NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION
CHAIRMAN JAMES: I think we have time to get in one final person. Mary Heineman.
MS. HEINEMAN: Good evening, Commissioners.
CHAIRMAN JAMES: Good evening.
MS. HEINEMAN: I, too, would like to address the issue of treatment, especially treatment of children.
What are the children of compulsive gamblers learning about gambling? Are they learning the value of big win? Are they learning that success requires no more than a dollar and a dream?
Have some of us abandoned the values that were passed on to us? Weren't we taught the value of a good book, of great music, and the wonders of nature? Weren't we taught the rewards of family togetherness, hard work, and personal accomplishments?
I believe everyone in this room would like to do something that would help decrease the number of compulsive gamblers in this country. However, breaking the chains of an addiction requires treatment and education, and those things require money.
Very often it's the families of compulsive gamblers who are the first ones to seek treatment, and then they don't have the money to pay for it.
So how then can we intervene? The gaming industry does not want this responsibility. The legislatures do not want to raise taxes, but there's one group of people who perhaps would not object if it was decided that they would make available the funds needed to treat compulsive gamblers and their families. Who are these people?
The winners. Suppose anyone who wins $5,000 or more would have to forego a very minute portion of that win, perhaps one quarter or one percent. It's unlikely there would be many complaints because, as an example, the win of $5,000 would require the recipient to forego $6.25.
If these monies then were designated for gambling treatment programs, there would be enough funds to treat everyone who's been affected by this addiction.
Ironically, should this go into effect, some of the contributors would be investing in their own future for they, too, may one day need help with a gambling problem.
Only by establishing treatment programs can we protect the children. How have our children been impacted while living with a compulsive gambler? For too many of them this disease has taken away what all the money in the world cannot buy.