The number of people treated for gambling in Iowa fell last year for the first time in many years. Frank Biagoli is executive officer of the Iowa Gambling Treatment Program, which first started operations in 1986, when gambling became legal in Iowa.Biagoli admits it’s not clear if there were fewer problem gamblers in 1999 or if the program simply attracted fewer clients. He says the program’s advertising budget was cut by about one-third last year, which could explain the drop in problem gamblers seeking treatment.A state report says nine-hundred-23 people got help for compulsive gambling in Iowa last year, that’s down from one-thousand-31 the year before. Biagoli says many people who are problem gamblers, or who are friends or family of gamblers, call the helpline at 800-BETS-OFF. Governor Vilsack has proposed boosting the budget for the gambling treatment program from last year’s two-point-four million dollars to two-point-seven.
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