There has been a lot of focus on casino developments in the Quad Cities area and throughout the region recently. But this week, attention is also being paid to gambling issues with National Problem Gambling Awareness Week. Addiction counselors say these issues can't go overlooked.
Problem gambling affects about three percent of the population. That's why Megan Vance, a problem gambling counselor, is spreading awareness and handing out information at area casinos.
"Gambling addiction, a lot of people are embarrassed to come forward. They don't want people to know because people assume they have money problems," said Vance.
The goal of this campaign from through March 9th is more education on the warning signs and the help that is available both locally and nationally. However, these efforts have tough competition with talks of gambling expansion in Illinois and video gaming terminals now popping up all over the state. Also, when cities like Davenport and Cedar Rapids focusing on land-based casino developments.
"I look at it just like another bar opening. It's going to open even if the bar wasn't there, someone is going to find a way to drink. Just like with gambling, even if they ban themselves from a casino they're going to find another way," said Vance.
Vance says it's a problem addiction resources will always have to keep up with, but more exposure won't necessarily mean an increase in problem gambling. Though she would like to see more attention paid to the darker side of gambling. "I wish there was more emphasis like in the D.A.R.E. program and in the lower level in addiction awareness," Vance added.
Her office in Davenport, Gambling Treatment Services, did recently had to request additional funds from the state to help clients. Vance chocks that up to more people seeking out help. "Means we're doing our job as far as awareness and prevention and stuff."
For more information on problem gambling resources CLICK HERE.