Gambling takes a toll with Arizona youth
In a revealing article in today’s daily, the truth regarding the insidious damage stemming from state-sanctioned gambling casinos is told. The Arizona’s Indian casinos, which grossed nearly $2 billion this past fiscal year, are putting in place programs to treat teen gambling addictions.
Although teenagers are not permitted in casinos, they are frequently found to be engaged in betting on sports, playing poker for money and even routinely playing scratch lottery tickets.
Rick Pyper, director of the Arizona Office of Problem Gambling (did that office exist prior to casinos being licensed?), says studies have shown that the younger someone gets involved in gambling, the easier it is to become addicted.
A dramatic report released by the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission shows epidemic increases in the number of teens who gamble. According to the Arizona Youth Survey, 30 percent of 8th graders surveyed say they are frequent gamblers. Twenty-seven percent of 10th graders and nearly 22 percent of 12th graders fall in the same category. Sixty-one percent of the youth indicate they have gambled at some point. Inevitable losses create desperation, leading to obsessive behavior and even crime. Severe mood swings, money loss, panic, and even suicidal thoughts are common.
Yet the state of Arizona , preferring to call gambling by the less toxic name of “gaming,” promoted its lottery with the slogan, “You can’t win if you don’t play.”
You can’t lose, either.