage of the only problem gambling legislation adopted by the Kentucky General Assembly. The resolution led to Legislative Research Commission (LRC) Report 316, Compulsive Gambling in Kentucky, which documented 20,000 addicted gamblers in the state and suggested the need for more availability of treatment options for problem and addicted gamblers and their families. KYCPG followed the release of the LRC report with a Gambling Assistance Proposal (GAP) outlining the types of services needed and estimated costs over a five-year period.

2004 — KYCPG began active participation in National Problem Gambling Awareness Week in March, which now is a month-long activity. KYCPG developed an outreach message for use in the state’s Community Mental Health Centers. Working with the Kentucky Lottery Corporation, KYCPG adapted Beat Addiction, a cross-addiction awareness curriculum for use with middle school and early high school youth.

2005 — The RGEW poster with the theme “Problem Gambling Crosses All Ages” became the first outreach through a partnership with the state’s Family Resource and Youth Service Centers (FRYSCs).

2006 — KYCPG Past-President Caleb Cooley serves as a member of the NCPG Board of Directors and is elected NCPG treasurer. The KYCPG Strategic Plan is updated. In cooperation with the Indiana Council on Problem Gambling, KYCPG creates and distributes a brochure targeting charitable gambling activities.

2007 — Following release of the Kentucky Incentives for Prevention survey of youth at-risk behaviors, which for the first time included questions on gambling behavior, KYCPG organized a media event in the Capitol Rotunda to point out the lifetime rate of gambling by high school seniors was almost 50 percent, and 2 percent of those responding to the survey indicated their gambling was causing problems with school or at home.

2008 — House Bill 137, introduced by Rep. Jim Wayne, to establish a problem and addicted gambling awareness and treatment program, passed the House Appropriation and Revenue Committee. The General Assembly adjourned before the bill could pass the House. KYCPG

conducted a contest to develop an RGEW poster to raise awareness about gambling among college students.

2009 — Beat Addiction was updated and rebranded as Choices — There Is ALWAYS A Right One! Research was a focus of KYCPG projects with release of the Challenge for Kentucky, a report on the elements necessary for a comprehensive program to address problem and addicted gambling, and Problem Gambling in Kentucky, an analysis of survey data collected in the Fall 2008 by the University of Kentucky Survey Research Center. The analysis of the land-line telephone survey indicated there are 9,000 addicted gamblers, 51,000 problem gamblers, and 190,00 at risk of developing a gambling addiction in Kentucky.

2010 — For RGEW, KYCPG worked with the Kentucky Lawyers’ Assistance Program to present a one-day training at the state Capitol Annex for legislators and others on problem and addicted gambling. Working with the MidCentral Alliance on Problem Gambling, KYCPG created and released a poster, rack card and brochure on “Workplace Wagering” to advise business people and employee assistance professionals of the potential impact of gambling on the job.

2011 — In cooperation with the Kentucky Department of Charitable Gaming, KYCPG produced and released a video to raise awareness of problem and addicted gambling behavior at bingo halls and other charitable gaming events. The strategic plan was updated for the second time.

2012 — The Department of Charitable Gaming provided sponsorship support for the helpline services. RonSonLyn Clark, Psy.D., ICGC, Senior Director of Substance Abuse Services, River Valley Behavioral Health, Owensboro, was named KYCPG’s Director of Education.

2013 — KYCPG Research Committee Chair, Deacon Scott Hunt, Ph.D., applied for and secured a grant from the Louisville Institute to raise awareness of problem and addicted gambling among the charitable gaming operators of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lexington. For RGEW, a simple, one-page website,, was created as an easy reference site for those seeking referrals to Gamblers Anonymous or counselors, or for more information on problem and addicted gambling. Nationally, the American Psychiatric Association released the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the Mental Disorders, which reclassified and renamed pathological gambling as addicted gambling.

2014 — The Kentucky Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities awarded KYCPG a grant to support the annual conference, counselor and prevention specialist training, and awareness material distribution.

2015 — The charitable gaming awareness video was updated and broadened in scope. The annual educational and awareness conference focused on prevention concepts. KYCPG made available a computer data storage thumb drive with problem and addicted gambling reference material.

2016 — KYCPG, with the support of the Kentucky Lottery Corporation, added text and chat services to the helpline. The strategic plan was updated for the third time.

2017 — 20th Annual KYCPG Educational and Awareness Conference.

25 Year Report on Problem Gambling in Kentucky

Gleason Award Application CLOSED

KYCPG Awards

The Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling’s (KYCPG) awards program began in 1996 at the first education and awareness conference. The awards program strives to honor individuals and organizations for leadership and education that contributes to recognition, prevention and treatment of addicted gambling. The Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling Board of Directors established five award categories:

• The Jim Cooke Leadership Award, named in honor of the first recipient, recognizes individual achievements,

• The Government/Education Award,

• The Industry Award,

• The Media Award, and

• The Arch Gleason Award for Responsible Gambling Leadership.

Jim Cooke Leadership Award

The Jim Cooke Leadership Award is named for a founding member of the KYCPG, Louisville businessman, philanthropist and activist Jim Cooke. His example of selfless contribution to organizational success is embodied in the winners of the award, which is approved by the KYCPG Board of Directors. The award is given only in recognition of outstanding and long- term contributions to the field of problem and addicted gambling awareness and education.

Previous recipients are:

Jim Cooke, 1999

Curtis L. Barrett, Ph.D., 2000

Jim Blackerby, 2001

Edward Looney, 2002

Caleb Cooley, 2003

Dennis Boyd, 2004

Kristine L. and Michael R. Stone, 2006

Joe Daniel, 2008

Chip Polston, 2012

Rev. Janet Jacobs, 2013

Mark Mason, 2015

Gayle DiCesare, 2016

Jerry Long, 2017

Herbert E. (Bud) Newman, Psy.D., 2019

Michael Townsend, 2022


Government/Education Award

The KYCPG Government/Education Award recognizes outstanding contributions to raising awareness, compiling research, or furthering the provision of services to problem and addicted gamblers.

The University of Kentucky, 1999

Michael Townsend, 2000

Murray State University/Kern Alexander, Ph.D., 2002

The Honorable Jack L. Coleman, Jr., 2004

The Honorable C.B. Embry, Jr., 2005

Ed Monahan, 2011

Marty Hammons, 2012

Eastern Kentucky University College of Justice and Safety Professor Scott Hunt, 2016

RiverValley Behavioral Health Crisis Line Specialists, 2022


Industry Award
The KYCPG Industry Award is presented to business entities or representatives of the gaming/gambling industry for contributions to raising awareness or providing customer education about problem and addicted gambling.

Churchill Downs, Inc., 1998

The Kentucky Lottery Corporation, 1999

Casino Aztar, 2000

The Kentucky Lottery Corporation, 2003

Caesars Indiana, 2004

Keeneland Association, Inc. 2005

Argosy Casino and Hotel, 2007

Turfway Park, 2011

Mark Mason, Hollywood Casino, 2013

Keeneland Association, Inc., 2016

Arch L. Gleason (posthumously), 2017

Media Award

The KYCPG Media Award recognizes outstanding coverage or promotion of issues or projects related to problem and addicted gambling.

Lexington Herald-Leader, 2000

Grace Schneider, Louisville Courier-Journal, 2003

The Louisville Courier-Journal, 2005

Brian Ridgway, Lamar Advertising of Lexington, 2008

Jack Brammer, Lexington Herald-Leader, 2018

Patricia McQueen, Lottery Insights Magazine, 2022


Arch L. Gleason Industry Award for Responsible Gambling Leadership

Arch L. Gleason was one of the first lottery directors in North America to recognize the need to help players struggling with gambling problems. For many years, problem gambling was the elephant in the room for gaming operations – no one wanted to talk about it, let alone acknowledge it.

Through Arch’s actions, the issue came to the forefront of the industry, not just in a state and national venue, but across the world, as well. As the 23-year president and CEO of the Kentucky Lottery Corporation, Gleason worked to establish the Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling (KYCPG), the state’s National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) affiliate. He championed many initiatives for the cause through the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (the trade organization for all North American lottery organizations) during his tenure.

Arch’s crowning achievement in the field was his work to establish the World Lottery Association’s responsible gambling certification program during his term as the group’s president. This became the first-ever responsible gambling program implemented on a global basis, taking the cause into corners of the globe that had never previously addressed the issue.

The Gleason Award exists to recognize someone not only for their commitment to responsible gambling but also – much like Arch – has also demonstrated the ability to successfully manage a gaming enterprise in a socially responsible manner. While ideally the recipient will be at the senior management level, nominees can be anywhere on the corporate ladder of a gaming/gambling entity. They will embody the concept of being able to profitably operate a gambling company while incorporating responsible gambling principles across all aspects of their business.

Nominations for the Arch L. Gleason Industry Award for Responsible Gambling Leadership are open to applications from the Unites States or worldwide. Judging for the award will be conducted by the Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling’s awards subcommittee. It will be based on the criteria spelled out in an application. This will not be an annual award – while submissions will be sought every year, the award will only be given when an applicant is deemed a worthy recipient through the application process.

The honoree will commit to serve as the keynote speaker for the KYCPG’s annual March conference. He or she will be expected to share his or her organization’s responsible gambling story, successes and lessons learned. To accomplish this, the recipient will be given airfare within the continental United States to the site of the KYCPG’s February conference, and will be provided accommodations in the official conference hotel. A written version of the keynote address will be shared publicly via the KYCPG website.

Thomas Meeker, President and CEO (retired), Churchill Downs, Inc., 2017

Alice D. Garland, Executive Director, North Carolina Education Lottery, 2018

Chip Polston, Senior Vice President of Communications, Public Relations and Social Responsibility, Kentucky Lottery Corporation, 2020 

Gerald W. Beasley, Director of Human Resources and Compliance, Eldorado Resort Casino Shreveport, Louisiana, 2021


The Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling will be the focal point for problem gambling issues in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.



The Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling will increase awareness of problem gambling, promote prevention and research, and advocate for the availability of treatment.



Goal 1:

Objective 1: Continue efforts to increase the number of certified gambler  counselors (CCGC) in Kentucky by interacting with potential partner organizations to increase awareness of the need for CCGCs among the professional counseling community.

Objective 2: Seek establishment of in-patient problem and addicted gambler treatment services at Kentucky behavioral health facilities by identifying potential providers/partnerships and pursuing networking with community mental health centers (CMHCs), all to meet American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) level of care.

Objective 3: Pursue grants and contracts to fund counselor training and addiction treatment services.

Goal 2:

Objective 1: Advocate with the Kentucky General Assembly and Executive Branch for need to provide services to address the public health issue of problem and addicted gambling.

Objective 2: Engage key shareholders to educate them about the need for problem and addicted gambling services.

Goal 3:

Objective 1: Promote awareness by publicizing the availability informational outreach presentations and educational materials.

Objective 2: Reach out to the legal community to raise awareness of the impact of problem and addicted gambling on the criminal justice system and work to establish a gambling court.

Objective 3: Continue awareness efforts through National Problem Gambling Awareness Month in March, marketing of the Choices addiction awareness curriculum to schools and youth groups, and exhibiting with organizations and groups to further awareness and education about problem and addicted gambling.

Please Consider Membership in KYCPG

The Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling (KYCPG) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit Kentucky corporation whose mission is to increase awareness of problem gambling, advocate for the widespread availability of treatment for problem gamblers, and promote research and education on problem gambling.

KYCPG’s independent governing board of business people, clinicians, educators, gaming officials, and recovering gamblers seeks to involve the community in understanding and addressing problem gambling in Kentucky.

KYCPG invites your commitment and contribution. KYCPG offers benefits, products and services at every membership level.

Membership Levels and Benefits



Lexington G.A.

Louisville G.A.

Cincinnati G.A.