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Problem Gambling Expert Says Prohibition of Gaming Ineffective

9/21/09 - Online Casino Advisory - View Source

By Matt Miller

Joanna Franklin, president of the Institute on Problem Gambling, says treatment helps prevent problem gambling incidents, but prohibition of gambling does not work. Franklin says compulsive gambling victims will find a way to gamble regardless of laws restricting gaming options.

"Treatment, not prohibition, is the best way to treat problem gamblers," said Franklin. Franklin is noted for having designed clinical training programs for the treatment of problem gambling in 45 states, most Canadian provinces, and nine other countries.

Franklin said a law such as the Illinois Video Gaming Act properly addresses the issue, by providing direct funding for treatment. The new law gives the Illinois Department of Human Resources $2.5 million annually to create and run treatment programs.

Local governments in Illinois, relying on misleading information provided by anti-gambling factions, have had debates on whether to allow the video gambling mentioned in counties and municipalities. Some have called on rejection of the electronic gaming, which would fund a $30 billion state infrastructure overhaul, because of the mistaken belief that installing the machines would increase problem gambling.

"We understand that gambling addiction is a serious problem," Tom Fiedler, president of the Illinois Coin Machine Operators Association told Reuters. "But it is one that affects only a small percentage of the population."

Psychological Medicine magazine recently cited a study finding that problem gambling figures remain constant at less than three percent of the population, regardless of local gaming laws.

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