NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION
MR. MIKE BRUBAKER
COMMISSIONER WILHELM: Mike Brubaker?
MR. BRUBAKER: I am, sir.
COMMISSIONER WILHELM: Thank you very much, Mr. Brubaker, for being here.
MR. BRUBAKER: Mr. Commissioners, I come here I guess with several hats. I am a recovering gambler with almost 20 years of recovery but I gambled for 33 years. I am a nationally certified gambling counselor. I have an intensive outpatient program in Casa Grande and I serve on the Arizona Council on Compulsive Gambling. I've also written a book called Deadly Odds, co-authored, and I also have a booklet that I left for you, one each, of a video that I did. It's a 50-minute video. I left one video and 20 booklets, so you're going to have to share the video.
Basically, it's the stories of some people like you've just heard. I'm surprised these women would admit they're over 50, but I notice they did, a couple of them. I'm over 50 as well. I think that, you know, for me the fact that I'm sitting here is testimony that recovery works and it works for a lot of people. Unfortunately, it's not available to most people. I got my recovery in the military and I was sentenced to treatment for my alcoholism and four years later found out about my gambling. I gambled for a long time.
The thing that strikes me is not the Indian gaming or the fact that the casinos are close by but gambling has been just taking off rampantly for the last 20 or 30 years. It started with lotteries, went to off-track betting here in Arizona. Off-track betting if I were gambling, I wouldn't have to leave Casa Grande and drive 45 miles to go to the race track. I could go to the local bar and drink for four hours and bet on the horses and I wouldn't bet nine races any more because they have simulcast and I could bet forever.
So what we've done is we've made gambling available. The casinos came in, made it more available, 15 minutes from my home. In the last couple of years I've treated two judges in this state who are no longer judges. You know, I've also been involved in the treatment of many other people. I interviewed a lady in the Pima County Jail that took out a contract on her husband to get the money to gamble with. She hired an undercover sheriff. She's serving 14 years.
This disease devastates families, lives. It's not the person who is sitting in jail, it's the wife and three small children of that judge who are on welfare now in a different state. You know, it just impacts the whole society and I'm not anti-gambling. I think gambling is great for those folks who can handle it. You know, there's just some of us who can't. It's a small percentage but for the ones that can't handle it, it devastates their lives and their family's lives.
I would encourage you to look at reimbursement for treatment of gambling and I would encourage you to look at education. There's very few dollars funded for education or treatment. The government is in the gambling business and in my mind, is in the final stages of it. They can't live without the gambling revenue. It's a three-fold disease; winning, losing and desperation and I think they're in the desperation phase. Thank you for the time.
COMMISSIONER WILHELM: Thank you very much, Mr. Brubaker.