N.C. Lottery Commission Discusses Gambling Addiction
Special Report - March 14, 2006
Just over two weeks before lottery tickets are set to go on sale in North Carolina, the North Carolina State Lottery Commission finally got around to discussing what the state plans to do to address the growth in gambling addiction and the related problems that will ensue. A representative of the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services in the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) told the Commission on March 14 that problem gambling costs the nation $5 billion annually. She said the Department is developing a three-fold plan that will include the creation and distribution of prevention and education materials, an outreach program consisting of a toll-free statewide Problem Gambling Helpline, and the establishment of a statewide system of service providers who can treat people suffering from pathological or problem gambling. She also said the Department, along with the State Center for Health Statistics, has completed a baseline study of gambling addiction in North Carolina that will provide a measure to gauge increases in problem gambling in future years.
“Despite acknowledging that the lottery will exacerbate gambling addiction problems in the state, the lottery act directs a paltry $1 million annuallyout of an anticipated $1.2 billion in total annual lottery revenuesto DHHS for ‘gambling addiction education and treatment programs,’” said John Rustin, director of government relations for the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “If national statistics hold true, North Carolina can expect to call itself home to at least 300,000 compulsive gamblers just a few short years after a lottery goes into effect,” he continued. Studies consistently show high correlations between gambling addiction and increases in crime, theft, personal debt, bankruptcy, embezzlement, job loss, depression, marital discord, divorce, domestic violence, child abuse, and even suicide.
To read more about gambling addiction, download our policy paper entitled Gambling Addiction: High Stakes, High Costs and Real Victims.
Copyright © 2006. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.