Casinos fund treatment for problem gamblersPaul Davies March 25, 2013 11:09 am
One of the inherent conflicts of gambling is that the more citizens lose, the more tax revenue the state takes in. Here’s another troubling conflict: the casinos fund the treatment for problem gamblers.
Maybe that is why you never hear much from the gambling treatment centers about how casinos and state lotteries are the driving force behind gambling addiction. The treatment centers are reluctant to bite the hand that feeds them. The only way the treatment centers grow is if they get more funding to treat more problem gamblers.
Even more problematic, casinos often target problem gamblers, who can account for as much as 60 percent of the slots revenue. Worse still, lawmakers often divert the funding to treat problem gamblers to the general fund, leaving less money to help those in need. Not to mention, the amount of money that is set aside to treat problem gamblers is often tiny to begin with.
In Massachusetts, the $1.8 the state earmarked to help problem gamblers was slashed by $500,000 later in the fiscal year, according to this report. The cutbacks come as Massachusetts gears up to open commercial casinos, creating a likely surge in problem gamblers. That what has happened in other states. Other states have cut funding for treatment in recent years, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The cutbacks come as more states legalize casinos, creating more opportunity for gambling addiction.
According to a report by PBS: “In Louisiana, four years after the state legalized casinos and slots, a study found that seven percent of adults had become addicted to gambling. In Minnesota, as 16 Indian casinos opened across the state, the number of Gamblers Anonymous groups shot up for one to 49.
It is a safe bet that as New York looks to legalize commercial casinos, there will not be much help for problem gamblers despite claims by lawmakers to do all they can to help the addicts they will create.