Program for problem gamblers on its way to Arkansas

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

With lottery tickets soon to be on their way to Arkansas retailers, 200 thousand dollars is on it's way to Arkansas' Department of Human Services from the lottery commission.  The money is to help start a program to help gambling addicts.

"There's very few differences between a gambling addiction and say a dependence on alcohol," said therapist, Bill Smith, LCSW.

Smith says the problems people face with a gambling addiction are very similar from one type of dependency to another.  He says they also see addictive behaviors kind of grouping together.

" If a person has a problem with alcohol or with drugs then it's not as difficult to develop a gambling problem so it can spiral out of control," said Smith.

Smith says for many, losing so much money you can't pay bills for example is often times enough for someone to step back and evaluate.  When it happens over and over, that's when Smith says, there may be a problem

"I think the problem that can occur with ticket sales is that people can quickly spend their electric bill over 4 weeks time on tickets and really not realize how much they've spent," said Smith.

Smith says there are signs that you or someone you know may have a gambling problem:

--losing more money than intended

--moving money around bank accounts, or even taking  money out of savings or retirment funds.

--secretive behavior

--finances begin to unravel

Smith says if you want to approach someone you think may have a problem--do it in a positive, assertive matter.

"If the individual is receptive to that approach, you can probably get things worked out.   If not, encourage that person to seek some counseling or some type of intervention," said Smith.

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