Oklahoma lacks counseling for compulsive gamblers

Saturday, August 6th 2005, 9:27 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Oklahoma has about 78 tribal gaming establishments but no counselors who are certified to treat gambling disorders.

Gamblers Anonymous conducts 16 meetings each week statewide in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Muskogee, Lawton, Madill, Ponca City and Miami. But no meetings are held in such casino towns as McAlester, Durant and Tahlequah.

Mark Bonney, a Muskogee-based bankruptcy trustee for the eastern third of Oklahoma, says he handled two or three personal bankruptcies a year related to gambling ten years ago. Today, pathological gamblers account for at least ten percent of the cases he oversees.

He says the average debt attributed specifically to gambling in those cases is 20,000 to 30,000, for a total of $1-million to $1.5-million a year.