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Indiana Problem Gambling Can Happen in Surprising Places

Though gambling in any form is prohibited in most criminal justice facilities, it is certainly present and popular. Gambling is not only used as a “form of entertainment” to “pass the time”, it is also very much interwoven into the drug and criminal culture of the institution. Wagering on anything from sporting events, dice and card games to who will receive parole, is commonplace. Though tangible money is not available, a wager can be made in terms of goods or services rendered. These may be canteen items, saving a spot in the “chow line”, making sure that a family member “gets a ride” for visiting day, bringing contraband (i.e. drugs/tobacco) into the facility for resale or depositing money into an inmate’s spending account. 

Gambling or more importantly, keeping an inmate in debt and subservient, is viewed as a “power play”, by the long term inmate, who makes his “living” and gets his respect from peers, targeting new unsuspecting inmates or gambling addicts who continue to “stay in action” (gambling), while incarcerated.

Gambling in the criminal justice system extends beyond the institution when the family of the indebted inmate continues to put large amounts of money in their spending account and loses personal items such as electronics, cars and even homes that have been wagered. This addiction is not contained by barb wired fences or concrete walls.  


If you or someone in Indiana you know needs help with problem gambling, reach out – we’re here to help

What Resources are Available?

National Problem Gambling Help Line
(800) 522-4700

The National Problem Gambling Help Line provides help to people with gambling problems and their families. Callers receive confidential, professional service from trained counselors. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is free of charge.

Indiana Help Line
(800) 994-8448

Gambling Recovery Ministries
(812) 926-1052

Gamblers Anonymous (GA)

Gam-Anon: A peer-led support group, Gam-Anon provides a supportive environment for the spouses, relatives, or close friends of- problem gamblers to share their experiences. There is no membership fee.  A list of local meetings is available by calling the above Problem Gambling Help Lines.