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Legislation to combat gambling addiction (Rep. Jim Moran)

Written by:
Guest
Published on:
Jun/19/2009
Gambling Addiction

The majority of Americans gamble, most without doing harm to themselves, their families or their communities. But unfortunately, for approximately 3-4% of American adults, recreational gambling becomes a problem. As state governments look for ways to boost revenues in these tough economic times, many are turning to legal gaming operations to expand the tax base. Based solely on the law of averages, this will in turn increase the number Americans struggling with gambling addiction.

This week I introduced legislation, the "Comprehensive Problem Gambling Act," (HR 2906) which for the first time would devote federal resources to the research and treatment of problem gambling. The bill, supported by the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), represents a long overdue federal commitment to address gambling addiction, whose social repercussions add up to more than $7 billion each year.

Under the legislation the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) would be the lead agency tackling problem gambling. SAMSHA would conduct research, develop guidelines for effective prevention and treatment programs, and provide assistance to community-based gambling addiction services. In addition, the bill would establish a grant program to assist states and localities in administering prevention and treatment programs, to fund research efforts to better understand problem gambling, to develop effective treatment programs, and to support a national public awareness campaign.

With the expansion of gambling operations, problem gambling will grow. But, if at the same time, we ramp up local, state and federal commitments to combat this disease, we have an opportunity to keep it from getting out of hand.

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