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Treatment Lacking for Problem Gamblers

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BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) — A new study says the vast majority of pathological gamblers in Iowa aren’t receiving treatment and are at risk of financial devastation.

The study presented Thursday to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission found that 0.6 percent of Iowans — about 18,000 people — may be pathological gamblers during their lifetime. That means they experience symptoms such as writing bad checks to gamble, losing a job, asking relatives for loans and hiding the extent of a gambling problem.

Yet only 678 people received treatment through state-funded programs last year. The state has slashed the promotional budget for the 1-800-BETSOFF hotline by 75 percent, resulting in a sharp drop in referrals to service providers.

The study says the lack of treatment is “leaving them and their families subject to financial ruin.”

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