Tuesday, February 24, 2004

The Dark Side of Gambling

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is two-thirds of the way through a three-part series of articles on gambling problems. The series, "Out of Luck: Washington's Gambling Problem," tells some sad individual stories of people whose lives have been more-or-less ruined by gambling addictions. Today's main contribution to the series discusses the fact that Asian-Americans seem to be disproportionately represented among gamblers in Washington state.

Update, February 25, 2004: Part three is in today, and its two articles focus on treatment for problem gamblers. The first article concerns the underfunding of treatment for problem gamblers in Washington state, and includes claims that treatment is effective. There is also some discussion of self-exclusion, where a gambler who has a problem can voluntarily sign a form requiring him to stay away from a casino: "Self-exclusions at the Muckleshoot and Tulalip casinos, for example, are permanent. Once you sign a statement at the Muckleshoot Casino, you are permanently barred and face a possible trespassing arrest if you return."

The second article praises the efforts in Washington's neighbor, Oregon, towards treating problem gamblers: "Oregon law mandates that 1 percent of the state lottery's net proceeds are dedicated to a problem gambling fund."

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