Gambling Addiction Hot Line Accessible To Lottery Players
Posted March 17, 2006 10:19 a.m. EST
RALEIGH, N.C. — Will the lottery lead to widespread gambling addiction? The state's not waiting to find out. A help line for gambling addicts will be printed on the back of every ticket. However, the very service intended to help gamblers quit depends on the success of the lottery.
Lawmakers required the help line as part of the lottery bill. In addition, the lottery commission must contribute $1 million to help the state set up a gambling addiction service, which is not yet up and running.
"We want to make sure this is all about fun for folks and that they play the games for fun and it does not get out of hand and no one goes overboard in playing the games...We don't encourage that at all," said Pamela Walker with the North Carolina Education Lottery.
Bill Brooks, with the North Carolina Family Policy Council, applauds the lottery commission's efforts to advertise the help line, but he says the mere fact that it's necessary proves a point.
"The state actually funding it makes the point that there will be a problem with it. We will have many more compulsive gamblers because of the lottery than we do now," said Brooks.
State officials say the National Council on Problem Gambling takes 150 to 200 calls from North Carolinians a month. Five in 35 calls to South Carolina's state gambling help line come from North Carolina residents.