Measures of The Tribal Government to Deal with Pathological Gambling

Given the importance of prevention measures, especially those aimed at underage gamblers, some states have begun to establish public awareness and early intervention programs to curtail gambling problems before they begin or become severe. Few states, however, fund such programs at any significant level. The Commission heard testimony of one program funded by the Minnesota Department of Human Services that features several preventative measures that seem to be having a positive impact in that state. Many of those measures are aimed at youth, including the development of a curriculum that stresses the risks of gambling, speakers who relate their experiences with gambling, and the creation of posters and other printed material targeted specifically toward adolescents. Additional efforts have focused on other at-risk populations, including the elderly, people in substance abuse treatment programs, as well as specific ethnic groups. 64

Tribal Government Efforts
A number of tribal governments with casinos contribute to non-profit organizations that deal with mental health issues, human services, and addiction. For example the Mashantucket Pequot Nation in Connecticut, which owns the Foxwoods casino, contributes $200,000 annually to the Connecticut Council on Compulsive Gambling. The Oneidas in Wisconsin contribute $35,000 annually to the Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling. Other tribal governments also work with the Indian gambling associations within their states to fund problem gambling programs and promote awareness of problem and pathological gambling through distributed literature in their casino properties. 65

Federal Efforts The principal contribution of the federal government to the treatment and prevention of problem and pathological gambling is in research, including that through this Commission and other entities. These include the national prevalence study undertaken by the 1976 Commission on the Review of National Policy Toward Gambling, a study of prevalence rates in selected states from 1988 to 1990 conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health; 66 a co-morbidity study examining the rate of problem gambling among methadone patients by the National Institute of Drug Abuse; 67 and the inclusion of policies on pathological gambling in the Worldwide Study of Substance Abuse and Health Behaviors Among Military Personnel in a report to the Department of Defense in 1992. 68 In addition to research, there has been limited federal funding allocated to treatment of pathological gamblers by the Veterans Administration since 1972. 69

63 ibid. 64 Testimony of Roger Svendson before NGISC, New Orleans, September 11, 1998. 65 Supra note 4, at 23. 66 Rachel Volberg, The Prevalence and Demographics of Pathological Gamblers: Implications for Public Health American Journal of Public Health 84 (1994). 67 B. J. Spunt et al., Prevalence of Gambling Problems Among Methadone Clients. Final Report to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (1995). 68 R. M. Bray, et al., Worldwide Survey of Substance Abuse and Health Behaviors Among Military Personnel, Report to the Department of Defense (1992). 69 National Council on Problem Gambling, Problem and Pathological Gambling in America: The National Picture (January 1997) 17-18.