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Iowa Joins in National Problem Gamblers Week

Armen Hareyan's picture

Over the last year, over one-thousand Iowans have sought assistance from the Iowa Gambling Treatment Program, an increase of 17 percent from last year and 22 percent higher than two years ago. These clients received their treatment at one of 11 services around Iowa that work with the Iowa Department of Public Health to reduce problem gaming in Iowa. The issue of problem gambling will be the focus of National Problem Gambling Awareness Week, March 5th to March 11th, 2007.

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The Iowa Gambling Treatment Program is designed not only to increase public awareness of the issue, but to let others impacted by a problem gambler know resources are available to them. The goal is to provide Iowans with education about responsible gambling and the potential risks as well as help individuals and families affected by excessive gambling.

"Iowa has many opportunities to gamble legally including casinos, racetracks, lotteries and bingo, so it is important that IGTP provide services to those Iowans who get into trouble with their gambling," said Mark Vander Linden, head of the IDPH Office of Gambling Treatment and Prevention.

The 2006 study by the University of Northern Iowa reported significant improvements for those clients who received treatment provided through the Iowa Gambling Treatment Program. Most notably, this included less gambling debt, less criminal behavior, less alcohol use, fewer job losses and less engagement with gambling activities. Over 85 percent of the clients interviewed at the time of discharge said the treatment they received was beneficial.