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Letter to Editor of the Staten Island Advance 3/23

 
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DMCKEON
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Joined: Mar 17, 2005
Posts: 22572
Location: Staten Island

PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 9:18 pm    Post subject: Letter to Editor of the Staten Island Advance 3/23
From Sun Mar 23, 2008 3:00 am to Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:59 am (included)
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GAMBLING DRAWS ALL AGES INTO ITS COMPULSIVE GRASP

To all Staten Island elected officials;

Over the past 10 years, gambling has become a major problem with both the youth and senior populations.

Seniors have lost their life savings, their homes and, in some cases, even their lives, after being drawn into the dream of winning it big by both the private and public gambling sectors.

The state lottery spends millions on ad campaigns to draw unsuspecting seniors into the world of gambling. A recent study showed that in New Jersey alone over 15 percent of the callers to the 1-800-Gambling Hotline were over the age of 55.

Through online gambling and the host of poker tournaments on cable and network TV, we are presenting gambling as a positive alternative to hard work and education. A Florida study shows 12.5 percent of adolescents interviewed reported that they had purchased a lottery ticket this past year and that 70 percent of students between the ages of 13 and 17 stated that they had gambled.

I know everyone has to right to legally gamble, but why does the State of New York have to contribute to this outreach? New York spends millions on advertising to try to draw more people into gambling when the state should be using these funds for gambling treatment and educational programs about the dangers of gambling. Don't they realize that more people die from the effects of compulsive gambling than the effects of drugs and alcohol combined?

The government places warning labels on cigarettes and bans soda from schools but continues to actively recruit people of all ages with their concept of a Dollar and a Dream. We hear of stores being fined for selling cigarettes or beer to minors but when was the last time a store was cited for selling lottery tickets to underage kids?

We are asking for your help to address this issue. To start, would it be possible to at least propose legislation to ban advertising for state-sponsored gambling? We currently have such bans on liquor and cigarette ads. Would it not make sense to do the same for gambling ads?

DENNIS McKEON GREAT KILLS
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