Some afraid on-line gaming could cause more gaming addictions - NBC40.net

Some afraid on-line gaming could cause more gaming addictions

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ATLANTIC CITY -

Some fear that gambling addictions could become a bigger problem once the residents of New Jersey are able to bet from the comfort of their home.

"I made my first bet when I was 9 years old."

Terry Elman may have his priorities straight now but it wasn't that long ago that he was on the slippery slope of a gambling addiction.

"It was the beginning of a long slide down, which cost me about everything I had and my freedom too."

Sixteen years later Elman has given up gambling and instead works for the New Jersey Council on Compulsive Gambling, taking every day as a gift to help teenagers who could suffer from the same sickness he once did.

"Will they be compulsive gamblers when they are 17? Probably not, but they will be by the time they are 30," said Elman.

Preventing that addiction is why the New Jersey Council on Compulsive Gambling is taking part in National Problem Gambling Awareness Week.

"Gambling addiction is treatable, there is help available and it's something that touches many people," said Executive Director of the New Jersey Council on Compulsive Gambling, Donald Weinbaum.

But Donald Weinbaum is concerned that helping addicts will become even harder once New Jersey residents have the option of gambling from the comfort of their home.

"Bringing it into the home actually stands to increase the rate of addiction. Being able to gamble alone, being able to gamble while maybe you are drinking, around the clock with no stop," said Weinbaum.

In some cases those suffering from a gaming addiction end up losing all of their money or even their home and end up at the Atlantic City Rescue Mission.

"We've had people in here who lost their entire homes their entire families, everything over gambling addictions," said Pastor of Ministries at the A.C. Rescue Mission, Bill Warner.

While at the Rescue Mission the addicts go through gamblers anonymous courses.

The New Jersey Council on Compulsive Gambling says it will also enforce educational classes and attempt to reach out to gambling addicts before on-line gambling becomes a reality.

It is unknown at this time when on-line gambling will be available in Atlantic City.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem you can call 1-800-GAMBLER.

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