Gambling Addiction in Florida Is On the Rise as Genting Eyes Giant Downtown Miami Casino
The FCCG, which operates the 1-888-ADMIT-IT helpline, says calls have increased 18 percent in the past year. That's also a 57 percent increase over the past five years.
Interestingly, a whopping 42 percent of all callers to the line reside in South Florida. That's the same area where Republicans in the state legislature are considering authorizing mega-casinos.
The FCCG also reported the following stats:
One of the fastest growing gambling problem in Florida seems to result from "Internet Sweepstakes Centers." Through loopholes in state laws, the centers are allowed to operate slot machine-like computer games, often in strip mall store fronts. The report noted a 72% increase in calls related to the centers.
- Crime- 35% reported they resorted to committing illegal acts to finance their gambling representing a 3% increase over the previous year and a 12% increase over the past 5 years.
- Unemployed/Public Assistance- 25% reported they were unemployed and/or collecting state assistance, a 4% increase over the previous year, also representing a 12% increase over the past 5 years.
- Suicide - Those reporting having suicidal ideation or attempts rose significantly from 11% to 16% of callers.
- Primary Gambling Problem - The most frequently cited primary gambling problem was Slots - 46% Cards - 33% Lottery - 11%
Interestingly, even though calls to 1-888-ADMIT-IT are on the rise, Scott recently slashed the program's budget. Using his veto power he emptied out a fund meant to support the program, and, according to The Miami Herald, "the council's budget went from $1.8 million in 2010-11 to $264,000 in 2011-12."
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