The chairman of the state Racing and Gaming Commission says it’s time for legislators to stop raiding the state Gamblers’ Treatment fund. The fund, which is supposed to help problem gamblers quit, gets three-tenths of one percent of the gross revenue generated from the Iowa Lottery as well as from the state’s casinos and racetracks. Commission Chairman Bill Hansen says legislators want to “ransack the fund” by diverting over half of it to other state agencies.The gambling treatment fund will get nearly three-point-two million dollars this year. Hansen admits they need to do a better job of showing the need for the money.Figures show a decline in the number of people seeking treatment in the program for gambling addicts, but that comes after a 33-percent decrease in the money spent to advertise the program’s toll-free help number. Hansen says legislators believe the need for the program is declining and the Commission needs to find a way to quantify the results of the treatment. Hansen says other money generated by taxes on gambling facilities is the fastest growing stream of revenue into the state coffers — so the state is getting plenty of money from the industry.
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