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An open letter: A new group of addicts for Sullivan County

January 15, 2014

Dear Senator Bonacic,

Thank you for the update, “What’s Next in Gaming?” and your invitation to comment. Sullivan County residents will soon have the “opportunity” to gamble at a resort destination casino.

Newly legalized gambling opportunities will create a small but significant percentage of residents who will become addicted, and this percentage will increase as new casinos advertise directly to Sullivan County residents. Advertising works!

Gambling addiction can lead to unemployment, bankruptcy, divorce, criminal behavior and even suicide. Unfortunately, some or all of these unintended and unwanted consequences will occur.

Preparation for this new group of addicts should begin now. Will newly addicted gamblers have the “opportunity” to attend gambling treatment programs, and will mental health treatment be available to family members to help them cope? Who pays for the future increased mental health and criminal justice costs—Sullivan County residents?

To responsibly enjoy the pleasures and profits that come from gambling, we need our state government to prepare now. This is a moral obligation, since our state government willfully increased the gambling “opportunities” in Sullivan County, thus helping to create yet another group of addicted people, albeit unintentionally.

I hope you will lead an effort and get bi-partisan support to assure that casino profits pay for all the needed future mental health and criminal justices costs.

Anthony N. Biancoviso, Ph.D.
Barryville, NY