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Gambling Addicts Help Themselves To Help. 2005-09-28
In an attempt to help gambling addicts, there have been measures to help them. Yet, some addicts have attempted to help themselves, through programs. In Missouri alone 9,000 gambling addicts have permanently banned themselves from the state’s casinos.
State regulators, addiction counselors say that these numbers are prove to be good news. This is good news because they show the state is getting the word out about treatment options. People are taking charge of their own futures, by admitting they have a problem, and doing something about it.
Missouri established the self-ban concept in 1996. People who sign up for it agree to stay away from the 11 casinos here or face trespassing charges. Illinois followed suit by creating a similar program in 2002. So far 2,758 people have signed up in Illinois.
The program differs from Missouri's because people on the Illinois list who enter casinos are forced to leave. In this case they are rarely arrested, because that is the decision of the casino. People in Illinois can remove themselves from the list after five years if a mental-health professional determines gambling addiction is no longer a problem.
Instead, Missouri is considering an educational program. In addition they are considering a self-assessment test for problem gamblers, who want off the list. The commission's annual report will try to make this doable.
Rick Cox, who counsels problem gamblers in St. Charles, doubts that gambling addicts could return to gambling after five or even 10 years of abstinence. He believes they may just get into trouble once again. No amount of abstinence will help addicts return to gambling and not return to becoming addicts. Cox has worked in the field 19 years, and he knows first hand.
(By Andrea)