August 18, 2009 (CAP Newswire) — In the U.S., the State of Arkansas is getting ready to legalize a new lottery system. And that’s the subject of some controversy, since many officials in that state expect this lottery to launch a wave of “problem gamblers.”
In fact, that’s why the state has mandated that at least $200,000 in lottery proceeds must be dedicated to “the Department of Health for the treatment of compulsive gambling disorder and educational programs related to compulsive and education related to compulsive gambling disorder” each year.
However, according to Arkansas state Lottery Director Ernie Passailaigue (who pulls in an annual salary of $324,000 from the state lottery board), problem gambling isn’t caused by lotteries. It’s caused by Internet gaming.
“If you check with the Department of Alcohol and Other (Drug) Abuse Services (DAODAS) in South Carolina, who administer the gambling program in South Carolina, they’ll tell you most of the problems are Internet gambling,” Passailaigue said in an article posted in the Arkansas News.
But that’s not true, the article goes on to comfirm. Christopher Reid, an employee of South Carolina’s gambling services , said, “We have had some calls that come in in relation to Internet gambling, but not too many.” So what are the problem gaming calls about? “Mainly the lottery,” he said.
Another clear illustration why politicians in the United States may not be ready to legalize online gambling: It’s too convenient a scapegoat on which to blame all other problems.