Gambling addiction expert talks to board of health

Gambling addiction expert Lindsay Stack said approximately 1 percent of the typical population has a gambling addiction, though only a handful in the area are currently seeking treatment.

“That’s our biggest problem,” Stack said.

Stack, of Pathways Behavioral Services based in Waterloo, spoke to the Marshall County Board of Health during a meeting Tuesday.

She serves an eight-county area including Marshall, Grundy and Tama and offers gambling addiction treatment free of charge.

Stack said they currently have three clients they serve with gambling addictions in Marshall County. She said with gambling it can’t be seen like other addictions, which makes it harder to spot for those who want to help.

Stack said most problem gamblers start at a young age – as early as 10 years old.

Often cases for adults, gambling debts lead them to embezzle money from their employers.

“Just about half of our clients have stolen from their employer in some way, shape or form,” Stack said.

There has been talk of the state possibly legalizing online gambling to help with state revenues. Stack said she is “very nervous” about its affect on possible problem gamblers.

Stack said those with serious gambling problems are able to self-ban themselves from casinos. She said more than 7,000 people in the state have banned themselves from casinos as a way to try to curb their addiction.

For more information on gambling addiction treatment programs, call Stack at 319-235-6571.

In other discussion at the meeting, it was announced the Home Care Plus and Public Health office will be moving from Marshalltown Medical & Surgical Center to the Fisher Community Center.