Recession hits gambling programs

Falling state lottery profits are resulting in a cut in gambling addiction programs.

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With state lottery profits down about 20% from their 2008 peak, cuts are being made to gambling treatment and prevention programs.

At least 265 people will be turned away from the programs, which are funded by a 1% cut from lottery profits. Oregon’s state-run gambling business brings about $1 billion per biennium into the state budget.

The drop in sales doesn’t mean there are fewer problem gamblers. Good times or bad, experts say, addicts keep playing — and losing.

“We should be redoubling our efforts, and instead we have to tread water just to stay afloat,” says Paul Potter, who oversees gambling addiction treatment for the Oregon Department of Human Services. Potter says he will be forced to dole out $1.2 million less than the programs were counting on between now and July 2011, when the current state budget period ends.

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