With casinos operating successfully in Fremont County, anecdotes abound that gambling addiction is becoming a widespread problem. Fremont Counseling Services is reacting accordingly by starting a gambling awareness group to educate people about the signs and symptoms of gambling addiction, and how to engage someone suspected of being a problem gambler.
Director of Fremont Counseling Services Gerry McAdams says they haven’t necessarily seen an increase of clients with the problem, but they’re going ahead with the classes anyway.
“Just because we’re not seeing it, doesn’t mean it’s not out there. I think there probably is people in the county with gambling addictions. It’s like a lot of mental illness, and I think this is one of the harder parts of working in community mental health, is educating people how to recognize what a mental illness is.”
The number of problem gamblers is rarely tracked nationwide, though some estimate that up to 2% of the population are problem gamblers and another 1% are pathological gamblers.