Meetings & Information


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Atchison: Fix total disregard for problem gamblers

Atchison: Fix total disregard for problem gamblers

As a mental health professional and one of the many advocates in Wyoming for a person's well-being, I am totally baffled. The discussion continues by the governor and the legislators on how funds from the rainy day fund totaling $1.8 billion should be distributed for the benefit of its citizens and families. They still have no idea what to do with one of the largest "rainy day" funds in the United States.
Meanwhile no action to my knowledge has been initiated for mental health services for thousands of Wyoming problem gamblers and their families. This is happening despite the fact the mission of our state Department of Health specifically states "to promote, protect, and enhance the health of ALL (emphasis added) Wyoming residents." At this point no one (governor, legislators, etc.) has stepped up in doing their job.
The good news about this terrible dilemma is monies designated for this destructive addiction can not be "cut " -- as there are no monies! To further their total disregard of gambling and problem gambling consequences those same people in charge in protecting our rights as citizens have determined there is absolutely no need for a Gambling Control Commission.
This wrongful attitude is preposterous with the millions of dollars being generated in the state by lotteries, horse racing, bingo, poker, scratch cards, cock fighting, etc. . Our present philosophy is simply to turn our head regarding gambling's tremendous growth and ignore the fact more controls are essential in overseeing this industry while taking care of its social and moral issues (eg: problem gambling, suicides, etc.)
Take for instance: Just recently a former employee of the national Multi-State Lottery Association will spend 10 years in prison after being convicted of fraud for rigging the Hot Lotto game to win millions. It just so happens our own lottery is a member of the Multi-State Lottery Association. Wake up, folks: Gambling is fun, but there are certain consequences of this activity we have to be responsible for.

ED ATCHISON, executive director, Wyoming Council for Problem Gambling

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