Group, state working to fill gap in compulsive gambling help - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |

Group, state working to fill gap in compulsive gambling help

TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- More than 200 Oklahomans a month are calling a national hotline for problem gamblers.

But the head of the National Council on Problem Gambling says help at a statewide level is just now being organized.

Director Keith Whyte says nearly 900 Oklahomans called the national hotline between January and April of this year. Last year the hotline took about 2,400 calls from the state's area codes.

The national group has referred Oklahomans to assistance in neighboring states or to resources on the Internet because no state agencies deal specifically with gambling addiction.

With explosive growth in Indian gaming and next fall's planned startup of the lottery, a number of groups are training employees and counselors to fill the gap in Oklahoma.

Lawmakers provided for $500,000 in unclaimed lottery prize money to be set aside each year for treating gambling disorders.
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