NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION
CHAIRMAN JAMES: Harvey Fogel.
MR. FOGEL: Thank you. Good evening.
I am a lifelong resident in the area and now a Margate resident. I'm president of the New Jersey Council on Compulsive Gambling, Director of the Atlantic Care Behavioral Health No Dice Program which treats compulsive gamblers in Atlantic City and McKee City, and I'm also a practicing pharmacist in the State of New Jersey, and I still found time to be here tonight.
In my practice at the Atlantic Care Behavioral Health Program, I have treated everything from ex-millionaires to nickel slot players and everything in between, including running a MIGA group, which is a mentally ill gambling addicted program.
Many of my people that come to me are from the casino industry, and during the course of this practice, we have tried many successful forms of treatment, including biofeedback, group, individual, family, even medicine at times, and of course, referral to Gamblers Anonymous.
Little has been said today about the families because I have seen much destruction in my course of practice, the destruction of the family. Some of that destruction has been unbelievable. College monies lost, futures destroyed, and worse than that, very little outside of Gamblers Anonymous available for these families to help in their treatment and most of this due to lack of funding.
Many strides have been made toward the understanding of this illness and the nature of the disease of pathological gambling. Brain chemistry has been studied, and treatment of the malfunction of the brain is being continually thought of and looked at in a careful way.
But without funding, the treatment for these people has not been able to get the proper statistics available to give them, to show them what is available for this treatment.
The proper treatment, as you all have heard today, is available. Gamblers Anonymous helps many hundreds of thousands of people in the State of New Jersey yearly, but sometimes people need more than that.
You've heard many of these stories tonight, but sometimes these people need professional help, and help is not being made available. In the State of New Jersey last year, almost $963 million was received from the revenue of gaming in this state, and only $100,000 was put aside for treatment.
In this county alone we received -- in this county we received $16,666 to treat compulsive gamblers in a city that has 12 casinos.
I strongly suggest that this Commission, when making any recommendations, look at the fact that money must be made available for the treatment of this illness, and without such treatment, it would be a sham and a disgrace.
CHAIRMAN JAMES: Thank you.