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Gambling Casinos A Plague on Society Gamblers no longer need to trek to Las Vegas or Atlantic City to find the action they so badly crave It is available today in their own hometowns Legalized gambling is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States Gamblings tremendous popularity is evident in the recent increase in the number of off-track betting parlors OTBs and riverboat casinos that dot the midwest and the Mississippi Delta Billboards on major highways depict the action and excitement available at such facilities For most of the industrys patrons gambling is fun and a form of harmless entertainment For the four to six percent of gamblers who become problem or pathological compulsive gamblers however it can be a devastating illness that negatively affects every aspect of their lives Im worried that the more legalized gambling havens that open up the more problems we can expect as a result of them The greatest social cost of legalized gambling is the probable increase in problem and pathological gambling In Connecticut for example the Foxwoods Resort Casino opened up in 1995 and the number of pathological gamblers sky-rocketed In 1994 there were 235 calls to the Gambling Anonymous hotline and in 1995 after the casino opened there were 588 In 1997 the state of Connecticut also launched a massive media campaign for community awareness of the social problem and encourage to get help for people with gambling addictions because at least 70000 adults in Connecticut have gambling problems Pathological gambling is a progressive disease that devastates not only the gambler but everyone with whom he or she has a significant relationship In 1980 the American Psychiatric Association accepted pathological gambling as a disorder of impulse control It is an illness that is chronic and progressive but it can be diagnosed and treated Some of the costs are physical and psychological stress significant increase of substance and alcohol abuse
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