Experts worried as calls for gambling help hotline rise in Michigan

Updated: May. 8, 2021 at 6:41 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) -2021 started with the huge launch of online gambling and sports betting in Michigan. Now officials are concerned since gambling is now in the palms of everyone’s hands.

“What that has done for some is it’s increased their probability to gamble. It has introduced gambling to individuals who may not have gambled in times past,” said Alia Lucas, Program Specialist for Gambling Disorder Preventive and Treatment Services.

Gambling hotlines have seen almost a double in calls from those that seek help and family members that are concerned. Michelle Malkin who studies Problem Gambling says they are also seeing a new age group peak interest.

“What we’re finding is a lot of young people gambling for the first time whether it be on traditional casino games from home or on sports betting so a lot of people who otherwise wouldn’t be entering gambling establishments are starting to gamble from the of security and safety of their homes,” said Michelle Malkin, Doctoral Candidate at MSU in School of Criminal Justice.

This change has many getting proactive. Michael Mooney, Limited License Psychologist and treatment provider for gambling treatment program says they are planning ahead to help those who may face future struggles.

“The industry are going to blend traditional video gaming with video gambling in the very near future. So tomorrows video games will have a gambling component and tomorrows gambling games will have a video game component and it’s going to be highly attractive to our teenagers and millennials,” said Mooney.

Mooney emphasizes to Michiganders that their is always help available. You can call the help hotline at 800-270-7117.

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