how Missouri is leading the way to prevent gambling addiction

Missouri’s $500 loss limit is not the only thing that helps curb gambling addiction; Missouri’s colleges are also leading the way. An article by The Christian Science Monitor, mentioned by WDAM in Mississippi, points to the ever-growing problem of gambling on college campuses. The articles explains:

Forty percent of 18- to 22-year-olds gambled monthly in 2007, according to the Annenberg Public Policy Center in Pennsylvania. That percentage actually represents a decline from 2006, thanks in part to a federal law that curtailed Internet gambling. Still, last year, about 5 percent gambled weekly and had problems such as spending more money than they planned.

Now with talks of Congress lifting the ban on Internet gambling and moving toward its regulation, the number of gambling addicts on college campuses could once again rise. Missouri is leading a unique coalition of colleges in an effort to alleviate and educate problem and pathological gamblers. The Christian Science Monitor further explains:

Whether it’s in dorm rooms or at a “casino night” fundraiser, gambling pervades college campuses. And more schools are starting to take notice of the problems it can spawn.

In Missouri, for example, a coalition of 12 schools is working hard to reach out to students about gambling. They’re starting to address betting through orientations and health surveys. They’re training financial-aid officers to ask about gambling debts if a student requests an emergency loan. And earlier this month, they promoted an educational website (Keeping the Score) with giveaways during National Problem Gambling Awareness Week.

This effort should be applauded but its only the first step. We need to stay vigilant and not only contact our local legislators about preventing the expansion of gambling, but we also need to encourage those at the university level to take advantage of these programs and to continue to work hard at keeping these programs up to par and successful.

The universities are a key area to start the education and fight of this social problem. George McClellan, vice chancellor for student affairs at Purdue, said colleges and universities should “take on a responsibility to provide information about the law, to challenge students to think about their own ethics and values … to be sure they understand where they can go if they think they might have a problem,”

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