State will pay for treatment of gamblers

problem-gambling2Ohio’s newest campaign to combat problem gambling comes with a guarantee: If you have a verified gambling addiction, you’ll get state-funded care.

The guarantee is part of the state’s $4.9 million problem-gambling response plan, funded mostly from 2 percent of tax revenue set aside from the state’s four casinos.

The number of people guaranteed to receive treatment likely will be small. A total of 209 people were treated in the 2013 fiscal year out of 5,898 screened at mental-health and drug-treatment agencies statewide, according to the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

Tracy Plouck, director of the state agency, outlined the problem-gambling plan at Wednesday’s meeting of the Ohio Casino Control Commission, the panel that regulates casinos in Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Toledo.

The state expects to allocate $3.8 million to county boards in the next year. Another $752,499 will be used for administration by the state agency, and $335,000 will be spent by the Ohio Lottery Commission for advertising and promotional campaigns.

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Alan Johnson – The Columbus Dispatch – Friday September 20, 2013