The manager of the Iowa Gambling Treatment and Prevention Program isn’t taking a stand on the bill that would allow internet gambling in Iowa. Mark Vander Linden was asked about the proposal during a presentation at the Racing and Gaming Commission meeting.
Vander Linden says internet gambling will increase the number of people who gamble, but he says his hope is that there will be enough safe guards to keep underage people from gambling. And he says those safe guards will hopefully limit the harm that could be done to problem gamblers.
Vander Linden says he doesn’t have an opinion on the long-term impact if Iowa became the first state to legalize internet gambling. He says you generally see a spike in interest when a new gambling options is introduced, because it is new and interesting and people want to try it out, and then interest levels off.
Vander Linden says he doesn’t really have a position on the bill. Vander Linden says internet gambling is not a major source of problems in Iowa right now. Vander Linden says their tracking shows internet gambling was identified by only one-and-a-half percent of the people who came in to get treatment last year for problem gambling as their primary form of gambling. He says the most prominent form of legalized gambling in the state is the one that is credited with causing the most problems.
He says 61% of the people who came in for treatment identified slot machines as the reason for their problem. The internet gambling bill was passed this week by a senate committee. New Jersey’s governor vetoed a bill that would have made his state the first to allow internet gambling.