Florida Takes Steps Toward Improving Problem Gambling Treatment
Problem gambling is the type addiction that can drain a bank account. Although drugs and alcohol addiction are usually the type that can be funded by the addicts, gambling can lead those with the problem down a dark road of despair.
In Florida, gambling expansion is at an all-time high, and there is a chance that expansion grows even further this legislative session. A new bill has been proposed that would bring casino resorts to the Sunshine State, and that would lead to more cases of problem gambling.
The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling has unveiled a new plan that will save gamblers millions of dollars in treatment programs. The FCCG has launched the Recovery Path Treatment Program, which will help gambling addicts that cannot afford some of the high priced treatment centers that are available for addiction.
Gambling addiction in Florida has grown along with the gaming industry over the past decade. When the lottery was first launched, a spike in addiction was seen. Then, tribal casinos started popping up, and pari-mutuels were given the right to offer poker and slot machines.
In the past year, the lottery has expanded, as has the casino options. Tribal casinos can now offer blackjack and baccarat, and betting limits have been lifted in poker rooms all across the state.
With each wave of expansion comes another couple thousand people that call problem gambling hot lines. Up until now, all treatment was expensive and unorganized, but the FCCG is planning on changing that.
The Recovery Plan starts when gamblers call the hot line and are matched up with a counselor. It is a step that has been lacking in the state, and many people are thankful.
“I never had a program like that to work with when I went through my addiction problems,” said Stan Chelney, a former gambling addict who lost hundreds of thousands of dollars playing the Florida Lottery. “I had to deal with the issue on my own, and I was lucky that I had the money left to get help. This program will help those who are less fortunate.”