Arizona Council on Compulsive Gambling, Inc.

ARIZONA HELPLINE 1-800-777-7207

A Tribute to Don Hulen

Donald "Don" Hulen co-founded the Arizona Council on Compulsive Gambling (ACCG) in 1993. The Council was established as a non profit agency to bring education and awareness of compulsive gambling--and its social and economic impact--to the public and private sectors.

Don served as our executive director from 1993 until his death on February 15, 2010. For over 17 years, Don worked tirelessly for education, awareness, treatment and prevention, both in the state of Arizona and at the national level.

For thousands of compulsive gamblers and their families, Don's was the first voice on the other end of the telephone, offering them hope in the midst of fear, confusion, despair and devastation. Don became their first ally--and their best line of defense, support and guidance--in their battle with this powerful, insidious and deadly addiction.

For his dedicated and ceaseless efforts, Don Hulen was honored in 2005 by the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) as a pioneer in the field of gambling awareness.


Thank You, Don! You will be greatly missed, and you will never be forgotten. Rest assured, the Arizona Council is committed to continuing your pioneering and life-saving work.

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The Arizona Council on Compulsive Gambling Inc. (ACCG) is a nonprofit organization with Federal tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status. We have a serious mission of education, awareness and training on issues of compulsive gambling. We are neither anti nor pro gambling.

As gambling becomes more widely available, accessible and acceptable, more recreational gamblers are crossing the invisible line into gambling addiction, creating an increasingly negative economic and social impact. Suicide, embezzlement, theft, family violence, business failures and bankruptcy are just a few of the gambling-related issues that strain the resources of our state and local agencies, burden our legal and correctional systems, and challenge the private sector. ACCG seeks to train these entities to refer gamblers (and their families) for education, awareness and proper treatment programs before the societal and economic costs escalate further and more lives and families are destroyed.

ACCG strongly recommends the 12-step program of Gamblers Anonymous(GA) as the cornerstone of any successful recovery effort. It is doubtful that long-term abstinence from gambling is possible without involvement in GA. In addition, ACCG firmly believes that compulsive gamblers will have a better opportunity of sustained recovery if they are counseled by a behavioral health professional who is trained and certified in the treatment of the disorder. Although the recovery rate for compulsive gamblers who are provided formal treatment through a certified professional in Arizona is undetermined at present, what little information that exists is encouraging. We also recommend casino self-exclusion as an important component of any recovery program.

Calls to our helpline from compulsive gamblers have increased steadily since 1993. Of the thousands of callers, over 50% are placed by or are about women with serious gambling-related problems. Over 95% of these women meet our criteria as "Escape" gamblers. Of the male callers, about 40% also meet the "Escape" criteria. We strongly urge individuals with gambling problems to contact our office for information and attend a Gamblers Anonymous (GA) meeting. We believe it is important for women to speak with women about gambling problems whenever possible, and we recommend that women attend a women-preferred meeting for their initial introduction to GA.