State not keeping up with problem gamblers

Ponca City Now - May 18, 2014 10:26 am

TULSA, Okla. (AP) – Addiction treatment specialists say as dozens of tribal casinos popped up throughout the state in the past decade, resources for problem gamblers haven’t kept pace.

Only 45 certified counselors are available at 12 treatment facilities, but specialists say there should be at least double the counselors.

The facilities are often located many miles from where problem gamblers live. One county in the northeastern part of the state has 11 casinos in a 30-mile radius but zero counselors.

Gambling is a big business in Oklahoma, with nearly 120 facilities operated by 33 tribes that brought in more than $3 billion in 2013.

But addiction is just as large, though only a few hundred of the state’s estimated 60,000 to 100,000 problem gamblers get the help they need, state records show.

 

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