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Problem gambling programs left empty in Oklahoma

One third of the money taken from gambling revenue to fund problem gambling programs is not being spent.

With a total of 110 casinos in Oklahoma and 245 gamblers who looked for help last year, through the 12 certified gambling treatment providers, the state spent a total of $143, 000 in the education and treatment of gambling addicts. However, it was then wrongly predicted that more money would be required the following year as more people would need help. Caletta McPherson of the Oklahoma state mental health department said “we know there are many more problem gamblers out there.”

However this has not been the case and now the department of problem gaming in Oklahoma is vastly over funded. In their defence Wiley Harwell, the executive director of the Oklahoma Association for Problem and Compulsive Gambling insisted that the reason people aren’t seeking out treatment is because they aren’t using the telephone help numbers as they are not being advertised. He commented, “The roadsides are inundated with casino billboards. And you know how many billboards we have in Oklahoma with the gambling help line number? – not one.” McPherson also said that more spending on public awareness campaigns have been discussed as a solution however the best method to reach Oklahoma’s gamblers has not been determined yet.

Danielle Almond
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