Casino Watch Focus has been reporting on the ongoing gambling expansion debate that has consumed the Florida political and financial landscape. As lawmakers continue to focus on the politics and financial gains or pitfalls, the Florida Gambling Council is providing prospective on the real danger to Florida families. An online source explains:
Throwing some cold water on casino fever, the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling says the state isn’t addressing the addiction problems it has now.
“It is not responsible policymaking to even consider expansion without taking steps to mitigate the current issues,” FCCG executive director Pat Fowler told Sunshine State News.
Fowler said the state needs to get its own house in order first.
“We already have a quarter-million people with [gambling-addiction] problems. But the state has decided not to do anything to mitigate that problem,” she said.
The Council has been vocal about the lack of resources they have been given to combat Florida’s gambling related problems. This year alone the Council “received just $264,000 for the current fiscal year — barely a third of the compulsive-gambling fees paid to the state by Broward and Miami-Dade slot operators.” The gambling related problems in Florida have been getting worse. The Sunshine State News reports the Councils findings:
Meantime, FCCG painted a grim picture of gambling-related problems already extant in Florida:
According to problems reported by HelpLine callers in the past year:
Crime: 35 percent reported they resorted to committing illegal acts to finance their gambling.
Unemployed/Public Assistance: 25 percent reported they were unemployed and/or collecting state assistance.
Suicide: Those reporting having suicidal ideation or attempts rose significantly from 11 percent to 16 percent of callers.
Primary Gambling Problem: The most frequently cited primary gambling problem was slots, 46 percent; cards, 33 percent; and lottery, 11 percent.
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