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Kansas Towns Coming Together To Fight Gambling Addiction

Casino gambling can bring hundreds of millions of dollars to a community, but the popular form of gambling can also bring some negative aspects. One of the negatives of casino gambling is a higher probability of problem gambling. In Kansas, state-owned casinos have opened up, and towns are coming together to fight addiction.

The casinos are not the only cause of gambling addiction, but they were enough to have some towns start their own problem gambling task forces. In Kansas City, a task force is being created in the hopes of raising awareness and providing treatment options for those in the community that are dealing with addiction.

"With the amount that gambling has increased in recent years, this seems like a necessary step to avoid a widespread gambling addiction problem," said Kansas resident Marcus Moore. "I can see how some people could get caught up in the world of slot machines. They are fun, but they can be dangerous too, and people need to know there is help out there."

Kansas voters approved four state-owned casinos several years ago, before the economic recession. The state regulators had a hard time securing developers, and when they finally did select developers, three of the four pulled out of the deals after the recession. The state spent several years attempting to re-start the licensing process, and finally a casino opened in Dodge City.

Since then, two more of the casinos have opened, prompting the call for increased awareness for problem gambling. The state is heading the charge for awareness by calling out to local community leaders, both elected officials, and business leaders. Each community, according to the plan, will service their own needs in relation to problem gambling.

"It is a great thing they are doing for the community," said Nickie Wilson, a recovering gambling addict. "I had tremendous support to break my habit, and I believe that treatment and education is the key to me beating the addiction. The more awareness the state can bring, the better our community will be."

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