State has more problem gamblers
By: Meghan Wons, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
The number of problem gamblers is on the rise statewide. Operators of a counseling hotline say 2009 saw a 12-percent increase from the previous year.
While many are watching their wallets during these tough economic times, others are finding themselves hooked on what at first seemed like a fast, easy way to make money – gambling.
Rose Gruber is executive Director for the Wisconsin Council of Problem Gambling. She says they received over 14,600 calls for help in 2009, up from roughly 13,000 in 2008. Gruber says the recession is one reason for the increase. She says if a social gambler lost their job, the gambling became a way to earn money, but unfortunately the odds are against that happening regularly.
Gruber says the goal of her organization is to help problem gamblers through immediate crises – like suicidal thoughts – then give them resources for ongoing support. Raymond Hadley, a psychotherapist based in Milton, says he treats all kinds of compulsive gamblers with different income levels.
Hadley says problem gamblers experience a loss of control – similar to alcoholics or drug addicts. He adds that there is more help out there for people with gambling problems than there has ever been.