Nevadans debate gambling addictions

“They would be better served if they were candid and admitted it was a choice they made,” said John Helzer, Washoe County Assistant District Attorney.

“I think everyone has experienced a moment of extreme excitement like when they watched their child score a goal, catch a fish or they won a jackpot, but I don’t see any soccer moms out there committing crimes saying their rise in endorphins made them do it,” he said.

Carol O’Hare executive director for the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling and a recovered gambling addict, said pathological (compulsive) gamblers who don’t seek treatment have the potential to commit crimes to support their habits or to pay back what they’ve stolen.

She said gambling can be an addiction and mental disorder, not a moral decision, that needs the same treatment and consideration as drug or alcohol addictions. Some also can become suicidal.

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