NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION
DR. CLARK: My name is Dr. Harold Clark, and I'm a clinical psychologist and a Board certified psychoanalyst, and I serve as the clinical director for the Clark Institute of Brigantine, New Jersey, which is just across the inlet from downtown Atlantic City, where my wife, Barbara Clark, and I provide professional counseling services to individuals, couples, and families, including those particularly who are suffering from alcohol, drug, or gambling addictions.
For the record, I did my first paper on the treatment of teenage gambling -- teenage drug addicts in 1950 or so, and I've been involved ever since in programs which are designed to help treat addictions, and more importantly, I believe, to help to try to prevent the onset of addictive behavior.
Also for the record, I'd like to say that I could provide any number of cases of individuals who have suffered financial or personal hardship as a result of their addiction to gambling, but I think the Commission already has enough of those cases, and in the interest of my using the time as I would wish, I'm not going to do that.
I'd like to say that in my opinion and in the opinion of all of the other experts that I've talked to who are involved in concerns with respect to compulsive gambling, this Commission has already served a very valuable purpose because it seems to us that it was only from the time that the formation of this Commission seemed likely that we began to see a more open attitude on the part of representatives of the casinos and of the industry.
Also, we began to see some internal efforts in the casinos to establish problem gambling committees and to establish some prevention activities.
Also, the establishment of the Center for the Study of Responsible Gambling also has been a result since this Commission was formed.
I'm reminded that Frank Farenkoff, president of the National Gaming Association, has made this observation at the time that that center was formed, saying, "It doesn't matter whether it's one percent or six percent that we're talking about here. The industry needs to step up and do its part to resolve the problem of compulsive gambling."
I believe that this Commission can continue to be helpful by including in its final report several recommendations.
First of all, the hope that the industry would come to terms with its critics with respect to the amount of problem gambling that there is and what is being done to address it because I don't think the industry has done as good a job as it might in talking about what it's doing to help address the problem.
Secondly, I hope the Commission would recommend that the industry begin to support state councils who are really in the forefront of doing the work to help prevent or to provide treatment resources and prevention.
Finally, I hope the Commission will recommend to the industry that it devote its research efforts to looking at how its products and its marketing procedures may, in fact, be contributing to an increase of problem gambling in the future.
I think those recommendations would be helpful.
CHAIRMAN JAMES: Thank you, Dr. Clark.