Tribal Economic Impact 2018 - Page 13

or substance abuse issues that occur simultaneously. “But in a small portion of the population, often for those with a co- occurring disorder, they’re changing the brain chemistry in the same way as they would with substance abuse,” Harwell said. “This is a dopamine-driven phenomenon.” About one-third of people with a gambling addiction also now have or previously had a substance-abuse disorder. About one-fifth of people with a gambling addiction have a serious mental health condition, such as major depressive disorder. “It’s important to recognize this is not an isolated diagnosis,” Harwell said. “The more money the Department (of Mental Health) can have that is designated for problem gambling, the better.” There are 134 casinos in the state with about $4.5 billion in annual revenue. The state’s per-capita casinos and slot machines are second in the nation, behind Nevada. The tribes paid about $134 million in exclusivity fees to the state, $250,000 of which is allotted to White’s agency for problem gambling awareness. About $750,000 comes from the state’s lottery. Harwell receives money from the tribes through memberships that helps cover outpatient treatment. There are 28 centers around the state that have contracts with White’s agency that help people with problem gambling. A co-pay is as much as $3 per visit, so it’s nearly free. Harwell said he’s gambling-neutral. His goal is to help problem gamblers. Half his money comes from the state and the other half comes from the tribes, so he must work with both for funding. Even as little as $2 million would be enough to help promote the gambling help line and train all counselors to do a problem gambling assessment when a person receives a substance abuse disorder assessment, he said. He and White said they were concerned about sports betting legalization and what that could mean for the state. Harwell said with a new form of gambling, there will be many issues that arise. “People who participate in sports gambling, horse betting or card-playing, or action gamblers are often male and often don’t seek help,” he said. “So reaching them will take a different set of skills.” J O U R N A L R E C O R D . C O M • THE JOURNAL RECORD 13