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Missouri Lawmaker Downplays Importance Of Problem Gambling Help

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Just when it was thought that lawmakers were starting to get a grasp on all the principles involved with casino gambling, there comes a story out of Missouri. State Representative David Sater, a Republican from Cassville, has downplayed the importance of problem gambling addiction.

Sater is proposing that the state move money that was earmarked for counseling to problem gamblers to the state's general funds. Other programs, Sater, feels, are more important that problem gamblers receiving the help that they need.

"We have other priorities, food stamps, medication, that I feel are more important than treating a compulsive gambling problem," said Sater, "Some of the programs that are on the fringe, they're good programs, but something has to go. You can't make everybody happy.

Where the $368,000 is coming from is the ironic part of the story. Casino admission fees are the money that Sater is targeting to move. The proposal by Sater has many shaking their heads.

"This guy (Sater) must have come from a family with no addiction problems. How he could consciously take money from casinos that was supposed to be used to help problem gamblers., and just move it somewhere else is unfathomable,' said counselor Trudy Hopkings.

The state of Missouri not only has casinos, but is expanding their casino offerings. In the November election voters approved more gambling by eliminating a loss-limit law that had previously been in effect.

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