Concerns Over Video Gaming In Illinois Bars - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Concerns Over Video Gaming In Illinois Bars

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Several Illinois cities are changing their laws to allow video gaming in bars. Cities will receive 5% of the revenue, something city leaders say it's worth the gamble. However, some are worried about the side effects of expanding gambling.

"Culturally in America we gamble on everything. We bet on baby pools and we bet on the Super Bowl," says Stephanie Parker, a Clinical Counselor at Robert Young Treatment Center.

With gambling temptations everywhere from casinos to the lottery at convenience stores, Parker says more people than we realize are addicted to gambling.

Parker adds, "I've gotten several requests for help from people who know they have a problem. They have lost or are in the process of losing everything they have, their homes and their families."

Since state lawmakers have approved video gaming in bars, there will be more temptation in more places.

"If it's everywhere they turn they'll just need to be more aware and mindful that gambling machines are there," says Parker.

Those suffering from gambling addiction will need to have a plan for when the video poker machines arrive in bars.

"Subconsciously they'll be listening for the machine noises and conversations going on around the machine," adds Parker, "It could be a distraction from the relationship building going on in the setting."

Having video poker in bars a gambling addict frequents could socially isolate the person, because they would have to find a new place to hang out. A gambling addict also can't ban themselves from a bar, like they can at a casino. In Illinois, the self exclusion program allows a problem gambler to make being in a casino illegal.

"They can actually be arrested and fined if they do enter into a casino," says Parker.

There's also concern more people will become addicted to gambling, because of video poker.

"The worst thing that can happen to a potential gambler is to win, because then that sets the hook."

Parker says anyone who is suffering from gambling addiction or if you suspect a family member is addicted, you should seek help from a professional.

The Illinois legislature approved video gaming in bars 2-years ago. The Illinois Gaming Board has been working on the rules and is now accepting applications from bars. More than 22,000 bars are expected to apply for video gaming machines. The program will be supervised by the state.