RI mental health organization picked to provide compulsive gambling treatment
PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island — A non-profit mental health organization has been picked by the state's Lottery to provide treatment for people struggling with gambling addiction.
CODAC Behavioral Healthcare will begin offering services for compulsive gambling on Monday. Last month, a state-funded gambling addiction program at Rhode Island Hospital ended after 12 years, even though legal gambling in the state recently expanded when Twin River Casino began offering Las Vegas-style table games.
CODAC will offer treatment in Cranston, East Providence and Newport, CODAC President Mike Rizzi said. The Cranston-based organization has provided help for addictions and other behavioral health problems for more than 40 years.
Lottery Director Gerald Aubin said the organization was selected in part because of its reputation and its ability to provide treatment at locations around the state.
Since 2001, Rhode Island Hospital had operated an outpatient program funded by the state for problem gamblers who are uninsured or can't pay. The state originally dedicated $150,000 a year to the initiative but cut that to $50,000 last year before eliminating it in the fiscal year that began July 1. The treatment program has served 1,700 problem gamblers.
Twin River, as part of its expansion, has agreed to pay $100,000 a year to support treatment for people struggling with gambling addiction. The Lincoln facility won voter approval last year to expand from a slot parlor to a full-fledged casino. Table games including roulette, blackjack and craps began this summer.
Twin River spokeswoman Patti Doyle said the company fully supports the Lottery's selection of CODAC.
Rhode Island spends far less than most states on problem-gambling services. In 2010, it spent less than 10 cents per capita on problem-gambling treatment programs, compared with a national average of 34 cents, according to the Association of Problem Gambling Service Administrators.