Kevin Polky, LCSW interviewed by WIFR TV in regards to a growing community concern.
Commentary below from WIFR-
STATELINE (WIFR) – It’s been one year since hundreds of video gaming machines went live in the Stateline. Some opponents say gambling is bring more bad luck than good.
“It’s starting to take on a life of its own, it’s no longer entertainment.”
The sound of gambling machines is a sound some people can’t seem to get enough of. Kevin Polky says he’s seeing more clients with a gambling addiction over the last 9 months.
“They’re spending a lot more money than they though, they’re compulsively going back to the machines, hoping that something’s going to be different and now we’re starting to see much more of an addictive cycle,” said kp counseling Addiction Counselor, Kevin Polky.
Polky says that’s because people have more access, since video gaming machines went live in Illinois more than a year ago. While gambling revenue has brought in tens of thousands of dollars for Rockford almost every month, some people aren’t convinced gaming is a true money maker.
‘It doesn’t produce the revenue necessarily that we expect or that the proponents suggests.
Opponents believe video gaming isn’t the healthiest choice for the area. People put nearly $700,000 into these machines and that’s just in one bar, in just a month’s time.
“We’re very concerned about this growing.”
Poly says most gamblers struggle with other problems like alcohol or drugs. He says the government needs to realize while people are feeding these machines, they could be feeding an addiction.
There are obviously several opinions on video gambling in the Stateline. Some lawmakers have argued it’s a good source of extra money for cities to use for things like improvements.
Polky says he believes some of the gambling revenue should go towards treatment for those who become addicted to playing. There’s only one Gamblers Anonymous group in Rockford. We’re told at this rate more organizations could form if there’s a growing need.