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Massachusetts Lawmakers Urged To Consider Problem Gambling

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Everybody talks about all the revenue that could be generated and all of the jobs that would be created if casino gambling is expanded in a particular state. Rarely do lawmakers considering the gambling have a knowledge of the problem gambling treatment steps that need to be taken as well.

Lawmakers in Massachusetts on Tuesday heard from a problem gambling agency that asked them to consider how they will deal with the increased problems should gambling be expanded. The lawmakers received a first-hand look at what dangers could be lurking.

"If the state does sponsor, or endorse gambling, it needs to deal with the downside," said Kathy Scanlon, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling. The Council was lobbying for funds from the expanded gambling.

If approved, the Council is asking that 2.5% of the revenue generated from the casinos be put aside for problem gambling treatment. It is becoming a common practice in the US that funds from gambling go to treatment for people who become addicted to the form of entertainment.

The average in the US is twenty-five cents per resident that goes towards problem gambling treatment. In Massachusetts, according to the Gambling Council, the number is below the national average, at eighteen cents per resident.

The Council on Compulsive Gambling is not new to these negotiations with the state. They receive a portion of the revenue generated from the state lottery, and are just making sure the lawmakers do not forget about the treatment if they expand gambling to include casinos.

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