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Gambling Addiction

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Gambling addiction away video

Postby Tetilar В» 11.07.2019

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Orville Dash sits in a recliner with a clipboard. Tall and broad-shouldered, with wispy white hair where a pompadour once rose, the former statistical engineer for Caterpillar removes a sheet of paper, clicks on the flashlight he uses for reading and goes over his numbers. Orville Dash, of Maroa, Ill. Whitney Curtis, special to ProPublica Illinois. Yet the state has failed to address the issue of gambling addiction in any meaningful way. Lawmakers introduced and passed the Video Gaming Act in less than 48 hours, without holding a single hearing or conducting even a cursory study of the potential impact of the massive gambling expansion.

Over the past decade, the number of people receiving state-funded treatment has declined. The state has allocated inadequate amounts for marketing campaigns to encourage people with gambling problems to seek help.

It has spent no money to conduct research to measure the prevalence of addiction or to gauge which treatments are most effective. The Bad Bet: A multi-part investigation examining the legalization of video gambling in Illinois.

Now, some lawmakers and the gambling industry are pushing another expansion that would include sports betting, new casinos and even more video slot and poker machines. In May, the U. Supreme Court paved the way for legalized sports gambling, and other states have begun to explore gambling expansions in hopes of tapping potential revenue streams. A conservative estimate, using what most researchers set as a national average for gambling addiction — 2.

The number of people afflicted is likely higher, however, because studies show the rate of gambling addiction tends to increase with the number of gambling options, and Illinois has more locations to place a bet than Nevada. Yet even as video gambling expanded, state spending on addiction fell nearly 20 percent between and , according to the most recent figures available.

The number of people assessed or treated for gambling addiction by state-funded providers declined nearly 37 percent during that time. Of those, callers were seeking help; the rest were wrong numbers or people calling for other reasons. Because they spent that money yesterday. And the food money goes. And the hand-wringing. And the crying. Researchers have found that gambling addiction is often accompanied by other forms of addiction. Those who are susceptible wager beyond their means or spend inordinate amounts of time gambling.

Unable to see, or indifferent to, far-reaching consequences, they may find themselves lying to loved ones, turning to crime to cover their losses or becoming suicidal. She said she lost her business and still struggles to keep away from the machines.

But before you know it, you lose. Slot machines inside a lounge at Huck's, a truck stop in Mount Vernon, Ill. More than 30, video gambling machines operate outside of Illinois casinos, often in bars, restaurants, and truck stops. The gambling industry and some researchers say there is no evidence video gambling is more addictive than other forms of gambling, though few studies focus on this question.

They argue that some people are at risk of becoming addicts regardless of the type of gambling they choose. Christine Reilly, senior research director at the National Center for Responsible Gaming, a nonprofit largely funded by the gambling industry, pointed to NCRG-funded research that found 70 percent of gambling addicts already suffered from depression, anxiety or other mental health issues. That, she said, makes them susceptible to developing a gambling addiction.

Things are not inherently addictive. Yet other studies have shown that people may develop a gambling addiction first, and that can lead to other conditions, such as depression, substance abuse or other mental health issues. A man plays a video slot machine in a lounge at Huck's, a truck stop in Mount Vernon, Ill.

Researchers and clinicians generally agree greater access to gambling can increase addiction rates. They say the wide proliferation of video gambling in Illinois has likely fueled a rise in addiction here. The legislature never commissioned a prevalence study to measure the rate of gambling addiction, which researchers and clinicians say is a crucial first step to combat the disease.

On a Thursday afternoon, you can walk into a gambling parlor on North Harlem Avenue in Elmwood Park and find players who have wandered across the street from the Chicago side, where video gambling remains illegal.

Pick a game like Wolf Run, with a theme featuring dream catchers and the silhouette of a wolf howling at a full moon. Each line combination could be a winner. Hit the spin button, and flutes, electronic horns and whistles blare while the virtual reels spin. As each reel comes to a stop, it sounds as if gears are locking into place. Suddenly, a wolf howls, more bells and whistles go off and lights flash. Each individual machine contains an array of games, which are targeted at different kinds of players.

Some feature themes centered around shopping, jewelry and makeup; others depict busty, scantily clad women. The games create the impression that gamblers can control the outcome by touching the screen or hitting the spin button to stop the virtual wheels. But the outcome is determined the moment a player pushes the button.

Many players believe machines run hot or cold, as if the devices get on streaks, or that the more spins a player makes, the greater the chances of a payout. Video gambling chairs, which can cost hundreds of dollars, are built to be occupied for long periods, with padding and ergonomic designs. Some look like recliners, with buttons embedded in the armrests, so people can play without moving their arms. Gone are the days when playing the slots meant pulling a lever on a clanky machine.

In May , when the Video Gaming Act came up for a final vote, not a single member of the state Senate spoke about the social costs of gambling. In the House, according to transcripts, only one lawmaker, Rosemary Mulligan, a Republican from Park Ridge, questioned what Illinois would do to combat gambling addiction.

Illinois Rep. Two years later, when the Video Gaming Act moved to the House, Mulligan was the only representative who questioned what the state would do to combat gambling addiction. In , Illinois ranked 28th out of 40 states nationally in per capita funding for addiction services, according to the most recent survey from the National Council on Problem Gambling, a nonprofit that advocates for problem gamblers but says it takes no position on legalized gambling.

Licensing and administrative fees would pay for regulating the industry and confronting social costs, such as addiction. At the same time, the agency tasked with issuing grants for treatment, outreach and training for clinicians, the Illinois Department of Human Services, has struggled to spend the money that is appropriated each year.

By , the percentage had dropped to 63 percent. DHS officials say providers have had trouble getting gambling addicts to seek treatment and that there are not enough clinicians in the state who specialize in gambling addiction.

The number of people receiving services also dropped by 37 percent, from 6, to 4, during that time. They say they need more billboards, TV and radio ads and sophisticated social media campaigns to educate the public about how to identify the warning signs of problem gambling. David Kasnic for ProPublica Illinois.

DHS officials said the stigma around gambling addiction is greater than substance abuse, since there are fewer outward signs of trouble and many people still doubt that gambling addiction is a real disease. DHS officials said they are planning a push in March to coincide with Problem Gambling Awareness Month, which will include a new website, as well as mailers, flyers and posters distributed around the state.

A lack of clinicians certified to treat gambling addiction has also made it hard to tackle the problem, according to DHS. Although many people who attend the meetings say they believe the program helps them, a majority of those meetings are held in and around Chicago, leaving gambling addicts outside the metropolitan area with fewer options.

Donald Black, of the Carver College of Medicine at the University of Iowa and a prominent gambling researcher who has studied addiction in Illinois. One measure has proved somewhat effective at helping problem gamblers: a registry, called a self-exclusion list, that allows people to bar themselves from gambling. But the state has yet to implement one for video gambling. A gaming board memo that examines self-exclusion programs around the world suggests the impact on revenue is among the biggest obstacles.

Because any self-exclusion list would probably cut into revenue, the industry would likely oppose it. Of those, nearly 38 percent, or about 5,, say video gambling was why they applied to be placed on the list, according to gaming board statistics.

Self-exclusion lists are easier to enforce at casinos because there are only 10, gaming board officials said. If people on the list are caught gambling, they must forfeit winnings, which are donated to nonprofits that tackle gambling addiction.

They can also be charged with trespassing. Other countries have established self-exclusion lists for video gambling. Sweden, for instance, requires anyone who wants to play video slot and poker machines outside of casinos to register and receive a player card or government-issued ID, which must be swiped at each device before a bet can be placed. A woman uses a video gambling machine at Sunset Inn and Suites on Oct. Whitney Curtis, special to ProPublica.

As of this month, 40 people had signed up for the registry, according to the gaming board. Illinois legislators could require the board to implement a self-exclusion list — and provide funding to study the issue — but have made no move to do so.

Gamblers on the casino self-exclusion lists and clinicians said the lack of one for video gambling has added obstacles to their recovery. Another option to combat problem gambling is to add technology to the machines to control play. Some provinces in Canada have installed tracking devices on video slot and poker games to limit the time and money spent on each machine.

In Illinois, gaming board officials said they believe these measures are ineffective, since players can simply move to other machines or locations. Teenagers are among a growing population of problem gamblers, according to treatment providers. Some video gambling machines are located in places where no one checks that players are at least 21, the legal age for gambling in Illinois.

The legislature has failed to enact basic measures other states follow to help prevent underage gamblers from using the machines, such as requiring a manager on duty to check identification or keeping machines out of view of those under The gaming board only began enforcing the ban on underage video gambling in September , three years after the games went live, according to a review of meeting minutes.

We need to do more, and I think that is one area that has suffered from a lack of resources. A year-old Gamblers Anonymous member named Leon, who asked to be identified only by his first name, said he realized he was a problem gambler when he lost money he had set aside to pay his mortgage and had to tell his husband.

When he called a video gambling company to ask about a self-exclusion list, he was told he should just keep away from establishments with the machines, he said. Sitting in his recliner on a brisk, sunny autumn afternoon, his pudgy dog Nikki snoring on the carpet beside him, Orville Dash said he had managed to stay away from the machines for three or four months.

Only his ailments were keeping him home. A recovering alcoholic and former longtime smoker, Dash said he entered a treatment program for alcohol abuse while at Caterpillar in the s.

There, he learned about the step program, which he has used in his efforts to quit gambling.

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