NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION
MR. DON HULEN
COMMISSIONER WILHELM: Don Hulen?
MR. HULEN: Yes, my name is Don Hulen and I'm the co-founder and executive director of the Arizona Council on Compulsive Gambling. I'm also a member of the board of directors of the National Council on Problem Gambling and I'm a native Arizona an my first memory of gambling was at age four, prior to going to kindergarten here in Prescott on a slot machine. My grandfather was an alcoholic and he used to take me down to Whiskey Row and prop me up on a bar stool and I'd play the nickel slots. And when he got drunk, my job was to lead him home.
I didn't become a compulsive gambler until I was 17 but I didn't stop until I was 51. And that's 60 now, so that's nine years ago. I worked desperately in this state in bringing awareness of compulsive gambling to Arizona prior to my council becoming chartered under the non-profit laws of this state and once we were chartered, I assisted in the implementation of a statewide toll free help line for compulsive gamblers and their families. I obtained a NADAC provider number and assisted in facilitating a comprehensive training program for behavioral health counselors in the treatment of pathological gambling.
I'm going to cut this real short. I've got a lot to say. I have probably spoken with more compulsive gamblers than anybody in this room or anybody in this state. I have advocated and been involved in more criminal cases in this state with compulsive gamblers. I've probably taken more compulsive gamblers by the hand in the middle of the night to the hospital for suicide attempts and I'm going to skip over here a couple of pages, four or five, I guess.
I want to say to this industry, the gambling industry, I urge the Arizona gambling industry to join the responsible gambling efforts of the Tohono O'Odham nation, the Ackchin, the Gila River, the San Carlos Apaches, the Yavapai Apaches and Pasquayaki tribes along with the Astar Corporation who has offices here and has casinos in Nevada and Turf Paradise and Phoenix Greyhound Park and Turf Paradise established the first ever -- the second ever gambling responsible program in the nation, I urge you to initiate responsible gaming programs, provide brochures and collateral material on compulsive gambling, provide crisis help line numbers for your customers, provide a portion of your charitable contributions to organizations who provide education and awareness.
I want to say that I do not believe that this National Gaming Impact Study Commission was established with the objective in mind of determining the positive impact of compulsive gambling when I first read it on Capitol Hill. I believe it was established because of an outcry of gambling related to social and economic problems and had the entire gambling industry become more knowledgeable then and sooner than then and addressed the problems, I don't believe this Commission would be here today and if the gambling industry addresses the problems now, not tomorrow, not next year, with sincerity and with vigor, the outcome of this Commission may be different than if it weren't.
I want to say to the Native Americans and to the gambling industry here that I deal with, not the State of Arizona who provides no money, but to my friends back here, the Native Americans who, after time went by, realized the problems and they are the ones that provide funding for education, awareness and treatment and you just heard me talk, so it's no sweetheart deal, they get the picture and they're taking care of the problem. Thank you.
COMMISSIONER WILHELM: Thank you very much, Mr. Hulen and please feel free to submit your entire statement and it will be entered into the record.
MR. HULEN: Mr. Chairman, thank you. You have copies.
COMMISSIONER WILHELM: Thank you.